Biography of Bertram Hamilton Clendennen (1922–2009), Founder of the School of Christ International

B. H. Clendennen was an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God for fifty-five years. In November 1956, he came to Beaumont, Texas, and started the Victory Temple Church. By December 1991, he felt the call to be a full-time missionary in Russia. Then, in 1992 the first School of Christ was born. Since that time the translating of the School of Christ material has been an ongoing project.

He was an internationally known speaker, author, radio, and television minister. Over the last decades of his ministry, he had brought hope and deliverance to those in bondage all over the world with his anointed message of truth from God’s Word.

Rev. B. H. Clendennen was the Pastor Emeritus of the Victory Temple Church of Beaumont, Texas. A distinctive Pentecostal Church with missionaries in many countries of the world.

Through Radio and Television, Brother Clendennen had reached into nearly every major city in America. The Victory Temple telecast a line production from the church that has brought the power of Pentecost into millions of homes.

In 1967, Brother Clendennen ministered five weeks in the bush country of Tanzania, East Africa. Many souls found Christ during that time. The need for church buildings was so great that when Brother Clendennen returned to the U.S. he raised the money to build fifteen block and steel churches. In one year, missionary Morris Plotts had the churches erected. In April 1968, Brother and Sister Clendennen returned to East Africa to minister and to dedicate the new churches.

From East Africa, the Clendennens went to Iran to minister and participate in the groundbreaking for the first Bible School in thirteen hundred years to be built in that land.

In the month of December 1968, Brother and Sister Clendennen journeyed around the world preaching in Spain, France, Rome, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. Above ten thousand people gathered to hear the Gospel in Southeastern India, hundreds were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. In Vietnam God opened the country to the Clendennens. From 1968 to 1975 when American forces pulled out, they were there most of the time. The work became such as to demand full-time workers with the American serviceman alone. It was most successful. Under the ministry of the Clendennens Pentecost came to Vietnam for the first time.

In 1971 the Clendennens were invited to Zaire (Congo) for a crusade. For twenty-one days, God’s power fell upon the crowds estimated by the police to be sixty-five thousand people. Every year after that Pastor had held at least one crusade in Zaire.

In February 1980 Brother Clendennen was invited to minister in Yugoslavia, Hungry, and Romania. Every church Brother Clendennen ministered in was filled with overflowing and people were standing out in the freezing cold looking in the windows. In 1981, Brother Clendennen returned to Bulgaria and Romania to find the Spirit of the Lord still moving and the churches growing.

Also in 1981, Brother Clendennen returned to hold a Crusade in Zaire, South Africa. There were thousands out every night to hear the Word of God. In December 1981, he returned to Zaire to hold a Preachers Conference for the native pastors. There was a real moving of the Holy Spirit and the pastors returned to their churches renewed in the Lord. Every year since then Brother Clendennen had returned to hold the minister’s seminar. This seminar includes the ministers and their wives, plus all of their food and lodging for the week. This is totally funded by Brother Clendennen himself. This has become a time of real spiritual growth and development for these ministers.

Brother Clendennen felt through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, several years ago to have a pastors seminar here in the States. This has become an annual event at Victory Temple. The pastors and their families were fed two meals a day plus lodging at the Hilton Hotel. Every year ministers come from all over the United States to be uplifted and renewed by the Holy Spirit.

In December 1991, Brother Clendennen felt that it was time for him to leave Victory Temple as Pastor and go into full-time mission work. The door to minister in Russia had been opened to Brother Clendennen since September 1991. On his first Sunday in Moscow He preached in an underground church, there were over one thousand people present. Among that congregation were the bishops of the Pentecostal Church of all USSR. They ask Brother Clendennen to come and minister in their churches and train their Pentecostal preachers. In December 1991, Brother Clendennen purchased and distributed thirty thousand New Testaments and thirty thousand “Books of Life”. The Mayor of Kiev asked that he give a Bible to every student in school. For one hour, he was interviewed on one of the most powerful radio stations in Russia that reached approximately nine million people, and articles written in the local newspapers about the crusades. On December 1, 1992, Brother Clendennen resigned as senior Pastor of Victory Temple to become a full-time Missionary and Evangelist.

