Founded in 1926 by Alice E. Luce, LABI College is one of the oldest Hispanic Bible Colleges in the country. Over the past ninety-two years, LABI has trained and equipped thousands of pastors, ministers, superintendents and professional leaders. Recently, LABI has made new progress on a number of fronts, continuing our mission to prepare students to serve in the church and world.
Bachelor in Theology with a Concentration on Work and Economics
In the Fall 2018, LABI launched its first Bachelor of Theology degree designed to be completed in as little as three years. Distinctively, students will be able complete the degree with a concentration in “Faith, Work and Economics,” including six courses that mirror the Oikonomia Network’s student outcome goals. This coursework is designed to equip pastors, church leaders and church members with information, knowledge and awareness on how our faith guides our work, and how that faith-driven work impacts our economy. The courses discuss the importance of mature discipleship, biblical stewardship, value creation, productivity, social justice issues and responsible action. Additionally, bachelor’s students enter a group cohort where they participate in activities, workshops and mentorship gatherings related to ministerial and educational goals.
LABI is partnering with Vanguard University to develop an articulation agreement, resulting in a potential shortening of the length of time to complete the master’s degree. Students entering the LABI-Vanguard university partnership will be able to complete their Bachelor of Theology and Master of Leadership, Religion or Theology in approximately five years. Additionally, a Vanguard-sponsored scholarship to LABI participants in this program will be available. This new program will include the opportunity for students to study the work and economics courses outlined above.
LABI is also proud to report that we have reached the highest level of accreditation in the history of the college. In February 2017, LABI achieved candidate status (pre-accreditation status) with our accreditors. In March 2018 our accreditors approved us to accelerate our accreditation process, allowing LABI to be reviewed for full accreditation by spring 2020, a year earlier than anticipated. LABI was approved to operate by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education in November 2018, a requirement to pursue federal student aid (before, LABI operated under “exempt status”). LABI has also officially began its application for federal student aid with the U.S. Department of Education and hopes to achieve this within the next year.
Student Internship Program and Ministry Placement
In the Spring of 2019, LABI revamped and relaunched its minstry internship program. The newly launched intership program includes assessment tools to better understand the effectiveness and needs of our students, and the churches and communities they serve. LABI internships encourage students to develop their ministerial skills through valuable and practical experience by serving in the local church, ministry teams and involvement in community programs. One of the goals is to give students a variety of intership options, to help them view ministry as not just within the four walls of the church building. The internship program is designed to give students supervised practical application of theory, and is integrated into the program’s curriculum through “practicum” courses that provide guidance and mentorship for the students.
Students are placed in internship opportunities based on their preferred choice and their gifts. Students take a Spiritual Gifts assessment in their practicum class, which enables the faculty to identify students’ gifting and recommend a church or location. The assessment aims to match the needs of the local churches, ministry teams and community programs. Memoranda of understanding are created with church intership sites, in which the church agrees to provide supervision and mentorship. Practicum courses are designed to serves as an opportunity to learn the essentials of ministry, integrate academic learning with practical ministry experience, discern one’s call, and learn the liturgical practices of the church. Students are required to be under the supervision of a pastor or discipleship group leader as well as a faculty member.
Hispanic Association for Christian Higher Education
With the leadership of President Marty Harris, LABI College has launched the Hispanic Association for Christian Higher Education (HACHE). HACHE’s mission is to serve and support Christian institutions of higher learning and promote educational quality, access and opportunity with and for the Hispanic community. Hispanic college enrollment and graduation rates are some of the faster growing segments in higher education. This trend is also echoed throughout many Christian colleges and universities. Over the last decade, only a few evangelical universities have reached the requirement to be designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI): serving 25% or more Hispanic undergraduates. HACHE is to be a resource for institutions to better serve student and community demographics.
This past academic year, LABI has already hosted two HSI workshops with representatives from Christian universities in Southern California. Through educational training, publications, grant guidance, faculty recruitment/retention strategies, technical translations, advocacy and other resources, HACHE aims to provide the necessary advantage and support to Christian institutions that want to cultivate a strategic educational environment to better attract and serve the Hispanic community. Contact us if you are interested in HACHE membership or for more information.