About the AMI.
Affirm. Encourage. EQUIP.
Appalachian Ministry Institute
The Appalachian Ministry Institute of Tri-State Bible College functions as a hub to affirm, encourage, and equip those engaged in Appalachian ministry to keep the glory of God in clear view.
The Word of God inspires us to keep God’s glory in clear view for and from Appalachia:
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” -Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. -Mark 1:2-4 ESV
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” -Luke 3:4-6 ESV
Isaiah’s prophecy found fulfillment in the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. John’s baptism prepared the way for the Lord by removing obstacles in minds and hearts through repentance so that people could see Jesus in clear view. At the Appalachian Ministry Institute, we love the hills and valleys that mark our region’s landscape with beauty and those who call this place home. However, while Appalachia has a residue of religion, it has become an irreligious place in need of the gospel mission. According to 2010 data from the ARDA, Evangelical Protestantism makes up only 19% of our north-central Appalachian region population. Mainline Protestantism (9%) and Roman Catholicism (2%) have been affected by the same plateauing and decline. Pew Research Center recently released “Modeling the Future of Religion in America,” which projects that religiously unaffiliated Americans will likely surpass Christians in the population by 2070. In our tri-state region of Appalachia, this is already true. The Appalachian Ministry Institute of TSBC is committed to Christ’s great commission work right here, right now.
Context for Our Ministry
Tri-State Bible College is located in north central Appalachia in South Point, Ohio. Appalachia is made up of 423 counties across 13 states and spans 206,000 square miles, from southern New York to northern Mississippi.
The Region’s 26 million residents live in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and all of West Virginia.
Our goal at Tri-State Bible College is to equip those called by God to serve the residents who live within this region of the United States, many of whom face deep poverty, both economically and spiritually.
The Institute offers several resources to address the needs of this region:
- The Level Paths podcast of the Appalachian Ministry Institute is hosted by Rex J. Howe, President of Tri-State Bible College, and Dr. J. Matt Shamblin, Appalachian Research Fellow at Tri-State Bible College.
- The Appalachian Ministry Conference on April 25, 2023 [EVENT LINK]
- Scholarships for students in the North Central and Central Appalachian Regions
- Appalachian Ministry Certification
- Appalachian Ministry B. A. Minor
To get involved in supporting the Appalachian Ministry Institute, please fill out the following form:
Questions About AMI?
Did you know…
Did you know that a 2010 study was completed by the KY Baptist Convention on “Lostness Indicators for Kentucky” based upon the “Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States”?
The Eastern Kentucky District counties nearest TSBC are made up of Lewis, Greenup, Boyd, Carter, Rowan, Elliott, Lawrence, and Morgan Counties.
The first summary of the study showed the % of Adherents among the Population. “Adherents” were defined as “all members, including full members, their children, and the estimated number of other participants who are not considered members.”
The summary concluded that “In Kentucky, 51.6% of the total population is considered adherents to any religion.” However, the % of seven of the counties nearest TSBC scored (far) below this KY statewide percentage:
Lewis – 28% • Greenup – 41.9% • Boyd – 59.6% • Carter – 26.6% • Rowan – 19.9% • Elliott – 5.1% • Lawrence – 30.6% • Morgan – 21.3%
The WV Social Survey in 2021 states that 78.8% identify as Christian in WV; however, only 27.1% attend a religious service weekly or more than once a week. Only 7.2% attend 1–3 times per month. Combining those two figures shows that only 34.3% attend a religious service at least once a month.
Of the 88 counties in Ohio, 32 of them are located in Appalachia. Lawrence, Scioto, Jackson, and Gallia are in the western region of the Ohio Appalachian counties and closest to TSBC. According to The Association of Religion Data Archives, these four nearby counties are ranked 69th (Jackson), 74th (Gallia), 81st (Scioto), and 84th (Lawrence).
God has providentially placed TSBC for this missional opportunity. Our region needs the gospel. Please pray for us as we continue to investigate the state of the church in north central Appalachia. Our vision to see men and women “fulfill their ministries” and to complete the gospel work remaining in our region is as relevant as ever. TSBC will reach this vision by offering local churches access to believing, biblical training for the glory of God.
Together, we can complete the great commission of Christ in Appalachia and beyond.
Level Paths Podcast
- Introducing Christian Ministry in Appalachia: Part 1
- Introducing Christian Ministry in Appalachia: Part 2
- Introducing Christian Ministry in Appalachia: Part 3
- Affirming Persevering Ministry in Tough Times & Places
- C(R)T in Appalachia with Dr. Mark Phillips
- Biblical Counseling in Appalachia with Pastor Brad Brandt
- Church Revitalization in Appalachia (Part 1)
- Church Revitalization in Appalachia (Part 2)
- Called to Shepherd & Love in Appalachia
- Roots of Appalachian Christianity with Elder John Sparks
- State of the Church in Appalachia (Part 1)
- State of the Church in Appalachia (Part 2)
- Prayer and Revival in the Rural Church
- Strategic Planning for Level Paths in Appalachia
- Church Planting in Appalachia
- Adoption in Appalachia
- Mental Health in a Post-COVID Appalachia
- Rural Renaissance & Mission in Appalachia
- Ministry Together in Appalachia
- Pastoral Searches in Appalachia
- The Bible in Appalachia
- Hope for Churches in Appalachia
- Biblical Illiteracy in Appalachia
- When Ministry Hurts in Appalachia
- Adaptive Leadership in Appalachia
- Evangelism in Appalachia
- The Nazarene Church in Appalachia
- Christmas in Appalachia