Tonight we will kick-off our annual Founder's Week and mark the official release of The MBI Story: The Vision and Worldwide Impact of Moody Bible Institute. Enjoy this post from the book's author Jim Vincent.
By Jim Vincent, Senior Editor Moody Publishers
As a book editor, I know something about deadlines. My boss gives me deadlines regularly for when edited manuscripts are due into typesetting. I give deadlines to my authors, asking them to review my edits and submit corrections and revisions within a week of receiving the manuscript. But last year I faced my greatest publishing deadline—as the author, I had to write a history of Moody Bible Institute spanning 125 years.
That’s not too hard, I thought. After all, in 1986 I had updated for the Moody centennial the fine 1969 history written by Gene Getz. The MBI Story would be just an update of the past 25 years. Well, not exactly, I soon found out. A lot had happened in just the past 10 years. The undergraduate school launched its first branch campus in Spokane, Wash.; Moody Graduate School became Moody Theological Seminary; Moody Aviation, home to nearly one-half of all future missionary pilots, closed its hangar in Elizabethton, Tenn. and moved cross-country to Spokane; Moody Radio went global with three round-the-clock audio channels, and Moody Publishers entered the world of e-books and celebrated its first number one book on the New York Times bestsellers list.
Another big challenge was to change the tone from the 1986 version, which had been heavily into educational philosophy and innovation, being based on Dr. Getz’s dissertation for his doctor of philosophy (PhD). We’d keep some of the early statistics, key analyses and historical developments, but we needed stories, interviews and profiles to help modern readers catch the spirit of the two schools, radio network and book publisher that comprise today’s Moody.
All this would require time for research. Moody Publishers supplied me with a student researcher, who did a fine job in the Moodyana archives as well as back files of The Moody Standard, the student newspaper. Still, certain research would require personal interviews. I met with more than a dozen employees and officers, ranging from two associate deans to Chief Operating Officer Edward Cannon and President Paul Nyquist. I enlisted my oldest son, Jonathan, to help with transcriptions.
Jonathan reminds me of the fourth challenge. Six months of research and writing meant no summer vacation. Oh, I sent my three sons with wife, Lori, on vacation in June, but Dad was absent. I devoted several “vacation” days to writing the manuscript.
And yes, all the sweat and tears were worth the final product, which releases this week as part of a special Founder’s Week 2011 celebration.