Why the Need for an Online College?
In the Fall of 1972 Hyles Anderson College became a reality. It was privilege for me to be a part of those early days and to graduate in 1976 with the first four year class of HAC. I was not a Christian High School or Homeschool graduate. I was a married man, with children who had already attended Michigan State University with an accounting and general business major. I had already begun a career with General Motors as an accountant. I was a layman in my local American Baptist church, but something happened to change all of that. I surrendered to full time service shortly after that I was exposed to two men, Dr. John R Rice and Dr. Jack Hyles. Their influence would change the direction of my entire life and family.
One day, my wife and I packed up our family and our belongings and moved to Hammond, Indiana, not only to enroll in Hyles Anderson College, but primarily to sit under the ministry of Dr. Jack Hyles. In those early days of the college the majority of students did not come from a Christian school or homeschool background and they were not eighteen or nineteen year olds. The majority were mature married men with families. In fact, in those days, it seems that churches all across this nation were producing preacher boys who were not really boys at all, but men with families and careers. My peers in college were men who had to work full time jobs not merely in order to pay for their college, but to support a family as well.
To be honest, if I was facing that same decision today, I doubt I would move my family to sit under another man’s ministry, not because they are not good men, but because they are not Jack Hyles. He was the draw to those us back then. It was like coming for a four year Pastor’s School degree. We wanted to study the man and his ministry.
There are many fine Independent Baptist colleges today, but there is a drastic difference from those early days at Hyles Anderson. Most of these colleges are populated by young people who graduated from Christian school or were Homeschooled. The number of married students has fallen to negligible numbers in most of them. In fact, many of these colleges are being fed by youth conferences. As a result it seems fewer and fewer mature married men are preparing for ministry. In fact, it seems to me that we are seeing fewer and fewer married men surrender to full time ministry in our churches because our emphasis has turned to the youth. Because these colleges are emphasizing youth they have also had to turn their attention from primarily providing a preparation ground for preachers to offering a wide variety of secular degrees for those who do not feel the call to full time service. As I look at the landscape of this nation I feel there is a void that has been left and that is what led me to my vision for to begin an Online College.
Announcing Independent Baptist Online College
Classes Beginning in the Fall of 2015
Here are some of the distinctives of Independent Baptist Online College.
- It will be ministry oriented.
- It will be taught by those with extensive experience in ministry. We will bring some amazing teachers to the classroom via the online format.
- It will primarily be for mature and married men and will offer them excellent training without needing to move their families or quit their jobs.
- It will place an emphasis on the local church pastor leading in the training of his lay preachers.
- It will not be in competition with other independent Baptist colleges. We are not seeking to replace but to supplement.
- It will be a place where men already in the ministry can further or perhaps finish their education.
- It will be convenient but not easy. We will demand excellence and faithfulness from students.
- It will be easily accessible and affordable. If a student cannot attend at the time it is given they will be able to take the course at another time.
- It will be unapologetically fundamental, Baptist, unaccredited, and King James only.
- It will allow us to avail ourselves of many great Christian leaders to teach courses without needing to leave their homes.
- It will focus mainly on preparing men for building churches. Obviously we will allow others to take classes but the main focus will be on ministry training.
- It will place an emphasis on the local pastor planting churches using his own preacher boys. Instruction will be made available not only for the students, but also for the sponsoring pastor.
Independent Baptist Online College will begin by offering a four year degree, with future plans of offering advanced degrees. All classes will be taught online and will offer students an opportunity for live or prerecorded classes.
To oversee the operation of the Independent Baptist Online College we have selected Dr. Jeffrey Smale as President. Dr. Smale has a passion for training preachers as well as experience as the College Administrator for Lone Star Baptist College in Mesquite, Texas. Dr. Smale has pastored for over twenty-five years and is currently the pastor of Victory Baptist Temple in Elyria, Ohio. He brings with him not only the experience of a seasoned pastor, but also a passion for training preachers.
Some may wonder why Dr. Russell Anderson and myself would start another Bible college when many dear preacher friends around the country operate good independent Baptist colleges. Please know that I strongly support these other colleges and do not want to be in competition with them. Instead I believe that Independent Baptist Online College will supplement and even compliment these other colleges.
Soon you will be able to go to www.ibaptistcollege.org and discover all that we have to offer. You will find that we are dedicated to preserve the principles of fundamentalism, independence, Baptist heritage and distinctives in a unique and up to date way.
Dr. Bob Gray, Sr & Dr. Russel AndersonCo-Founders