In 1936, Miss Eva Jantz, previously a missionary who had served in Africa, began a vacation Bible school ministry in the Rosedale district of Kansas City, Kansas. By 1939 the Lord had blessed the work with such rapid growth and with so many zealous workers, that they organized themselves into the "Gospel Ambassadors". That year a teacher's training institute was held for the purpose of preparing workers for Vacation Bible Schools.
Mrs. Reese Williams was among those who attended. Because of her hunger for the Word of God, she had earlier attended classes at Kansas City Bible College. She and her husband prayed fervently for such a work in the Black community. In the Spring of 1941, Mr. & Mrs. W. L. McEwen bought a building located at 1301 Vine Street and gave it to the Gospel Ambassadors for a permanent home for the Bible school. Mr. & Mrs. Reese Williams gave themselves and their substance unstintingly to the work until their deaths in 1968. The Annual Williams Bible Conference and the Reese and Levonia Williams Library have been established in their memory.
In 1947, the name was changed to Carver Bible Institute, after George Washington Carver, noted Christian agricultural scientist. The ministry continued at the Vine Street location until forced to move due to the building of the Watkins Project. Thus in 1953, the school relocated to 2637 E. 28th Street.
“The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible: In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.”
-George Washington Carver
From the Fall of 1944 until 1971, with the exception of two years when Norm Sanders served full time as Administrative Director, the work was staffed by dedicated pastors, missionaries and other qualified men and women who volunteered their services on a part time basis under the apt guidance of Mrs. Erma Criswell, herself a part time volunteer who gave herself fully to the ministry. God wonderfully used these selfless volunteers for the blessing of many, but the work could not reach its potential without full time attention.
In 1971, after much prayerful consideration, the Board of Directors extended a call to the Rev. Dean M. Chasteen, a missionary serving in the Central Africa Republic, to come and develop the full potential of the Institute. Just two years later a larger building was bought to accommodate an expanding program.
In order to more effectively provide help and guidance for graduates who were called to be church planters, the governing board made the following decisions early in 1980: (1) The Institute would be an Independent Baptist School with the purpose of specifically training men for the church planting ministry, (2) The school would establish close ties with the Fellowship of Baptists for Home Missions to provide the mission organization support that graduates would need for assistance in planting the churches. In view of these decisions, the school name was changed in 1981 to Carver Baptist Bible Institute.
Early in 1982 full membership status was granted in the Southern Accrediting Association of Bible Institutes and Bible Colleges (now called the International Association of Bible Colleges and Seminaries).
In 1984 arrangements were made with Penn Valley Community College which enables Carver students to take certain of their general education courses, upon our recommendation, and include them in our program. Thus the way was opened for us to offer the B.A. and B.S. degrees as a new four year course of study in the 1984-85 school year.
From left to right: Dr. LeRoy Randolph, Dr. Antoine Richardson, Dr. Dean Chasteen
In 1990 the Board extended a call to Dr. LeRoy Randolph, Jr. to become the next president. He began his service to the school in March 1991. As an African American himself with an earned doctorate, Dr. Randolph gives culturally-relevant leadership to the school. The previous president, Dr. Chasteen assumed the role of President Emeritus.
The administrative staff and faculty consist of full-time missionaries who are joined by a number of highly-qualified adjunct faculty from the surrounding area. All staff and faculty come to Carver with successful practical ministry experience.
In the fall of 2005, Carver began its Seminary program to meet the need for additional training among the inner city Christian professionals. Those with a Bachelor degree either in Bible or a secular major can now enroll in Carver Baptist Theological Seminary to earn a Master’s degree. The program enables experienced professionals to earn advanced degrees without leaving their present ministries.
In 2012, the Board extended the call to Dr. Antoine D. Richardson to become the new president of Carver in 2013. Dr. Richardson was challenged by the Board to gain accreditation with an international, Christian, postsecondary, accreditor that is recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). After much prayer, consideration and consultation, Dr. Richardson chose to seek accreditation from The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). ABHE is comprised of over 150 Christian higher education institutions, which represent over 65,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
In 2015, after much hard work to meet ABHE qualifications, Carver was granted applicant status with The Association for Biblical Higher Education at their Annual Spring Meeting. In addition, Carver also became a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (EFCA), ensuring that the institution’s financial practices meet the highest standards.
In 2017, Dr. Richardson and his team made the decision to integrate all academic, admissions, library, student information, assessment and development information systems into one internet-based, managed system. CampusSIS (now OasisSIS) was the system chosen by Dr. Richardson and his team.
In 2018, Carver moved to 8524 Blue Ridge Blvd. along with Grace Baptist Church, our ministry partner. This location has provided Carver with additional space, access to a gymnasium, and better community exposure.
In 2020, Carver was granted pre-accreditation (Candidate) status with The Association for Biblical Higher Education at their Annual Spring Meeting. As a result, Carver is now recognized by USDE and CHEA. The School continues to have a growing impact in our multi-ethnic community by providing biblically-trained leadership through our graduates.