A Fall Semester to Remember
January 30, 2024
ANKENY, Iowa–The campus of Faith Baptist Bible College is once again abuzz with activity as students resumed classes on January 15. They returned to Faith for the start of the spring semester to find the campus a winter wonderland. Imposing banks and drifts of snow across campus certainly have made the start of 2024 at Faith memorable.
A memorable start to the spring semester seems fitting given that our fall semester was historic and memorable, as well. Looking back, we rejoice in God’s goodness to Faith. Here are a few of the highlights.
- Enrollment Growth: In August, Faith welcomed one of the largest incoming classes in decades. At the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, enrollment was up 37% overall, 25% in the dorms, and 13% in new students—the second consecutive year of double-digit growth in new students.
- Athletic Success: The men’s and women’s cross country teams qualified for nationals, and David Loveall, Conrad Lobb, and Becca Hulinsky all finished in the top 10 at the national championship meet and earned All-American awards for the season. The men’s soccer season included a school-record 10-game winning streak, the first regular-season conference championship since 1996, and the school’s first repeat conference tournament championship. The women’s volleyball team won the NCCAA II North Region Tournament, which punched their ticket to nationals, their second trip to nationals in three years.
- Event Success: In October, Faith celebrated a successful fall fundraising campaign at the Friends of Faith Banquet. Total cash receipts from the fall campaign equaled $483,728, exceeding the goal by over $30,000. Also in October, Faith welcomed representatives from 14 states and nearly 30 camp ministries for its annual fall ENLIST event, an event that allows camp directors to recruit staff for the upcoming camp season. In early November, we welcomed a record number of guests for Scholarship Weekend. Families from across the United States were our guests for a 24-hour campus experience. Many of those guests attended, with hundreds of guests from the community, one of three performances of the fall play, an adaptation of Pilgrim’s Progress. A successful run of semester events culminated with the Festival of Carols. Faith Handbells, Chorale, Chamber Choir, and Orchestra performed musical selections before a full house on both December 14 and 15.
- Academic Achievement: Faith moved up in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings to #32 in regional colleges in the Midwest, an improvement of 12 places in comparison to last year. The school also improved its ranking in social mobility to #3, up two spots from its 2023 ranking in the same category. Also in the fall semester, Faith began offering an endorsement and associate of arts degree in Early Childhood Education.
- Campus Unity: Despite the many highlights of the fall, our students were also confronted with the grim reality of life in a fallen world. In early September, Robyn Stearns, wife of beloved faculty member Andy Stearns, entered hospice care after a last-ditch cancer treatment plan had failed. The news noticeably affected the entire campus community. It brought us together as we united in prayer regularly for the Stearns family. On Thursday, September 14, nearly 400 members of the Faith family gathered at Kavanagh House in Des Moines to sing to Andy, Robyn, and their kids. This moving demonstration of love and solidarity defined the fall semester.
- Spiritual Maturity: Most importantly, we saw many students make notable strides in their walk with the Lord last fall. While spiritual maturity is harder to quantify than success in the categories above, we know that God is faithfully using His Word, His Spirit, and the culture of discipleship here to transform students into Christ’s likeness more and more. Students were regularly challenged to reject the allure of a life of ease and comfort for a life of service to God in a ministry position, and many are accepting that challenge.
These are simply brief descriptions of the abundant goodness of God we experienced on campus during the fall semester. We give Him praise for all that He is doing here.
Thank you for praying for us last fall. Please commit to supporting us again in prayer this spring as we joyfully endeavor to equip the next generation of vocational Christian workers and other servant leaders while inspiring them to take the Word to the world.