As one of the original seven Unlimited Partnership students in New Orleans, I can see that God is using Unlimited Partnerships to greatly influence leaders and churches all across the nation. I joined Unlimited Partnerships as a seminary student with a very myopic view of ministry and the church. In Unlimited Partnerships, I was given an active staff role with major responsibility such as helping to set direction and vision for the church, implementing major structural changes in the church in the form of small group ministry, and the authority to start major evangelistic outreach events. UP helped me train to be a “big picture” leader. Looking back on where I’ve been, I believe that UP helped jump start my leadership potential by 10 years. I believe in UP and am excited to see where God is taking it!

Bobby Wood
Youth Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church

Unlimited Partnerships made all the difference in my seminary and church experience.

I was not your typical student, coming to seminary after a 27-year career in corporate America (with my last position being that of Information Systems Training Director for a firm in downtown Chicago, Illinois). While I had served my local church in the southern suburbs of Chicago since I was 18, I had to learn what it meant to make the transition from a volunteer to a minister on a church staff . . . from a suburb in the Midwest to the heart of an urban area in the southeastern corner of Louisiana . . . from a culture with which I had been raised to a new culture in which I was now being immersed. Though I had life experience on my side, I needed – and craved – a team with whom I could share the journey, become better equipped to minister and serve, and to share both victories and challenges. Unlimited Partnerships not only gave me this opportunity, but became a true family to me.

Unlimited Partnerships not only provides hands-on, real-life ministry opportunities and experience but builds a bridge allowing the student to take the theories, principles, and concepts learned in the classroom and put “hands and feet” to these entities as we learned how to apply them within a local church setting.

UP “brought life” to what we learned in the classroom. I believe this UP training will result not only in better equipped ministers, but also ministers who stay the course and ministers who know the difference between management and leadership — between persuasion and influence.

Karla L. McGehee
UP Alumnus, Minister of Education, FBC Belle Chasse, Adjunct Instructor
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Unlimited Partnerships has a two-pronged approach to strengthening our churches and training the next generation of leaders because they train students and strengthen churches. Before I went back to seminary to complete a Master’s degree in Christian Education, I pastored churches for 13 years. Yet, because of my passion for education, discipleship, administration, and outreach in the local church, I knew I had to go back to seminary to be prepared for what I felt God was calling me to do but had no idea how that would take shape or be completed in my life.

UP trains students! A professor introduced me to UP as a way  to gain practical experience because UP helps students do ministry. I was placed at First Baptist Church of Madisonville, Louisiana under Pastor Herman Gauthier. My time in UP helped me cement what God was doing in my life, and also gave the church another minister which they sorely needed. UP helped train me do what I knew God was calling me to do, and I am what I am today in part because of my association with UP.

UP helps strengthen churches! My church got another staff member that they wouldn’t have had if not for the ministry of UP.  This helped take some of the load off the pastor, a former evangelist who knew little about Sunday School growth, administration, or much of the day to day operations.  My position enabled him to focus on his strengths yet still have the other necessary church ministries for the congregation.

Joel Brister
Minister of Education/Administration, Indian Springs Baptist Church

While I have had a passion for Christ and children for some time, I first felt the Lord calling me into ministry about five years ago, and began taking courses at Dallas Baptist University in order to prepare myself for this calling. Approximately one year into my studies, I interviewed to be part of the first class of Unlimited Partnerships at DBU. The experience I had with UP and the connections I made were, and continue to be, vital to my ministry and professional performance.

I felt the utmost privilege to be one of only five students selected for the first group at DBU. Each month we had exemplary trainers pour their knowledge, wisdom and experience into our lives. Often times these monthly training sessions were conducted by the “best” of their particular fields. Additionally, the mentor/mentee relationships built during that time has provided lasting support in my current role. Staff ministry is tougher than I ever imagined, and I often find myself remembering and relying on the discussions of those monthly meetings.

Ultimately, the training provided by the UP program was irreplaceable and the value of the mentorship cannot be expressed enough.  As mentioned earlier, ministry is difficult and future ministers need support and a solid foundation in order to accomplish what God has in store for their future.  I am so very grateful that UP was part of the path God laid out for me.

Elisa Tiffee
Preschool Minister, First Baptist Richardson