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The Academy - Testimonies

At its core, Grace Advance is about the local church strengthening, equipping, and planting other local churches. Specifically, Grace Church prepares and provides men to developing churches throughout the country, and even the world. As one going through the process I could not think of a better or more biblical way to strengthen the church. Both the men and the local churches they are going to plant or strengthen have the support, encouragement, wisdom, and prayer of experienced pastors and elders. I have been both challenged and prepared for the ministry that lies ahead.Paul Shirley (Wilmington, Delaware)

The motto of Grace Advance, “providing leadership for developing churches,” truly defines what this ministry is all about. As Grace Advance Academy prepares called, gifted, and trained leadership to start new churches and revitalize flagging churches, the elders of Grace Church, under the auspices of Grace Advance, provide leadership oversight to these same churches. By filling this leadership gap, the ministry helps new pastors and churches to become independent, thriving congregations as they strive to honor the Lord. As John MacArthur said, “This is a ministry of Grace Church to other churches across the country who need this kind of assistance and who desire it from us.” I thank God for allowing me to go through this training.Gregg Dennison (Spearfish, South Dakota)

Amazingly practical and urgently needed, the Grace Advance Academy has helped me think through the very basics of church ministry and the importance of a philosophy of ministry that is biblically based and carefully followed. Our instructors all emphasized the eminent importance of discipling and equipping men while not being too hasty in appointing elders. All in all, the academy grew me spiritually by helping me think through not only how to accomplish certain tasks in a church plant, but also the reason why we do what we do.Geoff Kirkland (St. Louis, Missouri)

Grace Advance is a highly concentrated explosion of godly, humble, pastoral discipleship jam-packed into a very short period of time. Truly, every minute has been rich. I received a flood of gospel-centered wisdom from seasoned pastors, lay elders, church administrators, church planters, seminary professors, an attorney, information technology experts, a tax expert, and more. I am now equipped for the nuts-and-bolts of church planting and further prepared to shepherd the flock of God.Todd Barnett (Redlands, California)

For me, the greatest blessing of the academy has been in learning to clearly articulate the connections between biblical doctrines and methods of ministry. What I think about the truth will determine how I practice the truth, and I must have this relationship clearly defined—both for myself and for the people to whom I minister—if I desire to lovingly lead and equip them to do the work of the ministry.Brian Swillum (Escanaba, Michigan)

The greatest impact of the Grace Advance Academy on me has been the influence of the godly men involved with the academy itself. That influence was evidenced through my fellow members of the cohort, namely through their prayers and encouragement; by the speakers through their experience and wisdom; and by the church staff and elders through their vision and diligence. I have been well-equipped to be launched into developing our church ministry.Dennis Wilson (Irvine, California)

Coming to the Grace Advance Academy from Australia has been the greatest experience in my life. Not only was the training invaluable, but the impact it will have on our newly-started church in Sydney will be profound. I sometimes wondered if it was God’s will that we started the church in Sydney, and through Grace Advance I have come to the realization that God was confirming, in every step, that He Himself began this good work in Australia. The reality is that Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:18 hold true, "... I will build My church...."Dennis Park (Sydney, Australia)

The purpose statement of Grace Advance—“providing leadership for developing churches”—is truly coming to fruition. The training I have received at The Master’s Seminary, Grace Community Church, and now Grace Advance Academy has been priceless in equipping me and my family for this task.Jason Gillespie (Columbia, South Carolina)