In 1997, Dr. Lyle Dorsett and David Olmsted who were with the Church of the Great Shepherd in Wheaton, Illinois, at the time saw a need for a Bible institute in the City of Chicago. Chicago Bible Institute’ s (“CBI”) initial mission was to assist local churches in the City of Chicago to provide theological and practical training for their lay people so that they could minister effectively in and through local churches for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. Since the date of inception, it was the hope of the Church of the Great Shepherd that CBI would become an autonomous indigenous institution.
Father George Kacena was the initial Dean and launched the first course at CBI – Old Testament Survey. Classes were administered at night so that students could attend after work. In January of 1999, A. Daniel Barker Jr., CBI’s current President, was commissioned to be Superintendent of CBI and was later promoted Dean of CBI. Shuling Barker was hired as a part-time administrator and full-time teacher in 2001 and later was promoted to Associate Dean of CBI. Shuling and Daniel Barker also became the main teachers. On occasion, guest teachers have taught writing and reading courses. CBI’s first graduation was held on May 4th, 2002.
In 2005, CBI reached a crucial point in its ministry and its leadership discerned the Lord’s leading for CBI to become independent of the Church of the Great Shepherd. At this crucial time with God’s guidance, Daniel and Shuling assembled a gifted Board of Directors to provide direction for CBI’s continued growth and development. On June 16, 2005, CBI was incorporated as an Illinois nonprofit corporation. CBI is presently an autonomous indigenous institution.
At CBI, we seek to respond to the tragic description of Scripture “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) by equipping lay people and church leaders so that there may be “unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:13) in the impoverished areas of Chicago.
Our heart therefore, is to train those who either can not afford or lack the credentials for admission to larger, traditional Bible colleges in the Chicago land area. Our hallmarks are tuition-free education and courses taught at a level that all can understand.
A. Daniel Barker Jr.