"World" magazine profiles composer David Canfield, instructor at ClearNote Pastors College...
(Tim; pic by Perry Reichanadter/Genesis Photos) The music critic of World magazine, Arsenio Orteza, just wrote a fine short profile of Dr. David Canfield, one of the elders here at Church of the Good Shepherd. Arsenio originally intended his piece to focus on David's life as a composer of classical music, but David endearingly hijacked the interview to talk about the real love of his life: ClearNote Pastors College where he serves as one of the instructors.
ClearNote Pastors College (CNPC) is a ministry of Church of the Good Shepherd under our umbrella organization, ClearNote Fellowship. In addition to CNPC, ClearNote Fellowship oversees our support of foreign mission work, the composition and recording of music by Good Shepherd Band, the curriculum, pamplets, and books we're hoping to produce; and the planting of churches by CNPC graduates.
Christ the Word in Toledo, Ohio--the congregation served by my brother, David--has a similar ministry called Reformed Evangelical Pastors College. As sister churches, we do the largest part of the administration and instruction at both colleges together. We have had great success using a Polycom videoconferencing system for virtual classroom instruction and our principals, Andrew Dionne at REPC and Stephen Baker here at CNPC, work closely together on curriculum and schedules.
It strikes me as a good-mannered sales pitch and expression of gratitude when, at the end of the flight, stewardesses thank travelers for choosing to fly with their airline. I particularly like one airline's wording that starts, "We know you have a choice of which airline to travel, and so we thank you for choosing..."
The elders, pastors, and other instructors of Reformed Evangelical Pastors College and ClearNote Pastors College know men have a choice concerning where and how to train for pastoral ministry and we are very grateful for the fourteen men so far who have attended our pastors colleges, seven of whom have now completed the three-year curriculum. Here at CNPC, we anticipate a full class starting their first year this coming Fall, some of whom are moving to Bloomington to attend. But there's still room for a few students both here and in Toledo. So why would I recommend REPC or CNPC over Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson or Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis?
Well, when we first started this work at Christ the Word and Church of the Good Shepherd, we put up several posts (here, here, and here) pointing out the need for change in the way men are prepared for the pastorate...
We remain convinced that the church needs to pull back from delegating to academic institutions which are largely disconnected from the church the training of her future shepherds.
To take just one example, the CNPC men are welcome at every elders meeting. Imagine how much they learn about developing unity among church leaders, dealing with sensitive pastoral issues, carrying out discipline, responding to criticism, prayer, reading financial reports, preparing an agenda, mediating conflict, apologizing for sinful words, moderating the meeting, and a host of other things as they observe session meetings. Normally, each meeting a significant amount of time is spent in executive session in order to discuss and act on confidential matters. But the rest of our business is handled with them watching. By my thinking, this alone is sufficient reason to attend a church-based pastors college rather than an academic institution—even one formally affiliated with a denomination.
Pastors colleges are not unique to our two churches. Men not inclined to move to Toledo or Bloomington would do well to consider other similar ministries including Bethlehem Institute under the aegis of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Sovereign Grace Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Ministries, and Greyfriars Hall of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho.
If you're interested in REPC in Toledo, you may contact Pastor Andrew Dionne at (419) 297-4453. Or, if it's CNPC here in Bloomington you're interested in, you may contact Pastor Stephen Baker at (812) 360-7457.
If you or your church are willing to support this work financially, we would be very grateful. We run tight ships not having a host of alumni or denominational connections to depend on. Please let us know if there are any questions you have or if you'd like to visit and check things out. Both colleges are 501c3 organizations with contributions fully deductible.
Would you please pray for us, and for the men we're training and their wives?