4 Vital Factors in Modern Pastoral Training

Estaban Garcia is a June 2019 M.Div. graduate of Faith Bible Seminary. His testimony highlights 4 areas that Faith Bible Seminary believes must be distinctives in training men for pastoral leadership.

“My Preparation for Pastoral Ministry”: Esteban Garcia’s Story

Faith Bible Seminary has played an integral role in my preparation for future ministry. This is particularly evident in four areas that make FBS a unique place for training for ministry. 

Pastoral Training Emphasis #1: Focus on the Local Church 

In the summer of 2012, the Lord gave me a passion to pursue full-time ministry, particularly in reaching the lost in places where the gospel has not been preached. Back then, I had no plan or trajectory for accomplishing that purpose.

Thankfully, my church and my senior pastor at Bloomington Bible Church helped to steer much of my youthful zeal, pride, and naivety, into productive work in the ministry of the church. Through my involvement at the church, I saw the central place of the church in the display of God’s glory—especially as it relates to missions. I realized that I needed further training if I wanted to be faithful to God’s call on my life. Whatever ministry God called me to, I wanted it to be focused on God’s church.

This is where Faith Bible Seminary came in. My pastor, Josh Knipp, was a graduate from the first cohort of FBS and encouraged me to apply. Thanks to Faith Bible Seminary’s emphasis to provide training to men as they serve in their local churches, I was able to attend seminary full-time while remaining at my local church that I had grown to love. I got the opportunity to work on staff at my local church, gaining valuable ministry experience. My church was able to disciple me in my steps forward and help me grow in maturity.

Pastoral Training Emphasis #2: Practical Preparation for Ministry 

FBS was instrumental in my preparation for future ministry. Before seminary, there was much growth that I still had to do. The main way in which I became better prepared for whatever God may have for my future came through my internship at my church. My church and elders spent countless hours pouring into me, training me in maturity, in order that I would know how to care for God’s church.

Through my internship at Bloomington Bible Church, I grew in my capacity to disciple, lead, and teach. I had several opportunities to learn about church life and see the joys and difficulties of ministry first-hand. FBS prepared me for future ministry because it allowed me to gain three years of ministry experience in the context of my local church.

Pastoral Training Emphasis #3: Training in God’s Word 

Through the teaching I received at FBS, I am better equipped to be faithful to God’s Word in my ministry. With the pressures of society to abandon and reject God’s authority, I am thankful for the emphases at FBS that I received as I sat in the classroom. Through my coursework, I have grown in my ability to understand, teach, and apply God’s Word—both in my own life and in the lives of those God gives me the opportunity to shepherd. FBS does this through emphasizing the biblical languages, the sufficiency of Scriptures, and sound theology and exegesis. I have grown much in my capacity to handle God’s Word accurately, and though I still have much to learn, FBS provided me a solid foundation for future growth and study.

It has been a joy and a privilege to study and grow through Faith Bible Seminary over the last three years. I thank God for how he equipped me through my internship and coursework. My prayer is that Faith Bible Seminary would continue in its commitment to training men in sound doctrine in order that God may be glorified in all the world. If God grants me the privilege to serve him through international church planting, I will be more equipped to be faithful, with God’s help, thanks to my training at FBS.

Pastoral Training Emphasis #4: Debt-Free Education

The other way FBS prepared me for ministry is by helping me to be financially prepared for ministry right after seminary. FBS is committed to tackling the high costs of attending seminary, and therefore provide high-quality training at an affordable cost.

This reality allowed me to attend seminary in this season of life, and I am extremely thankful that I can graduate debt-free and focus on my future ministry without financial hindrance from seminary. Because of Faith’s commitment to equipping men, I am better prepared to do full-time ministry upon graduation.

Join the Conversation 

What do you think the most vital areas are for training pastors for ministry today?

Bob KellemenBob Kellemen
Bob Kellemen, Th.M., Ph.D.: Dr. Kellemen is VP of Strategic Development and Academic Dean at Faith Bible Seminary in Lafayette, Indiana. Bob is also the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries through which he speaks, writes, and consults on biblical counseling and Christian living. Dr. Kellemen served as the founding Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. For seventeen years, Bob was the founding Chairman of and Professor in the MA in Christian Counseling and Discipleship department at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD. Bob has pastored four churches and equipped biblical counselors in each church. Bob and his wife, Shirley, have been married for thirty-eight years; they have two adult children, Josh and Marie, one daughter-in-law, Andi, and three granddaughters. Dr. Kellemen is the author of eighteen books including Equipping Counselors for Your Church, Gospel-Centered Counseling, and Gospel Conversations.