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1996 Original Vision

The  passion for a vibrant Bible-based, Christ-centered, mission-focused  training center for church laity and professional ministers began in the  life and ministry of Dr. Jim Leggett, founder and senior pastor of  Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church in Katy, Texas. Part of the  church’s founding vision in 1996 included eventually creating a school  offering seminary-level training to laity and initially visualized as a "Growth Institute."

2008 Bible Institute

The original idea evolved into a “Bible Institute” under the leadership of Grace Fellowship UMC Teaching Pastor, Paul Helbig – a  former teacher and key leader at the College of Biblical Studies in  Houston, Texas. The church officially established a Bible Institute in  2008 to teach a series of lay courses covering all 66 books of the  Bible. Classes were designed to be highly engaging and transformative, a  joy and not a burden, taught by seminary-trained, credentialed  instructors, and more intensive than typical Bible studies, but not  quite as intense as a full-level seminary class. The original Bible  Institute courses included Bible Study Methods, three Old Testament and  three New Testament classes, and one missions class. Each course was one  semester in length, and students generally met one night per week  throughout a semester.

2009 Exploration and Planning

Several  key Grace Fellowship members began working diligently with Dr. Leggett  and others to develop a graduate school as a separate,  non-denominational, charitable, educational organization. The team  selected a name – The Bible Seminary – and  worked to establish bylaws, a Board of Trustees, core values,  doctrines, ethos, financial support, incorporation in the state of  Texas, institutional policies, and a program track for a three-year  Master of Divinity degree aimed at attracting full-time, residential  students. These tasks were completed or advanced significantly under the  leadership of seminary Board Chair, Dan Dunham, and seminary  Vice-President of Finance and Administration,

Rick McCalip.

2010 Founding The Bible Seminary

The Bible  Seminary became officially registered as Domestic Non-Profit Corporation  in the state of Texas in Feburary 2010, and an IRS 501(c)(3) Charitable  Institution of Higher Education in August 2010. The new Board  officially named Dr. Jim Leggett President of The Bible Seminary, and  hosted a fundraiser at Grace Fellowship in which more than 260 church  members and friends committed in excess of $1,100,000 to help launch the  seminary.

2011 Organization

The  Board launched a nationwide search for an Executive  Vice-President/Provost. Dr. K. Lynn Lewis – a dynamic professional with  more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneurial businessman,  educator, fundraiser, and ministry leader – began serving TBS in July  2011. TBS  received an exemption for its Master of Divinity program by the Texas  Workforce Commission in March 2011, received a similar exemption from  the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in May 2011, officially  transferred the Bible Institute from Grace Fellowship UMC to The Bible  Seminary in July 2011, and began publicizing and recruiting students for  a new, 32-course, 96-hour Master of Divinity graduate school program  scheduled to launch the next fall. The  first ten Bible Certificate students completed their course of study in  December 2011, four years after taking their first class.

2012 First Graduate Class

The  graduate program launched with 12 inaugural students on September 4,  2012. Faculty included Dr. Lewis, Professor Helbig, and select adjunct  professors. TBS  received approval for Affiliate status with the Association for  Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in April 2012 which lasted until ABHE  ended their affiliation program in July 2021.

2013 Growth

The  seminary began offering an expanded slate of classes and options for  both the Bible Certificate and Master of Divinity programs, as well as a  Biblical Leadership Series of monthly seminars on various topics.

2014 Transitions

Founding  President, Dr. Jim Leggett, transitioned to a new role at the seminary  in January 2014, and the Board of Trustees selected Dr. K. Lynn Lewis to  serve as the new President. The seminary then launched a nationwide  search for a new Provost (Chief Academic Officer), and in October 2014,  Dr. Steve Adamson – a seasoned corporate and academic manager with  worldwide experience – became the seminary’s new Provost.

2015 First Graduate Degrees

TBS  formally established a Master of Arts program, and developed a Dual  Degree Completion option enabling those without a completed bachelor’s  degree to enroll at TBS and graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s  degree. Seven Master of Divinity and one Master of Arts received the first-ever TBS graduate degrees on May 17, 2015. TBS  added a Licensed Professional program in September 2015 enabling those  without a bachelor’s degree to obtain core TBS graduate level  education. The  Bible Certificate program added Spanish language classes and received  approval by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) in  November 2015 to provide continuing education units for K-12 Christian  education teachers.

2016 Initial Expansion

The  seminary began expanding course offerings into the northwest Houston  region in association with churches and ministries in that area. By the  end of the year, founding Professor Paul Helbig switched from full-time  TBS employment to full-time disability leave due to health  complications.

2017 Additional Staff, Growth, and Recognition

The  seminary hired a new Provost with 36 years of experience serving  professionally as a pastor, principal, superintendent, professor,  Development Director, teacher, coach, archaeologist, and more – Dr.  Scott Stripling. TBS  also hired a new full-time faculty member with an extensive background  worldwide in educational administration, research, and teaching – Dr.  Douglas Petrovich. TBS  also implemented major revisions to the Bible Certificate program,  added the “Bible Panorama” Bible Certificate course and “Biblical  Archaeology” graduate course, and added new teaching sites in southwest  Houston and in Luling, Texas. In  December, TBS received recognition by the Knowledge Review as one of  the "10 Most Preferred Divinity Schools for Religious Studies 2017."

2018 New Majors Added

TBS  added four defined Master of Arts majors ranging from 48 to 60-credit  hours, including Master of Arts in Biblical History and Archaeology  (60-credit hours), Master of Arts in Biblical Languages and Culture  (54-credit hours), Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (60-credit hours),  and Master of Arts in Church History and Theology (48-credit hours).  The Board also approved a reduction in the hours required to complete a  Master of Divinity from 96-credit hours to 84-credit hours, as well as  revised the Licensed Professional program requirements from 8 courses to  9 courses totaling 18-credit hours.

2019 Candidacy Status

The  Bible Seminary became a member of the Transnational Association of  Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) by achieving Candidate Status as a  Category III institution by the TRACS Accreditation Commission on April  16, 2019. Dr. Paul Nyquist, former President of Moody Bible Institute,  joined the TBS administration full-time through 2019 as Dean of Graduate  programs and Professor of Biblical Preaching, Leadership, and Theology.  He moved to Adjunct Professor status in January 2020.

2020 - 2023 Accreditation, Programs, and Personnel

In  January 2020, following Dr. Nyquist’s change from full-time to adjunct  status, TBS named Dr. Doug Petrovich Dean of the Graduate Programs and  Mrs. Carousel Pieterse Director of the Bible Certificate Program. In  October 2020, TBS renamed the “Licensed Professional” program the  “Vocational Ministry Certificate” program, and earned Accredited Status  with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools  (TRACS).

In  2021, TBS received approval from TRACS to offer Distance Education and  became a member of the National Council for State Authorization  Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).

In  2022, four concentrations were added to the Master of Arts in Biblical  Studies: Biblical Leadership, Christian Education, Media Production, and  Missions. TBS also added a publishing division, Nehemiah Press; launched the Archaological Studies Institute; and hired Dr. Israel Steinmetz as Dean of Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of Practical Theology.

In 2023, the former non-degree Bible Certificate and Vocational Ministry Certificate programs were converted into a non-degree Certificate of Theological Studies.

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