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Launched in 1986 with 40 students, Angelus Bible Institute (ABI), located in the heart of Los Angeles on the campus of Foursquare’s renowned Angelus Temple, has since graduated close to 900 students and now boasts many extension sites across the U.S. and in several other nations.

Meeting in the historical L.I.F.E. Bible College building adjacent to Angelus Temple, the bilingual training institute, with courses conducted in both English and Spanish, was co-founded by two well-respected and beloved Foursquare ministers: Harold Helms, who served as ABI’s first president, and Raymundo Diaz, who was the first dean and now serves as chancellor. The institute had long been a vision of Rolf K. McPherson, who served as the president of The Foursquare Church following the death of his mother, Foursquare founder Aimee Semple McPherson.

Designed to prepare ministers and missionaries for service, as well as to instruct any who wish to deepen their biblical knowledge, ABI’s three-year program consists of 30 subjects that cover in-depth topics such as hermeneutics, systematic theology, Christian education, church administration, church history, Hebrew and Greek, discipleship and evangelism, and more. When a student graduates, he or she receives a ministerial diploma and qualifies for an international Foursquare license upon appointment to a ministry assignment.

“If we want to cause an impact in our society, we must try our best to fulfill the Great Commission,” Mario Barahona, ABI president, told “The best way to fulfill this commandment is to be involved in the shaping of the next generation of leaders, which is the God-given call placed on Angelus Bible Institute.”

That call has caused ABI to multiply itself in 12 additional extension sites in California, North Carolina and Florida. There are several international extensions as well, in Mexico, Argentina and San Salvador. In September 2010, they plan to open sites in Tampa, Fla., and Monterey, Mexico.

“Angelus Bible Institute began with a mission—to send laborers to the harvest—and it is what we value and continue to do,” says the school’s academic dean, Jessica Ramirez. “The Great Commission is at the heart of our efforts, and it is what we instill in our students.”

Ted Vail, Foursquare’s director of Urban and Multicultural Ministries, echoes this sentiment.

“ABI is one of the most impacting training institutes in both Spanish and English,” Ted asserts. “It has made education more accessible to bivocational ministers and working people. The expansion of ABI in the U.S. and around the world is thrilling, as it continues to produce so many quality Christian leaders.”

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is a credentialed minister and freelance editor living in Sacramento, Calif.