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By President Randall A. Bach

Upon graduating from Florida Bible Institute, Billy Graham began ministry as a pastor. While pastoring, he recognized a need to add breadth and depth to his education, so he enrolled at and graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Billy went on to become the greatest evangelist in history in terms of numbers of people reached with the gospel. 

In 1962, Billy was invited to give the commencement address at Wheaton College. What a delight it is to view the first page of his sermon notes (courtesy of the Billy Graham Literary Trust), where Billy recited his debt to the college.

Observe what Wheaton College did for him:

1. Gave me a reason for my hope
2. Broadened my understanding of the church
3. Gave me new understanding of the social implications of the Gospel
4. Gave me world contacts
5. Gave me my wife
6. Gave me appreciation for the importance of scholarship

These are the reflections of a man who was not content to remain who he was, a man who wanted to grow and become all God desired for him. He knew his leadership capacity needed to be expanded, deepened, and broadened; he needed to see beyond the world as he had experienced it. God calls. People respond to and cooperate with His call by preparing themselves for effective service. 

I like the way two of our Open Bible pastors similarly explained why they pursued master’s degrees (although each was already blessed with a wonderful wife!):

Pastors Dwight and  Jeanne Rodgers

Pastors Dwight and 
Jeanne Rodgers


Pastor Dwight S. Rodgers, Hope Church, Largo, Florida

“Achieving the education goal of a master’s degree has equipped me to think at a higher leadership level – not because I know more, but because I understand how to move a church in a more defined direction. I believe I can be more strategic in thinking, planning, and implementation.” 

Pastor Monte and Amy Jo LeLaCheur

Pastor Monte and Amy Jo LeLaCheur


Pastor Monte LeLaCheur, Turning Point Open Bible Church, Spokane, Washington

“Even though I felt a divine call on my life for ministry, I never wanted to feel “trapped” by an education that did not have the potential to open doors for me outside of the local church. For me, it seemed to make the most sense to pursue a Master’s of Education degree in counseling, which has not only helped me in my pastoral duties but has also opened many other doors over the years.” 

What about you? Would you also like to develop and expand your capacity as a leader and obtain an advanced degree from a college known as the evangelical Harvard, the same college to which Billy Graham proclaimed his debt? Now through Open Bible Churches’ partnership with Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois, you have the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Ministry and Leadership. Open Bible is a denominational trailblazer with this new Wheaton cohort program, a first for the college. Others will follow. The cohort tuition discount is a stunning 35 percent.
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Download PDF here

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Credentialed Open Bible ministers and other Open Bible church leaders who have a recognized bachelor’s degree are eligible to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to earn a Master of Arts degree. Allowing for pastors’ and other leaders’ busy schedules, students focus on one class at a time and should get their degree in just over three years, a realistic schedule for busy people. Classes are conducted mostly online with three one-week intensives – one held at Wheaton at the beginning of the track, one held in Des Moines in the middle, and the final one held back at Wheaton.

When does this cohort start?

This cohort begins June 21, 2019, the day after our Open Bible national convention in the next-door community of Schaumburg, Illinois. We will recognize and pray over enrolled students during the final service of national convention.

What courses are included?

The above graphic presents an outline of courses in the M.A. cohort program.

How do I learn more?

Contact graduate.admissions@wheaton.edu and tell them you are interested in the Open Bible M.A. cohort.

I wish I could have pursued my master’s degree many years before I did, at a younger age. I also had a yearning to develop and expand my world as a leader; however, innovative online programs were not available until later. This Open Bible M.A. cohort opportunity with Wheaton College presents a wonderful, contemporary door of opportunity to you and it is through one of the most distinguished evangelical colleges in the world. I encourage you to give it prayerful consideration. Doors of opportunity can be fleeting.

About The Author

Randall Bach
President of Open Bible Churches

Randall Bach delights in opportunities to serve the Lord, including his current assignment as president of Open Bible Churches. He and Barbara, his wife, have been in ministry for over 45 years and call it “Our adventure together.” Randall loves the church, pastors, and church leaders and is convinced that God loves to work through them to make disciples, develop leaders, and plant churches.