"A foundation in God’s Word is mandatory for having a Biblical worldview and living a surrendered life." - Doug Ogden
Jennai Hagen - Class of 17-18
I grossly underestimated just how much God would work in my heart during my year at GCBI. Growing up, I was the pastor's kid who had heard the stories of the Bible so frequently that I knew them like the back of my hand. GCBI provided me the opportunity to learn the Bible not as a collection of stories, but rather as one collective story from start to finish. I learned more than I thought possible and was stretched in ways I had not anticipated. I came into the year with my own set plan for my life and ended the year leaning wholly on God for even the next step. God used the community of believers around me, both in the dorms and at Grace Church, to soften my heart to His leading and show me a tangible picture of His grace. GCBI taught me not just about the Bible, but also about the character of my Savior and how to best spend the rest of my life seeking after Him. The end of the year trip to Israel perfectly capped off everything I had learned by providing context to the stories. Getting to walk where my Savior walked and see the places from the Bible with my own eyes is an experience I will never forget nor take for granted. I will always see my year at GCBI as the best year of my life, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone desperate to know not just the Bible but also it's Author on a deeper level.
Kelly Pelham Lawson - Class of 11-12
Spending a year in GCBI rocked my world. It gave me the tools I needed to firmly build a foundation of knowing God’s Word and the principles to live out His Truths in obedience. Growing up in church and in a family that spent most of their time in ministry, I thought I had a good grasp of God’s Truths, but I was sorely mistaken when I got to spend 10 months diving into God’s story. The entire experience from being in class, to community living, to connecting with the people of Grace Church of Sebring forever changed my life; I can wholly say I have a home and family because of my year in the program. The greatest thing I think I walked out of graduation with is a perspective change; how I see God, His Story, and His Truth is that much more powerful and pure than before my year studying His Word in GCBI.
Doug Ogden - Class of 08-09
As a youth leader now myself, and former student of GCBI, I can not think of anything I would rather see my graduating students do than to spend a year studying under Dr. Randy Smith at the Great Commission Bible Institute. A foundation in God’s Word is mandatory for having a Biblical worldview and living a surrendered life. Dr. Smith will teach the Bible; nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
Jake Lawson - Class of 11-12
Before I came to Sebring, Florida, I was broken. I was excellent at hiding everything that was going on in my life. I played the pastor’s kid very well. A few days before making the trek from Wooster, Ohio to Sebring, Florida I prayed that I would just be open, open to whatever God wanted to teach me. No more high school basketball, no more unhealthy relationships, just me and God and the Bible. When I left GCBI I was completely different. Other than accepting salvation, studying the Bible all the way through was the greatest decision I have ever made. In Wooster, I’m almost annoying because I am telling everyone that GCBI is a must for them.
Jake Robinson - Class of 07-08
GCBI totally changed how I see the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 really say it all, that ‘All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ GCBI not only helped me accurately dig into the scriptures, but it also helped me get in touch with ministries that I could use my gifts in. Also, the church family there is wonderful and encouraging; the believers are uplifting and are very willing to share their wisdom with you.
Josiah Teeple - Class of 05-06
Astounding! I never thought that one year in the Word of God could so completely change my life. The Bible mixed with the community life has taught me many lessons and given me many tools that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Most importantly, I grew closer and more intimate in my relationship with my Savior.
Hallie Barta - Class of 12-13
I came into the program as a longtime believer but mere acquaintance of my Savior, and as such I can testify to the life-changing affect that GCBI can have on a willing heart. Putting such concentration on learning the story of the Bible in its entirety forced me to come to know the God who wrote it in a truly intimate way. And going through that process while surrounded and supported by other believers who live in relationship with a God they KNOW rather than in mere religious observance for a God they know OF is truly exceptional!
Emily Eshelman - Class of 08-09
I grew up in the church and have known all the Sunday school stories of the Bible, but when I went to GCBI the stories became more relevant and the Bible came to life in a way. I am now able to take a passage of scripture and because of my year at GCBI, I can study the Bible for myself. I learned so much about myself and my Creator last year. I would recommend the program to anyone who was willing to dedicate a year to studying the Bible and learning more about the God who loves them. The home church is so loving and accepting of the students and helps in so many ways. GCBI was the best thing I could have done my first year out of high school. It was such a growing experience.
Camille Williams - Class of 07-08
Quite simply, GCBI was one of the most positively life-changing experiences I have ever had. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to understand the Bible as a congruent book and as the Word of God, rather than just a collection of irrelevant stories. Wherever you are in your walk with God, being able to read His Word and discover the truth within is an irreplaceable and vital skill!
Kirsten Melrose Nickisch
The blessing of having gone to Israel is that I can now see and smell and hear the stories of the gospel more vividly as I read them. Also, through interacting with the Jewish people, I received the added blessing of experiencing God’s love for me, through observing His everlasting love for His people
Erin Williams Colladay - Class of 09-10
Without reservation I can say that choosing to be a part of GCBI was, and will remain, one of the best decisions of my life. The time in class with Pastor Randy and on our travel study in Israel gave me a firm foundation in the knowledge of God’s Word, a foundation which is essential for anything that the future may hold. Additionally, the community life aspect of the program is an invaluable ‘mirror in front of your face’, daily asking you to put into practice what you have been learning in class. The Lord is moving in a big way in GCBI, and when a student’s heart is yielded to Him, they cannot help but be magnificently changed by this intentional time in His Word and with His followers.