2 Timothy 3:14 "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it."
You're preparing for ministry. We'd like to keep it real & help you as you do.
How did this come about?
We are a normative-sized church (around 115 members). We are in an older, established area of Kansas City with around 15,000 residents (Maple Park and Gracemor neighborhoods). There is a great need for evangelism. We don't have a big building, budget, or amazing programs. And there are nearly 40+ languages spoken in our church's backyard.
It seems a bit overwhelming....
In the Lord's grace, over the last several years, Tower View has seen spiritual health and vitality restored. We have amazing people! God has blessed us with a diverse, vibrant, and sacrificial congregation. We have seen many come to Christ! We have seen a rededication of our folks to the work of the mission of the area and the simple commands of Scripture, especially the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church.
We have seen a great unity in our church. We are excited about what God has for us in the days ahead (we celebrated 60 years in 2022). New bylaws, evangelism strategies, leadership structure, and building improvements are ahead in 2023.
We like to say: "We're the perfect church for imperfect people."
What does this mean for you?
Since 2015, we have been blessed to train and send out over 20 pastors, missionaries, and other Gospel workers all over the world.
God has brought the fruit. All praise to him.
On the heels of this, starting in August 2023, the church will provide a formal residency cohort to continue to equip and train future workers in the kingdom of God. This will be overseen by the pastoral staff and other leaders of the church who have over 60+ years of ministry experience (good, bad, and ugly!).
What is the purpose of the Barnabas Pastoral Bootcamp?
Like Barnabas to Paul, the Barnabas Pastoral Bootcamp desires to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:2, 3:14, etc. by training men as future pastors, elders, missionaries, church planters, and leaders who will be used of God in local churches for God's glory and the advancement of Christ's kingdom.
This is practically accomplished in an 18-month-ish cohort to include but not limited to:
- Real-life ministry training and opportunities...
- Shadowing the pastors of the church
- Monthly group collaboration through...
- Assigned readings on a variety ministry-related topics
- Reflective papers
- Group coaching
By the completion of your time, each resident will have grown in:
- The knowledge of God and his Word and its practice and application to life and ministry.
- Further development of or discovering of skills necessary to lead where God calls you.
- A deeper love for and appreciation of the local church and the people therein.
When and How Do I Apply?
Qualified men must:
- Be at least 18 years or older.
- Be a current member of OR pursuing membership at Tower View Baptist Church.
- Pass a basic background check.
- Complete the application process when offered.
All applicants will be updated through the process as to their status.
Is this paid?
The student is not paid for serving nor is the student asked to pay to be enrolled. The only cost for the student is materials and books.*
How long does it last?
- About 1.5 years or two academic years--August 2023 to late spring 2025.
- Appropriate breaks around the holidays and school closures.
Must I be in Bible college or seminary to participate?
No, it is not required to be in Bible college or seminary. It is a plus, but, again, not required.
If one is in seminary: Goal would be to work alongside formal biblical education like Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary or Spurgeon College, not replace it. The assignments will be similar to that of a classroom. Yet, the dynamics will be more directed toward the individual and group on all levels (spiritual, practical, experiential, etc.).
What's up with the name?
Yes, it is a mouthful, we know. And it may sound a little funny.
But great American preacher and pastor John Whitfield said, “Every minister should be a Boanerges, a son of thunder, as well as a Barnabas, a son of consolation."
Have you noticed how often Barnabas was used as a liaison man? Sent to investigate the Gentile mission in Antioch, sent to Jerusalem with the famine relief (Acts 11:30), sent on the first evangelistic tour, sent to represent Antioch at the council (Acts 15:2), sent by the council to communicate its findings (Acts 15:22, 24, 30). I imagine his character had a lot to do with the choice. He could get on with people. Firm and forthright when occasion required it, he was also loving and understanding. People would listen to a man like Barnabas.
Reality: We owe more to Barnabas than we often realize, Barnabas the son of encouragement. Where would Christianity have been without his marvelous gift for spotting and encouraging talent, for seeing the grace of God (and being glad!)? To him, under God, we owe the Gentile mission, and Mark, and even Paul.
Reality #2: We all need a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy, that is, someone to teach us, someone to encourage us, and someone to follow us.
Too many men enter the pastorate with "book smarts" and a passion to lead....And then go on to do untold damage through emotional flatness, relational inability, & a general failure in character. And since, as the old saying goes, "whatever a church's leaders are the church will over time become," these unqualified men reproduce themselves in their training and discipleship of others. And, frankly, we end up with whole cultures of hot-mess-ness.
Bottom-line: We must guard the training and shaping of our young people closely, making sure those charged with investing in them and working with them toward qualification are not simply interested in creating an army of theology-robots.
To begin with, we see this in Scripture. In the book of Acts, Paul, and Barnabas were sent out by the local church. Paul tells Timothy, the pastor at Ephesus, to entrust gospel truths to other faithful men who will teach others (2 Tim. 2:2). Jesus gives the church the keys of the kingdom, and he promises that the church will prevail (Matt. 16:18-20).
At no point does Jesus make the church’s victory contingent upon financially-viable and doctrinally-faithful seminaries (and we hope they are viable and faithful!).
We aren't opposed to seminaries. We actively work with our local one! Yet, they are unknown among Protestants before the 18th or 19th century.
We're simply saying that in the Bible, the local church—a community where people are known, their conversion is testified to, and their gifts are witnessed—is the appropriate place to make that kind of heavy statement about God’s gifting and calling in somebody’s life. Raising up leaders is part of the church’s commission.
In short, seminaries are great gifts of God to us to for transferring specific content-heavy information about language study, systematic theology, and the history of Christianity concerning which the average local church probably won’t have sufficient expertise. But we come alongside of them at the local level to reinforce biblical truths in practice.
It will be intense--but meaningful.
We're trying to accomplish what we call a “boot camp” in ecclesiology and practice: introducing men to a history of Christian reflection on what the Bible says about the church--and putting it into practice in various settings in a regular, normal church such as Tower View.
Today in North America, we tend to be very pragmatically-oriented. We have visible, immediate success in mind. Yet, when we begin talking with Christians who lived in previous ages and who lived elsewhere, we find centuries’ worth of reflection on what a church should be and do that doesn’t conform to leading a church by what’s immediately and outwardly successful.
So, we want to fundamentally affect men in their understanding of what a church should be, and teach them from the Word that God cares about things that they might not realize he cares about. Christians in the past have largely recognized this. In truth: ours is a comparatively recent amnesia—maybe the last century.
Thus, we pray we can fulfill this, in part, through our time together!