Moody Bible Institute

Moody Bible Institute (MBI) is a Christian institution of higher education with its main campus in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded by evangelist and businessman Dwight Lyman Moody in 1886. Since its founding, MBI's main campus has been located in the Near North Side of Chicago. Moody also operates a graduate campus in Plymouth, Michigan.

The historic Moody Bible Institute arch, viewed from within the central plaza.

In 1883, Emma Dryer, with Moody's permission, organized and headed what was known as the "May Institute". These were weekly meetings in which church members would meet and pray. Most important however, would be the open discussions among the church members. Many of the church members began to request that Moody open up a new school. This school would serve as a training school for the youth of the Church, a place where future evangelists could learn the skills necessary to carry on in the Christian revival tradition.

On January 22, 1886, Moody addressed church members as follows: "I tell you what, and what I have on my heart I believe we have got to have gap-men, men to stand between the laity and the ministers; men who are trained to do city mission work. Take men that have the gifts and train them for the work of reaching the people."[3] This formal meeting, held at Farwell Hall, resulted in the group founding the Chicago Evangelization Society for the "education and training of Christian workers, including teachers, ministers, missionaries, and musicians who may completely and effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ." The school was renamed as "Moody Bible Institute" after Moody died in 1899.

Before 1900, Moody played a significant role in fund-raising to support MBI. After Moody died, however, the Institute struggled financially. James M. Gray, the president of the school, invited Henry Parsons Crowell to financially restructure the Institute. Crowell established the school on business principles of productivity and performance. The MBI Executive Committee met nearly every Tuesday for the next 40 years. An administration building took years to complete, but when the building was dedicated there was no mortgage and only $50,000 left to pay.[4][when?]

In November 2017, the institution announced the closure of its Spokane, Washington campus and reductions in other programs and services in response to continued drops in enrollment.[5] Faculty were distressed by impending layoffs and penned an anonymous letter to the administration in the student newspaper expressing concerns about faculty layoffs when the administration had just committed $22 million for a new campus building.[6] Two months later the president and Chief Operating Officer both resigned and the provost retired all at the same time. In its announcement of these changes, the institution cited "widespread concerns over the direction" of the institution.[7] Multisite church pastor Mark Jobe became the new president January 2019.[8]

Since 2012, MBI has received federal financial assistance, which means the religious institution is subject to federal rules, including Title IX which prohibits sex-based discrimination. After several female students complained of being denied access to the, at the time, male-only pastoral ministry program, the institute changed its policy in 2016.[9] However, professor Janay Garrick, who helped the students file Title IX complaints, found that her employment contract would not be renewed at the end of 2017.

MBI's stated mission is to train students for full-time ministry in churches and parachurch organizations.[10] Since 1989 it has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.[11] It is also accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the National Association of Schools of Music.[12][13][14]

In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree, which is available in over two dozen fields including theology, the Bible, and ministries of various emphases,[15] MBI offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies, a Bachelor of Science degree in Missionary Aviation Technology, a two-year Associates of Biblical Studies degree (ABS), and a five-year Bachelor of Music degree (BMus) in Sacred Music. Furthermore, non-degree TESOL and Biblical Studies one-year certificates are offered.

The Moody Theological Seminary offers a Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, and a Master of Counseling/Psychology.[16] A one-year graduate certificate is also offered.

In November 2009, Moody Bible Institute and Michigan Theological Seminary jointly announced plans for Michigan Theological Seminary to merge with Moody Bible Institute's Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School.[17] In January 2010, Michigan Theological Seminary became Moody Theological Seminary–Michigan located in Plymouth, Michigan.

In addition to its educational programs, Moody runs two major Christian media ministries: Moody Radio and Moody Publishers. In 1894, Moody Publishers was founded under the name Bible Institute Colportage Association. In 1926 the Institute expanded its reach beyond education and publishing by sponsoring the first non-commercial Christian radio station in America, WMBI.[18] Over time, MBI’s radio outreach grew to the Moody Broadcasting Network, which now owns and operates 36 commercial-free stations and provides programming via satellite to more than 700 outlets.

The former Moody magazine ceased publication in 2003 as part of a larger restructuring of Moody in an effort to buttress the institution's core education mission.[19]