By Sarah Plummer
Now more than 60 years old, Appalachian Bible College has grown substantially since its inception but it remains true to its mission to educate students for effective ministry and a life of service.
The college began as a tiny mustard seed, seven students in Pettus Baptist Church in 1950, explained college president Dr. Daniel Anderson. But this academic year the school had the largest incoming class in the institution’s history, growing the student body 10 percent, he said.
While the student body is small, around 300, it is vast in the sense that those students represent 30 states and 12 foreign counties, Anderson explained.
And while many other colleges are seeing an increase in nontraditional students, Anderson said the Bible college is seeing its increase in traditional college-age students.
In addition to a large incoming class, Appalachian Bible College is offing two new unique majors.
Through a partnership with New River Community and Technical College, Appalachian Bible College students can enroll in Missions Nursing.
This degree prepares students to work around the world providing physical and spiritual nursing.
“International mission settings are prolific and always in need of people to provide medial assistance to the needy around the world while students have the opportunity to share spiritual help as well,” Anderson said.
This program is specifically geared for those looking to travel and serve in ministries and mission hospitals around the world.
Also newly available is a Biblical counseling concentration.
Those enrolled in the Youth and Family Ministry major can attain a Biblical counseling concentration, a stepping stone for anyone looking to attain a graduate counseling component.
While this is not a degree or certification in counseling, Anderson explained that it prepares students to move forward while keeping with the school’s vision to “minister to hurting hearts through counseling.”
Anderson said the school’s growth is exciting.
He attributes it “to a wonderful blessing. The Lord has helped us by directing appropriate students to us,” he said.
He also credits Director of Admissions Scott Ross for nurturing contacts and finding students who are looking for the kind of environment and ministry offered at Appalachian Bible College.
“Also, the growing awareness of the quality of our academics is a testimony to the faculty,” he added. “We have come through a stage of campus expansion and development that makes our school far nicer than other schools our size and type, and we have really worked to keep our prices modest.”
Appalachian Bible College remains lower than most comparable colleges of like faith.
Much of this recognition and growth has been under the watchful gaze of Anderson, now in his 30th year as president and 35th year at the school.
Only the second president in the school’s history, he is the longest seated college president in West Virginia.
During his tenure the school has doubled in enrollment, gained regional accreditation, developed a Master of Arts in Ministry, and had major campus construction and development.
“My time here has been a journey of agony and ecstasy — but minutes of challenge and hours of joy,” he said.
Each year between 10,000 to 15,000 people visit the campus for year-round Alpine Ministries, adventure recreation that glorifies God.
For more information about Appalachian Bible College or Alpine Ministries, visit www.abc.edu.
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