Moody Institute Plans Founder's Week

The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Illinois will soon host its annual Founder’s Week Conference on the 168th anniversary of its founder, D.L. Moody’s birth.

As with previous conferences, the Moody Institute will invite a panel of influential speakers and music artists from within the Christian community who will speak on issues concerning this year’s theme, “Who is God?”

The event will be open to the public and will be broadcasted live on all MBI-owned radio stations. With the exception of closing concert, conference events will be free of charge.

Nonetheless, the MBI issued requests for goodwill donations that can be offered during or before the ceremony in order to cover event costs. The conference is scheduled to run January 31 thru February 5.

The 2005 Founder’s Week opening ceremony will pay tribute to Dr. Joseph M. Stowell III, president of the Moody Bible Institute. Taking office in 1988, Dr. Stowell is the seventh in a long line of MBI presidents. Since then, Dr. Stowell has served in his post for 18 years.

Dr. Stowell is famed for his award-winning radio broadcast “Proclaim!” which airs on more than 250 radio-stations. He is the author of ten books including “The Upside of Down,” “Eternity,” “Perilous Pursuits,” “Following Christ,” “Far From Home,” “Loving Christ,” “Simply Jesus,” and “Strength for the Journey.” Dr. Stowell will speak during the opening ceremony held on the evening of January 31.

In addition, speakers include Ravi Zacharias, Tony Evans, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Howard Hendricks.

Professional Christian recording artist Graham Kendrick has been invited to lead the worship and praise sessions during the conference. Other guest artists include Bebo Norman, John Innes, and Damaris Carbaugh.

As one of the highlights for this year’s conference, mainstream Christian music artist Bebo Norman will perform in concert at 2:30pm on February 5 at the Moody Memorial Church. Bebo is a Dove-nominated songwriter/singer. His more successful release to this date, “Ten Thousand Days,” has garnered no less than 125,000 copies in the United States, and has been ranked the best-selling artist release in Europe in 2000. Since then, he has released albums including “Big Blue Sky” (2001) and “Myself When I am Real” (2002), both of which have shared similar success. Bebo more recent album “Try” was released August of last year.

According to information released by the MBI website, attendants will be required to purchase tickets prior to the concert.

The Founder’s week ceremony is held in honor of the institute’s founder Dwight Lyman Moody. Moody started his career as a retail shoe clerk at the age of 17. He converted to Christianity in 1855. After achieving success in the shoe industry, Moody started the Illinois Street Church (now Moody Church) in 1864. Prior to staring the church, Moody had lead a successful children’s Sunday school in a converted-saloon.

The turning point in Moody's life came in 1870 when he met Miss Emma Dyer, principal and teacher at the Illinois State Normal University. Dyer had started a Bible-study program in the course of helping Americans left homeless after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Moody convinced Dyer to remain in Chicago to continue the Bible-study program under church auspices.

In the course of their friendship, Moody and Dyer continued evangelistic works in the city of Chicago. During this period in his life, Moody became influenced by Dyer's advice and guidance.

At a gathering in 1886, Moody announced that Chicago lacked workers trained for urban missions, prompting the formation of the Chicago Evangelization Society to train prospective missionaries for work in future ministries, local and abroad.

Moody ultimately left the business field and his pastorate for full time religious work – a task he devoted himself to until his death in 1899. The following year, the Chicago Evangelization Society was changed to the Moody Bible Institute.

Since then, according to MBI website, the Moody Institute continues to adopt an emphasis on training students for evangelistic works in accordance to the traditions and dreams set forth by founding father D.L. Moody.