History of Faith
For over 100 years, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary has been preparing men and women for God’s calling on their lives. See the rich history of God’s faithfulness to the ministry of Faith.
A Word from our President
In 1893, William Jordan heard Dwight L. Moody speak on the importance of training Christian workers for the ministry. Much impressed by Moody’s vision, Dr. Jordan desired such a training center west of the Mississippi, and in 1921 founded Omaha Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. After several name changes as well as a location change from Omaha, Nebraska, to Ankeny, Iowa, in 1967, we are now celebrating a century of God’s faithfulness to Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary.
Of all the great things God has done for Faith, the greatest has been the work He has done in the hearts of our alumni and how He has used them since they graduated. Thankfully, the sun never sets on Faith alumni: pastors, missionaries, teachers, nurses, office admins, Christian business leaders, moms and dads who are faithfully serving God and actively involved in their local churches. Most, if not all, can point back to their time at Faith and comment on how their time here was used by God to prepare them and impact them for the cause of Christ. Many met their spouse at Faith, were called into vocational ministry at Faith, and built spiritual disciplines that continue to the day.
As we celebrate a century of God’s faithfulness, I pray that God will continue to use and bless Faith for the next 100 years as He has in the past, that we will continue to faithfully prepare and train the next generation to serve God however and wherever that may be, and that we will continue to take the “Word to the World” wherever we are today.
On behalf of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary,
Dr. Jim Tillotson
A Century of God’s Faithfulness
In 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair, William H. Jordan heard D. L. Moody speak about the importance of training Christian workers for the ministry. Deeply impressed by Moody’s vision, Jordan developed a burden to see schools established to carry on that vision. In 1921, he became pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Omaha, Nebraska. There, the spark that D. L. Moody had ignited in Jordan produced a small, nondenominational Bible school known as the Omaha Bible Institute (OBI). Classes began in the summer of 1921 and continued for many years with Dr. Jordan as President of the school.
During the mid-1940s, the trustees wondered whether the school should continue. One of the part-time faculty members at that time was Dr. John L. Patten, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Patten shared Dr. Jordan’s vision for the school and was firmly convinced that its need was still valid, so he volunteered to step into the place of leadership. In the mid-1950s, the institution aggressively sought the approval and support of Baptists and changed the name to Omaha Baptist Bible Institute (OBBI). On June 22, 1956, the Council of Fourteen of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches voted to approve OBBI as an independent, fundamental Baptist educational institution. The courses were broadened, and curricula expanded, in the desire to establish the school on the collegiate level. To reflect this emphasis, the name was changed again in 1960 to Omaha Baptist Bible College (OBBC).
The enrollment outgrew the Omaha facilities, so in 1965 the Board of Directors voted to relocate the campus to Ankeny, Iowa. When OBBC’s president John L. Patten resigned because of health reasons in 1965, the school called Dr. David Nettleton to be its president.
Over the next few years, David Nettleton led in raising money and building a new campus in Ankeny. In 1969 he walked from Omaha to Ankeny to celebrate the completion of the sale of the Omaha campus and to raise money for a classroom building. The move was accomplished during the summer of 1967, and Faith Baptist Bible College opened for classes that October.
A graduate program offering the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Pastoral Studies was initiated in the fall of 1982. In January 1986, the Board of Directors established Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, transferring the graduate programs from the college to the seminary. At the same time of the development of FBTS, the Board of Directors began talks with Denver Baptist Bible College and Seminary to merge the two schools.
Denver Baptist Bible College had been established in 1952 by Dr. Sam Bradford, pastor of Beth Eden Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado. They added a seminary program in 1972, and the schools became approved by the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches in 1977. Faith and Denver had much in common and determined that a partnership would provide greater academic strength to the graduate program.
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary officially began in the fall of 1986 with thirty students. Three Master of Arts degree programs and a three-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree were offered. With these decisions, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary made a definite move from offering post-secondary education to offering the elements of higher education in ministry training.
Rooted in Faith
100 Years of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
Experience the peaks and valleys of one of the oldest Bible colleges in America through this 100-year historical documentary. Discover the stories of hard work, self-sacrifice, dedication, and deeply-rooted faith in the Lord that have allowed Faith Baptist Bible College to survive for 100 years.
1921-2021: A Timeline
- September 27, 1921: School Opening Address at 7:30 PM
- September 28, 1921: First day of classes at Omaha Bible Institute at 8:40 AM
- January 24, 1924: OBI legally incorporated
- Campus at 1040 Park Avenue in Omaha purchased (1929)
- OBI survives The Great Depression
- OBI graduates its first two students, two young ladies (1936)
- 13 faculty members. Most were local pastors.
- Dr. Jordan resigns as president (1942)
- Dr. Patten and Miss Nell Malen save school from closing
- Patten named president
- Enrollment hits max capacity of 85 students (1949)
- OBI becomes a Baptist School (1953)
- Name change to Omaha Baptist Bible Institute (1953)
- OBBI given degree-granting status (1957)
- Name changed to Omaha Baptist Bible College (1960)
- Board votes to move the campus to Ankeny (1965)
- Campus moves to Ankeny and changes name to Faith Baptist Bible College. Other names considered were Iowa Baptist Bible College and Midwest Baptist (1967)
- Construction of Gray Hall (1970)
- Construction of Convocation Center (1973)
- Enrollment reaches all-time high of 631 (1975)
- First grad program offered. Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (1982)
- Beginning of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary and merger with Denver Baptist Bible College (1986)
- President Shipp passes away suddenly. Dr. Domokos named president (1987)
- Faith enters the digital age with the launch of faith.edu (1996)
- Faith celebrates 75 years (1996)
- Groundbreaking for men’s and women’s dormitories (1998)
- Women’s residence hall named after Dr. Donald Brong (2005)
- Men’s residence hall named after Senator Ray Taylor (2005)
- Nettleton addition ribbon-cutting (2006)
- Jim Tillotson named president (2015)
- Dedication of Shipp Hall Seminary Building (2017)
- Dedication of Domokos Hall (2019)
- 2021: Centennial Celebration