Grace Bible Church of Conway, Arkansas, where I am privileged to pastor, is starting a church based seminary called Grace Bible Institute of Pastoral Studies. See here.
This is truly amazing. Planting the church over fifteen years ago in my living room, I never thought this would be something God had in store for us. We are thanking God for this great opportunity.
In some ways, the seminary has been forced on us. With more and more young men joining our church with a desire to minister and preach the Word, our responsibility to train them became more and more evident. I have felt for some time now that it is the local church’s responsibility to equip the next generations of pastors. 2 Tim. 2:2 teaches us that pastors are responsible to train pastors. After starting a class that would meet once a month, more pastoral students have been sent to us by God. With such a reservoir of men, and with God supernaturally supplying the financial resources, it became clear to us that we needed to start a more robust training program.
Our objective is to equip, ordain, and send out the next generation of church leaders by providing faithful men with a doctrinal education and pastoral experience within the context, oversight, and accountability of our local church. We not only desire to offer a rigorous education in the classroom, but supply practical, real-life experience under the mentorship of our pastors.
So we created a degree program that is based on four avenues of study. First, we are offering four module courses a year where we will bring in some of the leading professors in America. Over an extended weekend, our students will be able to earn 3 credit hours in a classroom setting. Second, we will provide four residential classes a year that are taught by the elders of the church—including myself. Third, we will require six credit hours of self study a year that will be guided and overseen by the Institute’s staff. Fourth, preaching and counseling practicums will be required throughout the program.
If you want to view our course list, check here.
Dr. Bob Gonzales taught our first module on the Doctrine of the Word, and Dr. Tom Nettles is scheduled to come and teach Baptist Church History next week. For more information on this, see here.
We desire to train pastors who self-sacrificially care for God’s sheep.
Though we are not currently accredited, our goal is to become affiliated and then accredited with the Association of Reformed Theological Seminaries.
If you would like to help us, we are seeking to build a robust theological library and would appreciate book donations. We are in the mist of the building construction of our new church and seminary facilities, and with limited wall space, we plan to build a 25 by 16 foot bookshelf with a spiral staircase and catwalk at the 8 foot mark. So, we need books.
Most importantly, we could use your prayers as our goal is not to make a great name for ourselves, but to help ordain and send out laborers into the harvest.