James Song, Ph.D. founded the International Evangelical Association in 1983 with the purpose of furthering international evangelism and world missions through Christian education as emphasized in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:18-20.
In June 1986, Midwest University was founded with Dr. Song as its first president. Midwest University (formerly Midwest College and Theological Seminary) began offering academic programs designed to equip persons called by Christ to serve in churches, on missions, at Christian universities, as well as through both public and private organizations.
Midwest University’s first building was erected in 1989 at 8909 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights, Illinois. With this momentous beginning, Midwest University began training pastors, evangelists, missionaries, church music leaders, counselors, and other church workers for Christian ministries at home and abroad. Since October 1990, Midwest has operated in the state of Missouri as an exempt, non-profit, religious, degree-granting institution offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. By 1992, Midwest achieved associate status with the Transnational Association of Christian Schools (TRACS).
Midwest recognized from the outset that most students wanting to complete a ministry-related education are unable to leave their churches, jobs, or families. In response to this need, Midwest developed distance education programs offering ministry training. Several distance education and residential seminar courses are available today at the graduate level.
In September 1993, Midwest acquired 17 acres in Wentzville, Missouri. By 1995, the first building, which included classrooms, a dining room, and an auditorium, was erected. The next year, faculty apartments were built. Later, in 1999, Paul H. Kim, Ph.D. donated the down payment for the school residence hall.
In 2000, Midwest University achieved accredited status from TRACS for their undergraduate degree programs. This achievement is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and allows institutions to offer degrees through the U.S. Department of Education's Title IV Federal Student Aid program and the Montgomery GI Educational Benefits program. By 2002, Midwest became a member of the Federation of Christian Schools in Korea.
To support the growing institution, in November 2003, Midwest broke ground for the Dr. Jin Kyung Chung World Mission Center to house a large auditorium, classrooms, administrative offices, and a computer lab. In addition, the next year, Midwest erected the Mission Center.
Midwest's graduate and doctoral programs were accredited by TRACS in 2004. By April 2005, Midwest was granted accreditation for its baccalaureate program with concentrations in Education, Biblical Studies, and Church Music. To reflect the reorganization of the institution and new electives in graduate-level education, TRACS approved Midwest’s name change from Midwest College to Midwest University.
In 2006, the institution was accredited for its Doctor of Ministry in Social Work and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programs. Also during 2006, in keeping with its mission of developing mutual exchange and understanding among nations, Midwest was approved to participate in the U.S. Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program receiving J-1 scholars.Additionally, the Master of Arts with an emphasis in Athletic Mission was designed to help athletes become involved in missions using their personal gifts and skills. This program especially welcomes athletes in martial arts, a sport which originated in the East and has grown in popularity around the world. The training offered by this program encourages an alternative method of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as part of a professional mission.
On November 3, 2009, Midwest University was granted reaffirmation by TRACS. On October 29, 2010, Midwest University's Board of Trustees requested that the TRACS Accreditation Commission withdraw its recognition of Midwest University. TRACS Accreditation Commission honored this request which was followed by the institution being granted applicant status by The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) on November 8, 2011.
On June 20, 2012, Midwest University Graduate School of Theology became an Associate Member with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). On February 12, 2013, Midwest University was approved for Candidate status by ABHE. Then on February 18, 2015, Midwest University was approved as an Accredited Member by ABHE. On November 6, 2015, Midwest University was approved for its Master of Business Administration (MBA) program by ABHE.
On December 17, 2015, Midwest University was approved by the U.S. Department of State to be a sponsor of the Exchange Visitor Program, which authorizes Midwest to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019) to selected research scholars, professors, and students for their J-1 visa applications.
In 2017, Midwest University’s Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management, Master of Arts in Gifted Education, MBA in Public Policy/Administration, Doctor of Leadership in Brain/Gifted Education, and Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership were all approved by ABHE. In early 2018, ABHE approved Midwest University to offer a Doctor of Musical Arts program. On July 12, 2019, ABHE approved Midwest University to offer aPh.D in Counseling Psychology program.