Pastors long to do ministry better. In my years of serving as GARBC national representative, I have repeatedly found that pastors and ministry leaders spend time and finances to increase their ministry effectiveness. They pursue reading, share ideas with peers, attend conferences, and even enroll in advanced studies in a seminary continuing education program to gain new insights. This same desire has pushed me to improve my professional skills since my earliest days in the Lord’s service.
Over the last three years, my longing to connect ministry leaders within the association for the betterment of ministry has been my motive for developing an online training approach. In-house ministry colleagues, an experienced professor in distance learning, participants in online learning groups, and my own research and experimentation have contributed to the formation of this approach. At the June GARBC Conference, nearly 100 pastors responded to a survey indicating that they were very interested in these interactive online learning opportunities. I am convinced that ministry leaders will find the online environment to be a highly viable and useful means of personal improvement and mutual support.
Pastor Dennis Wilkening recently pulled over and plugged into a meeting with seven other pastors around the country, making the most of his trip back to First Baptist Church, Colville, Wash.
“One of the benefits of using wireless technology is not being tied to my church or home office,” Dennis says. “If I have a hospital visit in Spokane (an hour and a half from the office), I don’t have to miss my meeting. I can arrange to take my laptop and connect to the meeting after the visit while sitting in the waiting room.
“The discussion groups have been a real source of encouragement. First, they exposed me to pastors with different ministry experiences and different frames of reference for discussions. This helped me see a more well- rounded solution to ministry issues we discussed. Second, I enjoyed the fellowship with pastors from around the country. I currently am the only pastor on staff at a growing church in Washington, and we are quite a distance from other GARBC churches. Our time together, face-to-face, was something I looked forward to every week. Third, I appreciated that the leadership of the GARBC, specifically John Greening, was willing to take time each week to strengthen local pastors by making this opportunity available.”
Introducing 5 Components of the Regular Baptist Web Community
Cohort. A discussion group addressing a variety of current topics and challenges that are relevant to participants’ particular ministries. Group members learn from others’ experiences and provide encouragement and support. Cohort is limited to 16 participants.
“It is great to interact with men who have or are dealing with similar challenges. Getting information from men of similar theology and ecclesiology but from a wide range of communities, church sizes, ages, and experience gives depth and color to the ministry areas discussed.” —Jon Nicholson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Great Valley, N.Y.
Learning Lab. Learning centered on a designated ministry topic using trainer-facilitated instruction, discussion, problem solving, experimentation, and review. The lab will occur in four to eight sessions per topic. Size is limited to eight participants to optimize a high level of interaction and a close working relationship among trainer and learners.
Seminar. Training to help you and your church move people toward spiritual maturity. BuildUP Seminars are available for church leadership, church education leaders and volunteers, youth ministers, Sunday School teachers, and parents. Sessions and group size varies.
“The practical ideas in the seminar addressed real needs in our ministry. I enjoyed the relaxed teaching approach—I didn’t feel intimidated.” —Seminar attendee from New York
- Read about churches that have hosted BuildUP Seminars
Webinar. Specialized learning on a designated ministry-related topic, presented by a well-versed instructor. The webinar takes place in a single session with minimal interaction. Group size is unlimited.
Consultation. Veteran ministry leaders guide church leadership teams in finding solutions and achieving positive outcomes in areas including pastoral counsel, church finance and business, pastoral search, strategic planning, pastor-deacon relationships, conflict resolution, revitalization, and educational strategies.
“As in all areas of the community, the economy has taken its toll on the finances of the church. . . . The encouragement and discussions [of the consultation] helped us reenergize, reorganize, and recommit ourselves to the Lord ’s Great Commission.” —Raymond Leonard, pastor of Covington Bible Baptist Church, Oxford, Ga.
The dream of building an online learning environment is taking a major step forward with the launch of the Regular Baptist Web Community. Its purpose is to provide an online platform to connect individuals within the association, foster interaction in a positive atmosphere, and deliver personalized training intended to enhance the ministry competencies of pastors, leaders, and church members who are serving in church-based ministries.
Regular Baptist Web Community is intended to complement and not compete with a Bible college and seminary education. The concept of the Regular Baptist Web Community can be envisioned in a pyramid. The base is the local church, which is the God-designed platform for ministry. Church leaders utilize a variety of resources to be equipped for ministry—training materials, conferences and seminars, Bible colleges, and seminaries. Each layer of equipping plays a vital role. When the various layers function in collaboration, an effective instructional model is created that yields highly skilled personnel who share a common vision and doctrinal commitment for doing ministry.
The online platform opens vast possibilities to capitalize on the strengths of our great association in a cost-effective and ubiquitous way. Within the GARBC network of pastors, ministry leaders, professors, and professionals, competencies exist in education, evangelism, preaching, theology, worship, technology, writing, graphic design, cross-cultural communication, business administration/operations, etc., which can be shared for ministry enhancement.
Technology allows us to be good stewards of the gifts and talents the Lord has graciously given by exponentially sharing them. I encourage you to make the most of your ministry days. Start by perusing the following online learning venues and then enroll in the one that best meets your ministry needs. Together we can learn more!
2013 Regular Baptist Web Community Lineup
“Turning Guests into Family” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Tuesdays: 1/15, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5; 12 ET/11 CT/10 MT/9 PT
Instructor: Mark Neal
“Evangelism Strategies for Reaching People Far from God” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Thursdays: 1/17, 1/24, 1/31, 2/07; 11 ET/10 CT/9 MT/8 PT
Instructor: Scott Bixby
“Preaching That Connects” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Tuesdays: 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/05; 11ET/10 CT/9 MT/8 PT
Instructor: Rich Van Heukelum
“Preaching and Teaching Old Testament Narratives” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Tuesdays: 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/05; 2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT
Instructor: Nigel Black
“Building a Church Counseling Ministry without Killing the Pastor” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Tuesdays: 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/02; 11 ET/10 CT/9 MT/8 PT
Instructor: Sue Nicewander
“The Business Side of Ministry” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Thursdays: 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4; 11 ET/10 CT/9 MT/8 PT
Instructor: Michael Nolan
“Teaching to Impact Adult Learners” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Tuesdays: 4/16, 4/23, 4/30, and 5/7; 11 ET/10 CT/9 MT/8 PT
Instructor: Alex Bauman
“The Sacred Art of Crafting a Message” Learning Lab $29.99 $19.79
Thursdays: 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9; 11 ET/10 CT/9 MT/8 PT
Instructor: Scott Poling
“Leading a Revitalized, thriving Church” Webinar FREE
Thursday: 2/14; 11ET/10 CT/9 MT/8PT
Instructor: Dr. Howard Bixby
Church Planters’ Cohort FREE
Thursdays: 1/10, 2/14, 3/14, 4/11, 5/09; 2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT
Facilitator: Scott Greening
Pastors’ Cohort FREE
Thursdays: 1/17, 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21; 2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT
Facilitator: John Greening
Pastors’ and Wives’ Cohort FREE
Thursdays: 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11; 2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT
Facilitators: John and Daria Greening
Be sure to get in on these incredible opportunities! Participation in the Regular Baptist Web Community is as easy as clicking a link from the computer in your office or home. Some participants have even joined in from their cars while traveling. You will share in learning with other peers in ministry from across the country and around the globe. In many of the groups, you will be able to talk with each other and even see each other in real-time learning sessions. Asynchronous learning opportunities will also be provided, enabling you to take part no matter what time of day or night by typing your comments and questions in a chat room.
Sign up today to get involved at this limited introductory price of 33 percent off!
For course descriptions and instructor bios, see www.RBwebcommunity.org.
John Greening is national representative of the GARBC.