The BGAV Ministry Equipping Network is designed for pastors, ministers, and lay leaders to have access to single courses in a specific ministry area, or to be able to complete a comprehensive program that results in a Ministry Certification. The Ministry Equipping Network provides interactive, online courses to give participants the benefit of logging in from their locations while interacting with the instructor and fellow participants. Please note: a stable internet connection with both audio and video capability (microphone and webcam) is required. Additionally, instructors will be available for in-person training for churches or associations that want to schedule a training day in their area.
The BGAV Ministry Equipping Network will offer courses in Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Family Ministry.
Certification in Children’s Ministry is ideal for those already serving in the local church in ministry to children and families and for seminary grads who want to specialize in children’s ministry.
Certification in Youth Ministry is designed for those involved in ministry to youth and their families, as well as lay leaders and seminary graduates who desire to disciple teens.
Certification in Family Ministry is designed for pastors and lay leaders who desire to build a ministry strategy that intentionally aligns age-related discipleship ministries in order to coordinate ministry to the entire family.
Participants may take a single course or enroll in a Certification program. If, after taking individual courses, the participant decides to pursue certification, he/she must complete the assigned pre/post work for those courses and pay the additional costs of certification.
Certification in Children or Youth Ministry: 8 courses @ $150/course = $1,200
Certification in Family Ministry: 10 courses @ $150/course = $1,500
Single Course: $125/course
- Courses will be offered via the online interface Zoom. After registering for a course, the participant will be sent a link to log on to the course.
- A minimum of two participants is required for an online course to be offered.
- Registration for each course will close one week prior to the scheduled course date.
- Churches, Associations, or other groups may arrange for onsite training for a group of participants. All costs involved in travel including meals, hotel and honorarium for the instructor will be covered by the organization providing the onsite training.
BGAV Non-traditional Ministry Education Scholarships assist BGAV church leaders in accessing training and continuing education opportunities provided by the Baptist General Association of Virginia and its ministry partners. These scholarships are intended to assist non-traditional students, who are defined as: part-time students who are in non-degree programs of study with an emphasis in continuing education for ministry in the local church. Clergy and lay leaders who have a financial need and are active members of a cooperating church of the BGAV may apply for a scholarship for up to one-third the cost of an educational offering sponsored by the BGAV or a ministry partner. Click here for more information.
Stephanie Van Leeuwen serves as the Director of Children & Family Ministry at Freemason Street Baptist Church (where she and her family have attended for over 10 years). She served her community as a 4th and 5th grade inclusion teacher and as an adjunct in Reading Education at Old Dominion University (ODU). In the church, she has served as Deacon Chair and Children’s Committee Chair.
Stephanie heard a call to Children’s Ministry and completed her Certification in Children’s Ministry through the Baptist General Association of Virginia. She has her Masters in Elementary Education from Virginia Tech and a Certification as a Reading Specialist from ODU.
Lora Gravatt is the Pastor for Family Life at Columbia Baptist in Falls Church, VA. She is responsible for leading all ministries related to children (birth through college age) and their families which includes supervising the Family Life Ministry team consisting of 9 ministers/directors, 70 staff teachers, over 300 volunteer leaders and teachers who serve 700 children and students weekly. As the ministry architect, she has led her team to create and implement such initiatives as Project 78, Waypoints, Parent Equipping, MOPS and the Church+Home Partnership. Additionally, she has championed the reimagining of how church and weekday preschool center collaborate to minister to young families as part of the overall Church+Home Partnership; a philosophy that is now being considered for a Multi-siting strategy.
Lora earned a Master of Divinity from The John Leland Center for Theological Studies. Lora and her husband, Carlton, have been married for 30 years with now four grown children: Brittany (26), Christian and his wife, Victoria (both 24), and Brett (21). Lora enjoys gardening, dinners on the patio, reading and traveling.
Kim Eskridge currently serves as Pastor for Children and Families and Pastor for Women at First Baptist Church of Alexandria. Before being called to full-time ministry, Kim taught kindergarten and sixth grade in Fairfax County Public Schools. From 2003–2006, Kim served as the Director of the Weekday Preschool Ministry at First Baptist Church. She is a 1986 graduate of Radford University with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Old Dominion University in 2002, completed her Certification in Children’s Ministry through the Virginia Baptist Mission Board in 2009, and graduated with a Masters in Christian Leadership from the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in 2015. God has given Kim a passion for helping children to connect to Christ, supporting parents in their roles as Christ-followers and as the faith mentors of their children, and encouraging those who are called to lead in ministry to children and families.
Dr. Bryan Jones serves as the Associate Executive Director of the NorthStar Church Network, an association of 170 churches. He is also the Director of Ministry Rotations at the John Leland Theological Seminary. He has been a pastor and teacher for over 20 years and loves engaging teachers to help them become better equipped to share the Bible with their students.
Bryan received his B.S. in Business Administration from George Mason University, his Master of Divinity in Christian Education and his Doctorate of Education in Leadership from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is currently working on a second Master’s Degree, a Master of Arts in Human Services and Counseling with a focus on Life Coaching through Liberty University. Bryan and his wife, Toni, live in the Alexandria area with their three children. They are members of First Baptist Church of Alexandria.
Rev. Dr. Timothy D. Lipp currently serves as Associate Pastor for Youth and Children at Smithfield Baptist Church in Smithfield, VA. Before being called to Smithfield Baptist Church he served as Associate Pastor of Students at First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, NC from 2002-2005. From 2000–2002, Tim served as the Youth Pastor at Lake Forest Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC. He is a 2000 graduate of The University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. He earned his Masters of Divinity Degree in Pastoral Leadership from Campbell University Divinity School in 2004, and graduated with a Doctorate of Ministry Degree in Age Group Ministries from Campbell University Divinity School in 2015. Tim has served on various committees and boards for Virginia Baptist and currently serves on the Educational Scholarships Committee and as the Youth Council Chair of the Blackwater Baptist Association. He enjoys theological reflection and discussion of how God is moving in the midst of students’ lives.
Danny Quirin has served in youth ministry in some form or fashion since 1984. He served as the minister of youth at Bonsack Baptist Church in Roanoke for 21 years and has recently transitioned into the role of Associate Pastor at Bonsack. In 2016 he began serving as the youth minister in residence for the Baptist General Association of Virginia. Danny is passionate about ministry with teens and enjoys speaking, leading conferences, in Virginia, North Carolina and surrounding areas as well as leading youth training conferences in Austria, Italy and Romania.