It all started with a vision when the Christ of the Cross confronted Mr. K. V. Cherian on July 25th, 1944 with this question, "All these have I done for you, what have you done for me?" This made him resign his well settled white collar job and blindly step out for Christ’s Mission. This was the beginning of a long travel, down a rugged pathway of ministry for the Lord, with each day unfolding something new, hard and adventurous.

After many tough years in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Cherian & family came to Kerala to take up the position of the editor of a newly started magazine. The first copy of the "Navajeevodayam" (meaning, ‘Dawn of New Life’) magazine came out in print in February, 1951.

Mr. Cherian initiated a fellowship meeting in Kerala on the 1st Tuesday of every month. About 30 pastors from various churches gathered for the first ever interdenominational conference in Kerala. This led to the start of the "All Kerala Christian Fellowship", (A.K.C.F). Mr. Cherian developed a Bible correspondence course called, "Jeevaprakasham" meaning light of life. After a few years, the office and ministry shifted from Kottayam to Tiruvalla. The present Navajeevodayam campus, in Tiruvalla came into being in 1964.

A burden to train young men and women for ministering among the un-reached in India led to the establishment of Navajeevodayam Bible College in 1983. The vision of Mr. K. V. Cherian, to send trained missionaries to the unreached parts of India is being largely fulfilled through the efforts of Dr. George Samuel. Navajeevodayam Bible College was renamed, Olive Theological Institute (OTI) in 2012.

OTI does not merely produce Bible Scholars but help place students for fulltime missionary work through established missionary agencies and churches. With over a 1500 alumni who are making a difference all over the nation, the institute provides excellence in Christian higher education, helping students to find God’s calling for their lives and preparing them to fulfill it and equipping them as church planters and cross cultural missionaries in the unreached areas of India.

Today, OTI conducts M.Div, B.Th and Dip.Th programmes; all of them are accredited by Asia Theological Association (ATA).

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