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BGAV Ministry Equipping Network

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 program that results in a Ministry Certificate. The Ministry Equipping Network provides interactive, online courses to give participants the benefit of logging in from their locations as well as 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, Family Ministry, and Pastoral Leadership.

  • The Certificate 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.
  • The Certificate 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.
  • The Certificate 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.
  • The Pastoral Leadership Certificate is designed for those providing pastoral leadership in a wide variety of ministry contexts.

Participants may take a single course or complete a certificate program. If, after taking individual courses, the participant decides to pursue a certificate, he/she must have received a passing grade for each course.

View upcoming courses:

Contact our office for more information on upcoming events.


Program fees:

Children’s Ministry Certificate: 8 courses @ $150/course = $1,200

Youth Ministry Certificate: 8 courses @ $150/course = $1,200

Family Ministry Certificate: 10 courses @ $150/course = $1,500

Pastoral Leadership Certificate: 10 Courses (4 @ $150/course and 6 @ $250/course) = $2100

Please note: · Courses will be offered via the online interface Zoom. After registering for a course, the participant will receive a link from the instructor that will enable him or her 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 and payment must be received by that 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.

Those wishing to pursue additional study may be interested in the Advanced Certificate of Ministry offered through our partnership with the George W. Truett Seminary Online Certificate Program.

Scholarship Assistance Available: 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, for at least the past year, 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, with a limit of 3 courses in any one session. Each month that BMEN courses are offered us considered a separate “session” and requires a new application. Click here for more information.

Truett Seminary Partnership

Students wishing to receive the Advanced Certificate of Ministry can take the following six courses offered online by Truett Seminary:

Orientation & formation

Biblical Interpretation

Survey of the Old Testament

Survey of the New Testament

Introduction to Theology

Introduction to Church History

For further information about Truett’s certificate program see www.baylor.edu/truett/certificate


Paige Carter has been working in the field of special education for over 25 years.  As a teacher of young children with disabilities, an autism specialist at the VCU Autism Center for Excellence and currently, an administrator of student support services with Spotsylvania County Public Schools.  She is also pursuing her PhD in Special Education and Disability Policy.

Most importantly, Paige has been an advocate for children and families affected by special needs.  Providing ministry opportunities for ALL children in her home church has been a goal of her ministry. While there is no “special needs ministry” at Bowling Green, all children and families are welcome and included.  Paige believes that Christ’s ministry was inclusive and following his example we must welcome everyone to our ministries.

In addition, she has served with her church family at Bowling Green Baptist with both children’s and youth ministry.  Paige enjoys time her husband of 27 years and mom to three grown children and two rambunctious border collies.

Jeff Cranford

Jeff Cranford

Jeff Cranford retired on March 1, 2019, having served 20 years on the staff of the BGAV. During his tenure with the BGAV he served in many capacities, most recently as Central Region Field Strategist and Compensation Planning Specialist.

From 1999 until 2017, he served as BGAV GuideStone State Representative. In that capacity he assisted church leaders and staff with all aspects of compensation planning including: church and clergy taxes, retirement planning, and insurance of all kinds. Since 2014 he has held the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM or CRPC® designation with the College for Financial Planning.

On March 1, 2019, Jeff began service as BGAV Minister in Residence for Church Finances. In this capacity he continues to assist churches with all aspects of church finances. He will also offer annual seminars in church and clergy taxes, church financial administration, and financial support planning for church staff, in addition to teaching a course of study in church finances as an instructor in the BGAV Ministry Equipping Network.

During his years of ministry service, Jeff served as a senior pastor for 25 years, a director of missions for 4 years, and on the BGAV staff for 20 years. He has assisted BGAV churches as interim pastor, transition consultant, and has taught as an adjunct professor for Averett University and John Leland Seminary. Jeff earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion at Baylor University and his B.A. in Biblical Languages and Literature at Gardner-Webb University.

Jeff and his wife Suzanne live in Charlottesville.  They have two children and five grandchildren.

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.

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.

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.

Bruce Powers completed his doctorate in Developmental Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and his M. Div. at Campbell Divinity School.  He has been active in ministry since 2001 and a member of the BGAV family since 2006.  He has been teaching in church and university settings for 20 years and considers teaching his primary spiritual gift.  Bruce is currently pastor of Urbanna Baptist Church and serves on the BGAV Program Committee.

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.

Rev. Susie Webb serves as the Associate Pastor to Children at First Baptist Church, Newport News and has been on staff for eleven years.  Prior to serving at First Baptist, Susie taught Kindergarten, Preschool, and Preschool Special Education with Newport News Public Schools.  In 1996 she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Early Childhood Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  Susie has completed her Children’s Ministry Certification Program from the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by FBCNN in 2011. She oversees Preschool and Children’s Ministry to include: Sunday School, Mission Activities, VBS, PassportKIDS Camp, Special Events, Parent-Child Dedications, Family Activities and more.  Susie and her husband, Jeff, have been married for 20 years, and they have two children.  Carter is in high school, and Campbell is in middle school.  Susie enjoys quilting, crafting, and having lunch with friends.