It is my hope EVERY current MBI student reads this--
It really took me about 10 years after graduation to formulate and figure out MBI. The further I've gotten from MBI, the more disturbing my once 'highly positive view' (I was big on MBI when I attended) of MBI gets. From my standpoint, this is a candid summary of my MBI experience (point-by-point):
FIRST, MBI Problems
1. I had virtually no contact with the opposite sex due to rules preventing it. Like other reviews, I'd highly suggest you consider this before you attend--it causes a lot of problems.
2. The chapel had good speakers (and bad ones) from time to time, but people were not into them and went through motions, not worship. It was not 'alive' here but forced and REQUIRED.
3. The PCM ministries are (frequently) not THAT involved in chicago (were weak) and designed poor
4. When I attended, MBI was dispensational and graded on a dispensational curve (Sorry other ideas will get you a 'C' and not an 'A').
5. 'friends' vanish after MBI, can be a real lack of friends here - I put a lot of effort into friends - and got very little to show for it.
6. far from adequately prepared work world - you won't get a thing about the work world here - NOTHING. Want an entry level office job from MBI (=clerk)? unless it is supporting a ministry, don't even think of going here - if a church pays you $40,000 a year for this education, then great, but the work world won't pay you a dime more for this education beyond mbi students being a little more reliable
7. not enough education for ministry - Often you need a seminary degree, not an MBI degree for ministry.
8. theology one-sided - They don't tell you the full theological picture - just the current view they hold
9. few good churches in Chicago - chances are you won't even find a decent church while attending MBI unless you truck to the burbs- just a warning. Honestly, I found chicago churches tire of MBI students who come and go quickly from Chicago but never commit, and its hard to find a sinlge one that is not in serious crisis within the city. chicago definitely is weak in churches to say the least, but strong in other religions and beliefs
10. no social life - coffee and burger runs (not even movies) This college has the greatest location for social life in IL, yet, no one comes close to having one beyond running to Mr. G's and coffee shops with your roomate. Instead, working a low paying job and studying is the norm here-or reading in your dorm. Do you call that socialization? For four years, I hardly talked to anyone other than my roomate except making coffee sorties late at night--and I made a huge effort to talk to people who always were 'busy'
11. student gossip hypocrisy is a problem - This was a huge problem - students gossip is uncontrolled at MBI, and among some students hypocrisy is also huge, strangely a lot of students are not happy at this school. Gossip caused a lot of people to leave MBI or get upset...and it was like wildfire when I was there
12. morals 'defined by student life' not Bible - most of your morals are regulated by Student Life, not the good book
--they tell you who not to date, etc.
13. not a cure for morality - Many students come here looking for a better place for a few years - MBI is not a better place as much as a place with Christian hype (live from MBI -- it's Steve Green, the musician - woo hoo woo hooo!)
14. not totally free- you do pay some board and room - A lot of students will tell you MBI is free - yet I saw a lot of people working very hard at low wage jobs to pay the room and board (still at least tuition is covered)
15. you can get bad floors to live on in dorms and mostly stuck dorms - I was on several floors full of closed and unfriendly people, and even rude people - and being single you are STUCK in the dorms and not allowed to move off campus
16. not critical at all of problems in surrounding churches - most of them are falling apart in Chitown, yet mbi has nothing to say about most political or church issues, even though Chicago is a mess (I respect some of this closed view of MBI, yet it disturbs me that problems aren't mentioned in a general sense).
17. won't get you into some ministries alone - you'll need seminary degree (I covered that again)
18. does not cover the entire Bible other than scan it -
If you want an overview of Bible, mbi is ok, if you want depth, don't go here. I'm far more skilled now in Bible than when I left MBI on graduation
19. had impression this was only christian way - when I attended MBI, I was under impression it was the ONLY christian way - IT's NOT.
20. not all teachers are 'friendly' or approachable - some will snob you and try to get out of their office most of the time
21. some outright moronic classes - I had a few classes with some real morons here that should not be professors at all, just like any college
22. radio and other programs - takes emphasis off the school
This is a huge problem because MBI is not just a school but a radio station and book ministry - and host to all kinds of christian entertainment. It really takes the focus off the students almost completely. I strongly wished all this other stuff was completely off the campus, it was not.
23. this is huge also--
I never saw ONE PERSON get genuinely SAVED as a result of MBI. I always had to go to other ministries to do this. The closest I came was working with kids in ministries connected with MBI but outside of MBI, but they often had little followup and that disturbed me. When I left a group had started of students going out to talk to people on streets, but that was about it.
24. many of the trips to other countries end up being more vacation time than ministry - other churches have the same problem.
25. the president back then, promoted his books in chapel and thought he was king of the universe
26. brainless classes - ok Foundations of Christian Education - that was just a brainless class of busywork - busywork is assigned here from time to time at MBI, though not always
Whew, now that I got ALL THAT out of the way - positive things:
1. You do learn some of the tools of ministry (books)
2. some professors are good and interesting
3. The school has nice scenary - if like looking at buildings, nothing beats Chicago
4. no real debt when out of the college in terms of money (tuition free)--This is real nice in that most of your time there does not leave you with debt
5. not a ton of other Bible schools that do any better - as you can see from reviews here, you'll find a lot of other schools are worse off than MBI
6. nice to get a feel for downtown only Chicago - MBI won't give you a feel for Chicago entirely - just the downtown part of Chicago
Why would I write a very critical review? Because without a college review by STUDENTS, nothing at the school will get better.