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The History of Faith Bible College International

Like many schools in Maine, Faith Bible College International began with someone seeing the need for a school so students would not need to travel outside the state. The only difference was that this one was to be a school for training Pentecostal Christian workers. Dr. Russell Pier and his wife, Doris, began to meet this need in the fall of 1959.

From Students to Pastors

The Piers embarked on their journey by attending Zion Bible Institute (now Northpoint Bible College and Seminary) in 1943. Upon graduating, they were soon appointed pastors of Faith Tabernacle in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, where they would make a significant impact for the Kingdom. Dr. Pier would travel to teach at Zion in Rhode Island, enabling him to see first-hand the need for training professional, Pentecostal servant-leaders.

Dr. Pier's Vision and Dedication

Dr. Pier’s passion for spreading the Word of God continued to grow, and by 1958, he had his sights set on establishing a Bible school. The planning stages were intense, and many people contributed through prayers, hard work, and financial support

June 1959

Rev. Russell K. Pier,
Rev. Doris E. Pier,
Rev. Elva Valerius,
Rev. William K. Wilson,
Rev. Wentworth Pier,
Mr. Richard G. Small, and
Mr. Daniel Johnson
all signed the certificate of incorporation, making Faith School of Theology a legal entity registered with the State of Maine. It was a momentous achievement and a testament to Dr. Pier’s unyielding commitment to spreading the Gospel.

Fall 1959
From Humble Beginnings to Rapid Expansion

The school opened with just twenty-five students studying in a small church set-up, classroom, kitchen, and dormitory. The school grew rapidly, attracting more students and producing sixty graduates in just eight years. Yet in the midst of numerous miracles and blessings, the cramped facilities made it clear that the school needed a new home.

Finding Our Dream Campus

Dr. Pier began his quest for a new, larger facility. While preaching on Cape Cod, he stumbled upon a property in Brooklin, Maine. The property was ideal for the growing institution, offering 23 acres of land on the Atlantic Ocean, eight buildings, a large swimming pool, and vast lawns. However, the generous donations of two big-hearted people made it possible for the school to secure the down payment on this dream property.

January 1975
Need for Expansion

After winterizing the campus, it served the school until it had outgrown its capacity with 113 students. The school had big plans to expand the campus with more buildings, but little did they know God had better plans.

April 1975
How Faith School of Theology Acquired the Higgins Classical Institute Campus

Dr. Pier met with the board of directors of Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston, Maine, to discuss the possibility of acquiring the campus. The board was curious about Faith School of Theology’s mission and purpose. After a brief discussion, they presented an offer. The board proposed that if Faith School of Theology would take on the debt of Higgins Classical Institute, they could have the campus and its buildings.

June 1975

With some guidance from a retired judge turned attorney, William Silsby, Sr., the Board of Faith School of Theology became the governing board of Higgins Classical Institute on June 28, 1975. The only debt they had to worry about was a loan of $45,000, which they quickly paid off.

Exploring Faith School of Theology's Picturesque Campus in Rural Maine

Nestled in the heart of rural Maine lies this gorgeous campus spanning over 40 acres. The campus comprises several interconnected buildings, such as the Institute Building, the Elva Valerius Chapel, the Faith Auditorium, and the Tracy Dormitory Building. The campus is designed to make it easy for students to move around, especially during inclement weather. The beautiful “Fellowship Five-Hundred” lawn also provides a serene space for students to unwind. The campus also boasts a large athletic field and a tennis court behind the Chancellor’s Home. The Higgins Classical Institute building is the oldest structure on campus, built in 1901, and has been modernized to cater to students and visitors. It houses several academic spaces, such as classrooms, a library, a bookstore, and lounges. The Elva P. Valerius Chapel, built in 1985, is a modern sanctuary that accommodates up to 200 people, while the Faith Auditorium is a multi-purpose space used for physical activities and banquets. Tracy Hall is the main dormitory building with three stories, communal lounges, and a dining hall. Overall, the campus is designed to provide students with a beautiful and convenient space to learn, grow, and thrive.

1996 - 2014
Dr. Jeffrey A. Bell's Transformative Leadership at Faith School of Theology

Dr. Pier passed the torch of leadership to Dr. Jeffrey A. Bell. During his tenure as president, Dr. Bell oversaw many significant and needed renovations, greatly aided by several generous donations, such as a million-dollar donation in 2010. Then in 2014, he took the step to expand the three-year diploma into an associate and bachelor of theological studies degree. Additionally, he was instrumental in passing a bill in the state legislature exempting religious higher education institutions from needing to obtain authorization from the Maine Department of Education (Title 210-A section 10708, subsection 4).

A New Era Under
President Dr. Matthew M. Ward

Dr. Bell passed the torch to Dr. Matthew M. Ward, the current president. Faith School of Theology changed its name to Faith Bible College International in 2016, intending to prepare a new generation of students to positively impact the world. To further this mission, President Ward and the Board of Trustees sought educational accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education in 2018 and were approved for applicant status in 2020. This accreditation will help FBCI provide students with a path to debt-free education and increase recognition for its graduates.

The mission of Faith Bible College International is to prepare professional, Pentecostal servant-leaders who make a world of difference in fulfilling the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

Today, FBCI is a specialized institution of higher education with a single focus on teaching practical theology to men and women, preparing them for various roles, including pastors, evangelists, missionaries, educators, and worship leaders.

To achieve this objective, the faculty and staff at FBCI champion their students to find, develop, and carry out their purpose in the Christian ministry. Through engaging classes, anointed chapels, personal mentorship, and practical ministry experiences, students will grow in their abilities and skills while pursuing a debt-free path to ministry.