Churches Raising Up Pastors – Lakeview Baptist Church

Churches Raising Up Pastors – Lakeview Baptist Church
9Marks wants to see more churches and pastors taking responsibility for raising up the next generation of pastors. To help our readers catch a vision for what that might look like, we asked several organizations closely tied to one or several local churches how they fulfill this mission. With one exception, each of the following organization answers the same 18 questions.

Here are Lakeview Baptist Church’s answers (submitted by Al Jackson). Lakeview Baptist Church is located in Auburn, Alabama.

  1. Organization name
    Lakeview Baptist Church.
  2. Year began
  3. What’s the relationship between the organization and a local church?
    The organization is the local church.
  4. How many students per semester or year?
    Six to ten.
  5. What’s the length of the program?
    Three years.
  6. Does the program cost? How much?
    Around $2100 per semester, which can be raised by support. All school books are provided by the church.
  7. Is it full time? Are students allowed/required to be doing something else (work, study) at the same time?
    Interns work full time on staff while pursuing the master of divinity degree at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  8. Is housing made available for students? Cost?
  9. What are the program’s goals?
    Produce gospel ministers characterized by these nineteen attributes: spiritually alive and growing, balanced and disciplined lifestyle, biblically knowledgeable, theologically grounded, historically informed, competent to lead worship, homiletically prepared, evangelistically active, missions minded, competent to lead, people oriented, administratively competent, able to equip others for ministry, christian education, congregational care, stewardship motivator, lifelong student, denominationally knowledgeable, culturally aware.
  10. What’s involved in the application process?
    Each prospective intern fills out a lengthy questionnaire prior to being interviewed by the personnel committee and the pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church. Next, the names of the potential interns are reviewed by the fellowship of deacons. If they concur, the individuals are voted upon by the church in business session. Therefore, interns are regarded as staff members of the church subject to congregational vote. In addition, the intern must be accepted as a master of divinity student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rejection on the part of either the church or the seminary will preclude participation in this internship.
  11. Can you give a brief overview of how the program works from the student’s standpoint?
  12. What responsibilities does the student have in a typical week?
    The Lakeview interns are involved in every facet of the life of our church. They participate in staff meetings, deacons meetings, selected committee meetings. They are mentored each semester by two different people on our staff, which would involve personal instruction on the part of the staff member. The internship also involves hands-on ministry in the particular area in which they are serving. In addition, they are expected to be involved every week in personal evangelism, and they give a report in writing and orally at staff meetings on Tuesdays. All of this is in addition to carrying a full time academic load as students of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  13. Any further opportunities or responsibilities for the student?
    After their first year on staff, our interns spend the summer in church planting with the North American Mission Board. After the second year, they spend a summer overseas serving with the International Mission Board.
  14. How many pastors are involved, how are they involved, and what’s the cost on their time?
    All of our pastors are involved in mentoring these interns, but not all the time. In any given semester a pastor may have one or two interns working under him, or he may not. As senior pastor, I am involved year round in mentoring these interns. My personal involvement is an extra six to ten hours per week.
  15. How many non-pastoral staff involved and what do they do?
    The pastor’s secretary handles most of the administrative oversight of this internship, especially as it relates to Southern Seminary. In addition, two ladies on our staff—our preschool director and our children’s director—are involved in the mentoring of our interns in their particular areas.
  16. What is this program good for accomplishing?
    The internship exposes future pastors, missionaries, and vocational church leaders to the inner workings of the life of Lakeview Baptist Church. They are able to see both the successes and the failures of a staff working together. Thereby, they are able to have a realistic picture of what their future ministry will entail
  17. What is it not good for accomplishing?
    One of the disappointments when we began this mentoring ministry twelve years ago is that, even with a church-based training for ministry, not everyone throws themselves into the program wholeheartedly. Therefore, they do not benefit to the degree that they could. A student has to have an inquisitive mind and a desire to learn. It’s hard to generate that from the outside. Also, this mentoring ministry is no guarantee that a person will be an effective pastor or church leader in the future. A few of our graduates have already dropped out of vocational ministry.
  18.  Where are your graduated students now? What are they doing?
    We have now graduated thirty men. Many of them are serving as pastors in the United States. Some are serving as church planters in the United States. Some are serving as staff ministers. Three are on their way to the mission field. One has finished a PhD at Southern and is now teaching at Boyce College. Two others are pursuing PhDs at Southern Seminary. Two have joined our church staff—one as our associate pastor for internationals and another as our associate pastor for administration.
Al Jackson

Al Jackson is the senior pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama.

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