In February 1992, Brother Clendennen was once again in Russia preaching crusades and making arrangements for the property, so that he could start a school for Russian ministers. On September 21, Brother and Sister Clendennen moved to Moscow to get everything prepared for the opening of the Bible School. Brother Clendennen taught Bible four hours every day to the Russian students. Classes began at the International Pentecostal Bible College of Moscow on October 1, 1992, with one hundred and two students from all over Russia and Ukraine. From that one school in Moscow, the School of Christ had expanded all over the former Soviet Union and we now have schools in Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzia, Ukrain, Vilnus, Perm, and Rostov. We have now graduated over twenty-five hundred students and started over two thousand churches. We have also sent out and equipped fifty full-time evangelists with their own van and sound system. In the work there we found that not only was there a great need for spiritual food but for physical food and medical supplies. Through our contacts here in the States, we have been able to send eleven forty-foot containers filled with rice, pasta, baby food, and medical supplies so desperately needed for the families and children of Russia.

The Lord opened the door for us to translate the School of Christ material into the Spanish language in March 1994. The first school was started in Huanuco, Peru. We now have schools in Lima, Pasco, San Martin, Iquitos, Pucallpa, and Huanuco, Peru. There have been two hundred and ninety-three students who graduated from these schools and ninety-two new churches started. In Peru, there were two hundred and one who did not start new churches but are currently pastoring existing churches.

The School of Christ has expanded into Ecuador, where our first school was started in January 1996. We have graduated fifty-one students and started twenty-eight new churches. The first School of Christ was started in Chile in January 1997 and on April 15, 1997, we graduated twenty-one students and sixteen students plan to start new churches. We have opened new schools in Venezuela, Cuba, and Brazil. The School is in or is in the process of moving into every country in Central America. At the end of 2000 the School of Christ was in every Spanish-speaking country on earth. In every country where the School is functioning the results are the same.

The first week of October 2004 we open the first School of Christ in Albania. Albania is the modern name of Illyricum mentioned in Romans 15:19. From Albania, in the next eighteen months, we will disciple Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. We will rekindle the fire started by the Apostle Paul two thousand years ago.

August of 2004, the School of Christ was named the official voice for sixty-nine prisons in twenty-seven states. The prison officials have given us two hours a day, five days a week.

The School of Christ has literally covered the globe making it perhaps the most effective missions tool ever. We are now in well over 160 countries and the demand for the school continues to grow. The pace at which the school is now moving defies imagination, this can only be by the workings of the Holy Spirit.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;…” Mark 16:15-16


The Birth of the School, by B. H. Clendennen

“The School of Christ International, now functioning in many countries of the world, has proven to be one of the most effective tools for world evangelism in the history of missions. The entire focus of the School of Christ is to train and send the native to his or her own people.

In 1971, Mrs. Clendennen, and I went to Kinshasa, Zaire, for what turned out to be a very successful Gospel Crusade. Thousands of people attended the meetings. Night after night the power of God was present to save and to heal. During the course of the meeting literally, thousands came forward in answer to the call for salvation. God had surely visited that city.

One year later, we returned to Kinshasa for ministry, and while visiting with the pastors and leaders of the church, we were shocked to discover how few real lasting results came out of the crusade. At this point, I made the decision that would ultimately set the course of my own life and ministry, and change the way millions would view the work of world missions. This was truly the “burning bush” of my life.

Sitting in meetings with the pastors and leaders of the Zaire church, the decision was made that all of the overseas travel and ministry would be directed to pastors and leaders of the church. There would be no more expensive crusades in countries where the church was already established. In that moment, I resolved to spend my life challenging and stirring the heart of God’s servants. In a study of Nehemiah, I saw this is the plan of God.

Nehemiah was sent back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. After looking the city over and seeing the walls were torn down and the gates were burned out, Nehemiah challenged the people with him to rise up and build. As I studied this great book I learned that the walls are the Kingdom, and the gates are ministry. There were ten gates in the walls, and the whole of the third chapter is given to putting the gates in place. Once the gates of ministry, were in place the walls came up around them. Through this God showed me that life does not come out of the church, the church comes out of life. I saw that if God could use me to bring life to His preachers, and they in turn would birth His life, then things would happen. A church would be born and God would live through His people.

