Sunset International Bible Institute

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Sunset International Bible Institute is a Church of Christ-affiliated institution of higher education in Lubbock, Texas. It was established in 1962 by Cline Rex Paden (1919–2007), a native of Hunt County east of Dallas, upon his return to Lubbock from an extended missionary trip to Italy.[1]

Originally called the Latin American Bible School, Sunset started with six students being trained as Spanish-speaking preachers. In 1963, the elders of the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock accepted oversight of the school and briefly renamed it the West Texas Bible School. In 1964, the name was changed to the Sunset School of Preaching, with instruction in English and Spanish. The number of students reached 175 in 1969, and Sunset Church added the East Wing and basement to its facilities to accommodate the Bible institute.[2]

1970s and 1980s

During the 1970s, Sunset launched correspondence courses through its extension department. In 1973, the Adventures In Missions program was instituted for college-aged students. Later in the decade, the school graduated its first women. Un 1977, Hollis Maynard developed a program for the deaf. In addition to Spanish instruction, departments were established for teaching in Slavic and Chinese.​[3]

In 1978, the 1,000th student graduated from Sunset. New instructors joined the faculty, including Cline Paden's brother, Gerald S. Paden (1924-2015), and Norman Gipson (1918–2007).​[3]

By 1980, student enrollment had topped three hundred annually, but reductions in federal military benefits thereafter reduced enrollment. New faces on the faculty included the future director, Truitt Adair. In addition, a new library and office addition was built with funds raised by alumni.​[3]

In 1984, the school purchased the "Pink House" for the training of missionaries in Mexico City. The following year, Sunset students participated in the first annual student trips into Mexico City.​[3]

Since 1990

In 1990, Sunset launched an Extension School and began to translate courses into several languages. In 1992, Sunset launched its Small Church Growth Workshop and a video studio.​ Paden retired in 1993, and Adair became the new executive director. Paden remained in the capacity of "chancellor," a postfilled since 2019 by Adair. In 1995, the name was again changed—to Sunset International Bible Institute—to reflect its worldwide scope. A 1998 reorganization structured the school into three divisions: Residential, External, and International Studies.​[3]

Adventures In Missions had its largest class to date in 1993, with eighty-four students. By 1995, there were eighty-seven women enrolled in various programs. By 1996, the library had 14,000 volumes. The school's 2,000th graduate was recognized in 1997.[3]

In 2000, Sunset started its Evening School program and saw total enrollment at international branch schools surpass that of the Lubbock campus.​ In 2001, the school unveiled a new logo. In 2002, Sunset celebrated its 40th anniversary with the opening of its first remote classroom location in Fall River, Massachusetts. The Fall River branch campus is known as the Sunset International Bible Institute Northeast (SIBI N/E). There were fifty-five graduates at the residential school in Lubbock.​[3]

The institution launched a three-year, 12-million-dollar campaign in 2005 with the goal of preaching the Gospel to the world. The campaign concluded in 2008 raising over 13-million dollars. In 2009, Sunset began to offer Texas-state approved Bachelor of Biblical Studies (BBS) degrees. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, according to the provisions of the Texas Education Code, sub-chapter G, chapter 61, title 3, section 7.5 (g). This authorizes the institute to legally grant religious degrees under the laws of the State of Texas. On May 23, 2009, the 78th class graduated with the newly instituted Bachelor of Bible Studies degrees.​[3]

In 2009, Sunset began offering a Master of Biblical Studies degree. The program began with nine graduates in their first intensive week in April 2009. The MBS Degree Program is a 36-hour program, that includes a 6-hour thesis project. The program requires time on the residential campus, in Lubbock for two intensive weeks.​[3]


  • Truitt Ellis Adair (born 1944), Chancellor; the president from 1993 to 2019
  • Cory Burns, Director of Adventures in Missions
  • Tim Burow, President (the third person to hold the position, effective 2019)
  • Paul Dowell, Dean of Residential Studies
  • Ron Kretz, Dean of External Studiest
  • Brad Pruitt, Vice President of Finance and Administration
  • Doug Reeves, Dean of International Studies
  • Chris Swinford, Vice President of Advancement​[4]

Notable alumni


  1. "Longtime missionary, ministry school founder Cline Paden dies at 87," Christian Chronicle, Article 722 (2007); no longer accessible on-line.
  2. Christian Chronicle, Article 792; no longer accessible on-line.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 History. Sunset International Bible Institute. Retrieved on May 28, 2020.
  4. Administration. Sunset International Bible Institute. Retrieved on May 28, 2020.
  5. Billie Wayne Lemons obituary, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, October 13, 2008.
  6. Shelly M. Shelton, The Las Vegas Review-Journal. April 28, 2014.