“So, when are you going to come study with us at ABC?”
I’ve made a habit over the last few years of sometimes asking teens and young adults in the Church that question. I do that partly because I feel it’s my job as coordinator of ABC to recruit. More than that, though, I genuinely wish that every young adult in God’s Church could attend ABC, sooner or later.
“Why? What’s so great about ABC?”
You might even wonder what exactly is ABC. What happens there? Well, you have questions, and I have answers!
Ambassador Bible College is a one-academic-year program of college-level courses that together examine all the books of the Bible and the truths God’s Word holds. The faculty consists of ministers whom you might recognize. You’ve seen them on Beyond Today, or serving as staff at summer camps.
The program consists of separate classes on subjects that include: The Gospels; the Epistles of Paul; Major Prophets; Wisdom Literature; Apologetics; Speech and much more. The main textbook for the entire year is the Bible. Students attend classes Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided, as are textbooks that may be used along with the Bible in particular classes.
Although it is called a college, ABC does not have a campus and dormitories. The classroom is in the home office in Milford, and most students live in rented rooms in members’ homes or in nearby apartments. As at most colleges, a majority of the students work part-time jobs in the evenings and weekends.
Why do they do it?
Why do students devote nine months of class time and pay $2,500 to attend ABC? Why should you consider doing this?—and believe me, I really think you should!
People have had different motivations over the years, but the overriding one has been a desire to study and learn for oneself what the Bible teaches. A number of students have said that they know what they believe, but have trouble explaining why. The ABC faculty strive to show from Scripture where the Church derives its doctrines. Students learn exactly what the Bible says and what it does not. Another way that students have put this is to say that they wanted to make this their own Church and their own religion—not just their parents’.
ABC is more than just getting information, though.
ABC is an experience
One of the reasons that we haven’t switched to offering the program online is that there is something about coming into a separate environment and going through a course of study with a group of people that is transformative. Studying at ABC does more than just give students information. It gives students an experience that helps them grow and develop as people and as Christians.
Part of that experience comes through daily interaction with a group of fellow students. Many form lifelong friendships during their time at ABC. Along with taking classes together, students do service projects; they work together to host socials for the local congregation and to raise funds for charity.
Most students choose to join the ABC Chorale, which travels to perform special music for congregations in the area. This provides a service to the brethren and gives students opportunities to meet and talk with a variety of Church members. Along with the value of performing this service, the students get to experience the joy of making beautiful music together and worshiping God. That is another transformative experience and its value can hardly be expressed in words.
When should you come?
This may have you saying—like many teens and young adults I’ve talked to—I want to attend ABC, but I’m not sure when I can fit it in. That makes sense. There is not just one time or place within a person’s educational career when ABC is best for everyone.
It takes a degree of maturity and responsibility to succeed here. Some people are ready right after graduating from high school, but others do well to work or attend college for a year or two first. A few students have come to ABC after graduating from college and before starting graduate school. It is also quite normal to have one or more senior citizens in the class. They add a wonderful perspective and balance that younger students always appreciate.
ABC Recommendations From Prior Students:
"ABC is just... such a magnificent blessing! You get to spend time in a school setting with fellow Church members that have the same values as you, you get to dive deep into learning God's instruction manual—the Bible—and you are given so many opportunities to travel, socialize and participate in activities like never before! Why wouldn’t you want to be involved in something as amazing as this?"
“ABC was simply a breath of fresh air. It helped me take a step back from this crazy life and re-order some priorities in a life where I felt like I was drowning a little bit. ABC really helped me get a good foundation to stand on of how I want to set up and live my life. Every day you wake up and you are surrounded by light, and proof that God’s way works, and works well! Coming to ABC this year was one of the best decisions I’ve made, and if you have the opportunity to attend, I would highly recommend it!”
More than one student has said that they weren’t sure when they might come to ABC, but circumstances fell in to place and made the year they attended best for them. What I have noticed is that God seems to bring together a group of people that He wants to be together for that year. That is certainly NOT to say that you should just leave it all to chance. I hope you will make plans and prepare to attend ABC, but be open to whatever change-of-plans that might present itself.
Thinking about ABC?
If this has sparked some questions, please feel free to contact me or any of the ABC faculty. Chances are that you have an ABC graduate in your congregation or one that meets in your area. I’m certain that he or she would be glad to talk to you about the ABC experience. If you have occasion to visit the Cincinnati area, think about sitting in for a morning or afternoon of classes. We prefer to know ahead of time when we’ll have visitors, but we do welcome them.
Ambassador Bible College is fun; it’s beneficial; it’s like nothing else you’ll ever do.
So, when are you going to come study with us at ABC?