The School is Born

For the next twenty years, my quest for truth was with a preacher in mind. All of my thoughts were directed toward the man of God. In my search for this Rhema, I had a long look at the men of the Bible who were used of God. As I looked into the lives of these men, I made this great discovery that governed my thinking throughout the entire search. God’s dealing with these men was not just to teach them the truth, but to make them the “truth” they preached. They must ultimately become the message.

Over the next two decades as I traveled and preached to preachers all over the world, little did I know that the truth I was gathering was to become what is now known as The School of Christ. In God’s light, there is life. As we move in what we perceive to be the will of God for the time, though we may not be aware of it, we may be moving into a much larger spiritual arena. Out of two decades of travel and ministry to preachers around the world came one of the most powerful missionary tools in the history of Missions: The School of Christ International.

In the gathering of the material, God spoke to me in many ways. As I read and prayed, God used many different means to bring the revelation to my spirit. I read God’s Word and begged Him to speak to me. I listened to men of God preach, I read books of men whom God had revealed Himself. Slowly, the truth was etched in my spirit. The truth I sought and found become mine.

In the mid-seventies, two books were given to me that set the course of my thinking. Those books were, “Union With Christ” and “The School of Christ” by T. Austin Sparks. For the first time in my preaching, I truly saw what the church is according to God’s mind. I knew at once, that this was the message that God-called men must hear.

Russia Opens to the Gospel

In October 1991, my wife, my granddaughter, and I went to Russia on what I called a fact-finding trip. I went to see what we could do to help the church fill the awful spiritual vacuum created by seventy-five years of atheism. What we experienced changed our lives forever. I had been to many countries of the world but never had I witnessed the hunger I found in Russia. As I ministered to people, God put such a love in my heart for them, that I knew I had not merely come to Russia, I had been sent. I did not know at that point, what my entire ministry would be, but I knew I would move to Russia.

The last day of our visit, God confirmed the call. I was ministering to a small congregation on the outskirts of Moscow. As I spoke on the subject of prayer the Spirit of God broke us. The entire group fell on their face and began to pray. As I was praying I felt a hand upon my arm, and when I looked up there was an elderly woman prophesying to me. I later learned that her husband had been a Pentecostal preacher, and had been murdered by the KGB. She now spent much of her time in the church praying. My interpreter, Igor, told me they had not known her to prophesy before. God’s message to me through this saintly woman was: “All that you have ever suffered, all that you have learned, all that you ever did was to prepare you for what I will do with you in this country.”

At the end of October, I returned to America, and in November 1991 I resigned the church I founded and pastored for 35 years. In December I returned to Russia for three weeks. During this stay, I preached in cities of hundreds of thousands that had no church. In the Caucus I preached to over seventeen hundred people, sixteen hundred of them came forward to be saved. When I left them there was no shepherd to look after the newborn. I knew then what God would have me to do. The vision of a three-month Bible school was born. I came home to gather the materials for the school and move to Russia.

As I was preparing the lessons, working out the schedule of the school, and thinking on how the discipline of the school should be, the scripture in Luke 16:8 came to me, “…for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” With that scripture, my mind was carried back to the outbreak of World War II. I had just graduated from high school when the news broke. In a short time, I joined the U. S. Marines, and in one week I was in what they called boot camp. For twelve weeks, I went through the most intense discipline, and training I ever dreamed of possible. What were they doing? Transforming young men fresh out of school, fresh from the farm and the city, into men of war. And they meant to do it in twelve weeks. This became the pattern for the School of Christ.

The students are brought to the school, and for three months they do not leave unless there is an emergency. For three months they are totally immersed in prayer and the Word of God. The prayer meeting begins before daylight every morning and is the last act in the evening. The prayer meetings are not optional, they are regular classes. You only learn prayer by praying. Without prayer, Bible schools are merely doctrine. The discipline and the curriculum of the school weeds out those who are not called.