Faith Bible College has been equipping men and women of God for Christian life and ministry for nearly 50 years. Our focus is to see God transform people. Transformed people, transform communities. Transformed communities will transform the world. 

“Make of My sons and daughters ARROWS in My hand.” This has been the Commission of God upon Faith Bible College. Since 1969 we have seen nearly 4000 alumni come through our beautiful campus in Welcome Bay, Tauranga. They have been trained as servants of Christ and sent out to change the world by the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Word of God. 



The Early Days

Des Short worked in the YMCA and under him were a thousand young men who he led and taught. He had come into a relationship with the Lord while traveling overseas for the YMCA 100th anniversary as New Zealand’s representative. The camp that followed the trip, in which he was one of the leaders, saw a move of God and many young men came to know the Lord as Saviour. Many of them are still going strong in God, some overseas. After Des and co-founder Carley meet, Des came into the experience of the Holy Spirit.

Carley received a wonderful salvation experience when 9 years old. Later, as a teen, she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Carley was part of the Youth For Christ movement, traveling in one of the first teams to minister through New Zealand. Carley was also part of a ministry team singing and testifying in the city of Christchurch and outlying towns often as far north as Picton and south to Dunedin. The team produced two records and as a soloist, Carley did one smaller L.P. She would join with any organization that was passionate about evangelism.

In 1960 Des & Carley were married and ten days later left New Zealand for the United States to attend Elim Bible Institute at Lima, New York. Their original intention was to go on the mission field. In 1962 they travelled to British Guiana (as it was known then… now Guyana), and Trinidad during the long summer break.

Elim always had a week of prayer during the school year. As they gathered together for their last year, they needed to hear from the Lord for our future. The week was building into a time of consecration and commitment and we were rejoicing with those who seemed to receive clear direction. For Des & Carley there was silence until the last night. They were standing in a large circle, side by side, coming to the closing of this wonderful week. A visiting missionary from the Philippines approached Des & Carley to pray over them and as he laid his hands upon them, they heard God say through this godly servant “to return to New Zealand… God was going to raise up an ‘end-time missionary training centre,’ and He intended to send many hundreds of people out from New Zealand, to preach and demonstrate the reality of the Kingdom of God in the Last Days.” It was described as ‘arrows leaving the bow and hitting the mark.’ The word ‘short-term’ was spoken and later on in time they became aware that it was not so much a ‘short-term training centre,’ but people moving out in short-term movements, catching vision and later returning to the land of their calling as full time labourers, or to become prayers for the lands or the peoples they had visited. In the 1960s to the 1980s many lands were shut and people hidden behind walls and curtains. Literature and Bibles were being taken into these places and some of Faith’s graduates became part of such teams especially into China.

Now it seemed direction and light on a dark road was coming. They knew enough of the Lord’s ways to know He would bring confirmation, so some weeks after that wonderful occasion, David Du Plessis, from South Africa, later known as the ‘Father of Pentecost,’ visited the college to teach. At the end of his message he walked to Des & Carley, laid his hands upon them and ministered the Word of the Lord: “Return home… establish an end-time missionary training centre… your country (New Zealand by name was not mentioned) would become a ‘sending nation.’

The unique thing was that neither of these brethren knew each other and had no way of knowing what had been said.

The Elim College Principal, Carlton Spencer, visiting lecturer Bob Mumford (later Dr. Mumford) and other members of the staff took Des & Carley aside and confirmed that this ‘word’ was from the Lord. They prayed for Des & Carley and commissioned them to the ‘work of the Lord,’ and so they returned to New Zealand after graduating, August 1963.



Starting Back in New Zealand

Travelling through the country for the next seven months, ministry doors opened, but Des & Carley had no idea where ‘this place that God wanted to build’ was to be established.

Finally, they settled in Tauranga. A small church that had suffered a ‘split’ asked them to pastor their Church and Des & Carley felt they could offer them six months, believing the training center would be up and running soon. At the time they did not understand that a ‘word from the Lord’ does not often come to pass immediately and it would be tested thoroughly within them.

Living in Tauranga established Des & Carley among the Christian community and leadership. The church met in a hall on Cameron Road. They began to see growth in the work they led. Healing began among those hurt in the division that had occurred. The ‘youth group’ thrived using the ‘coffee bar’ ministry of the day for outreach. The Sunday School flourished and the men’s and ladies groups gathered for fellowship, prayer and mission activities. They hardly noticed that time moved on.

Six months had come and gone.

Building the Church

During 1965 and 1966 the church bought land on the corner of Otumoetai Road and Claremont Terrace and built the church that would become ‘home’ for the people for the next fifteen years.

