Mennonite Brethren churches in the 1930s and 40s saw a shift from unpaid lay ministers to professional clergy, precipitating the need for better denominational pastoral training. In the words of former MBBS president J.B. Toews, “the seminary was born… because of the vision of the church for trained leadership that could lead wisely, theologically, and above all, biblically in a society that was rushing madly after the gods of learning and mammon.”
For 55 years, the seminary has served MBs from Canada, the U.S., and around the world. It offers training in pastoral leadership, preaching, Bible, missions, and church planting. It also offers a degree in marriage, family and child counselling.
Over the decades, more than 1,130 students have graduated from MBBS. In its first year, there were 18 students, among them three women. Now, the student body is no longer primarily male, nor all Mennonite Brethren – close to 40 percent of students are female, and some 27 denominations are represented.
Recently, MBBS announced that its Fresno campus – along with its assets and programs – will be transferred back to Fresno Pacific University. To celebrate more than half a century of theological training, at right is a timeline of significant events in MBBS history.