Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Tim Dolan, PhD

Second Advisor

Derek Voorhees, DMin

Third Advisor

Leonard I. Sweet, PhD


The Bible college movement can trace its roots to the late nineteenth century and was given greater credibility when the accreditation era began in 1947. Today, the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) is still the leader of the Bible college movement. But a quick glance at the sixty-three ABHE institutions (64%) with undergraduate enrollment under 250 raises concern. Furthermore, 31 percent have enrollment under 100.

Rising costs and escalating student debt are creating enrollment challenges. The smallness of most Bible colleges makes them particularly vulnerable, especially since many lack endowments. Adding to the problem is the changing landscape of higher education, a dying rural church, and looming governmental concerns. While many paths could lead to greater enrollment and stability for Bible colleges, proactive collaboration is the most promising.

Section 1 explains the depth of the problem. The history of the Bible college movement is reviewed and key takeaways are gleaned from past examination. Also, an analysis of the current state of ABHE is explored, with current challenges revealed. Finally, a critical list of concerns is explored. As other proposed solutions to the thesis are investigated in Section 2, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities model is used as a successful case study. Additionally, shorter programs, competency-based education, online education, and adult learners are studied. Section 3 argues the thesis that collaborative effort is the best proposed solution. An in-depth study of how megachurches may fit into the equation is included. Section 4 describes the Biblical Higher Education Collaborative website which was constructed to foster collaborative efforts between Bible college and university leaders. Section 5 describes the content of the website, which includes a monthly podcast with a leader in biblical higher education. Finally, Section 6 includes a postscript of how undergraduate biblical higher education may be reimagined.