The church became ‘The Revival Centre.’ It was known as a pentecostal and charismatic work and as the tide of the ‘Holy Spirit’ teaching began to gain momentum; many found refuge after being asked to leave their church family because they embraced the teaching and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

They saw many born again and regularly held water-baptistisms in their new baptistery. One time, forty people took the step, starting in the afternoon and finishing well into the evening, when Bob Mumford made a visit.

The Conventions

It took two years of commitment to a wonderful group of people before it was decided to hold a ten day convention that began at Christmas and carried over into the New Year of 1965/1966. These carried on annually until 1975.

It gave Des & Carley an opportunity to bring some of the wonderful people they had met in the U.S.A over and introduce New Zealand to them.

The conventions began in the old Tauranga Town Hall (since pulled down) and to find a place to sit, people would queue hours before the meeting began. The first Convention speaker was Gerald Derstine from Florida, a Mennonite pastor who had been filled with the Holy Spirit. He was creating waves in the U.S.A. with his testimony.

Derek Prince came the second year (‘66/’67). Though they didn’t know it then, Derek Prince was to become pivotal in the start of the college two years later. Derek stayed with Des & Carley in the church manse in Lemon Grove. Though they knew of him, he didn’t know Des & Carley and took a ‘risk’ coming to something unknown. They knew he was beginning to feel at home when he bought himself a skipping rope and began to skip in their kitchen. He then took it to the morning meeting at their new church and skipped there and finally down at the old Town Hall




The Conventions Continue and Faith Bible College is Birthed

Des & Carley’s final year using the old Town Hall for their conventions was with Derek Prince again (‘67/’68). The sharing of the vision and what God had spoken back in the States came spontaneously over lunch one day as both Des, Carley & Derek were eating. Carley had shared this ‘vision’ with others before, but Derek obviously thought about it. That night after his wonderful preaching and ministry to the people, he suddenly pushed Des to the microphone and said ‘share the vision.’ It took Des & Carley completely by surprise but as Des shared the vision the people seemed to catch it.

Des & Carley were overwhelmed by the response. An offering was suggested and taken. $7,000 was given and then someone doubled it. It became obvious it was God’s time to begin. $14,000 was enough to purchase land (equivalent to about $950,000.00 in 2016 dollars), but where?

During the first months of the year (1968), they looked at property and finally felt it was to be in Welcome Bay, on Welcome Bay Road. What a beautiful welcoming name… to welcome the Lord, the Holy Spirit and His people.

A sixty-acre property had come on the market and as Des & Carley walked over it with their friends who were beginning to whole-heartedly embrace ‘the vision,’ it ‘felt good in their spirit.’ Des, revisiting the land later, was sitting down when he felt in his pocket and produced a lonely two-cent coin. Others had done the same… just handfuls of coins. “It has to be called Faith Bible College,” they said and laughed (in faith) at their own inability and God’s unchanging mastery and capability to bring forth something out of our nothing.

The contract was signed to purchase.

Des and Carley moved into the only house on the property (for a short time) after the previous owners moved out.

Faith Bible College’s Growth

Faith continued to grow from this time, building and adding block after block, classrooms and dorms. Some of the earliest blocks to be built were D Block, the Lecturer Room – now Faith’s Library and Small Classroom – the Dining Hall and a dorm block which has now been relocated and turned into the Work Shop. Houses were added over the years, and now Faith has four three bedroom houses. Eventually more accommodation was added, including family units, now A, E & F Block. Faith not only grew itself but also supported the growth of other ministries in New Zealand. YWAM first opened its doors in New Zealand through the help of Faith, as did Asian Outreach New Zealand.

Over 3000 graduates have gone from Faith Bible College establishing ministries, missions, churches, and even businesses which have contributed hugely to the body of Christ in New Zealand and Internationally. Des has continued his ministry overseas, helping co-found Tungling Bible School in Singapore – and returning a number of times a year, every year to teach.

Faith Bible College also established Faith International – a school in Siliguri, India in the Himalayas’ where students who cannot afford to come to New Zealand to learn can go to and participate in a similar curriculum and course style as is taught at Faith Bible College Tauranga.


Photo taken Circa 2013


In April 2015, Faith Bible College went through its second EER and the results as follows:

  • Statement of confidence on educational performance: NZQA is Confident in the educational performance of Faith Bible College.
  • Statement of confidence on capability is self-assessment: NZQA is Confident in the capability in self-assessment of Faith Bible College.

As a result of the above, Faith Bible College is a Category 2 provider.

For more information about this, please go to the NZQA website at: