Article By: H. Garry Yeatts
BMI Director; MCC Chairman
Cornerstone Conference IPHC
For almost twenty-five years the Biblical Ministries Institute has served the Cornerstone Conference. Dozens of pastors, ministers, and laymen have received the benefit of learning foundational truths to equip them for excellence in ministry. Numerous personal testimonies have been shared regarding the positive impact the BMI has been to their ministries. Our program has often been referenced as the “flag ship” school of ministry in the IPHC. To God be the glory!
In our last IPHC General Conference, the delegates voted to institute the Unified Ministerial Credentialing Program (the UMCP). Let me provide you with a summary regarding how it came to be presented. One of the primary concerns among those who are responsible for credentialing ministers in the IPHC is to have consistency in the credentialing requirements among the thirty conferences in the United States. Sometimes we forget how blessed we are in the Cornerstone Conference. We might assume the other conferences in the States are similar – that would be wrong. Of the thirty conferences in the United States, we have some that do not have adequate personnel, and resources, and are spread out over vast territory with few churches. Consequently, these Conferences are not as fortunate to have the many subsidiary ministries and programs. This is especially true when it comes to the credentialing and preparing candidates for ministry. Requirements and training have not been as stringent. Cornerstone is blessed to have the human, physical, and financial resources to have so many organized, functioning ministries.
At the request of our General Superintendent, I have served on our denomination’s Ministerial Credentialing Curriculum Committee for the last two years. Our primary task has been the development of a consistent curriculum for candidates for ministerial credentials. While the basic format has been approved by the Council of Bishops, it remains a work in progress. Our work will be beneficial to those conferences that are not as fortunate as Cornerstone and our stronger sister conferences.
Those few ministers who are aware of my service on this committee have asked, “Why doesn’t the denomination follow the same program we have in Cornerstone?” I must admit it has been personally gratifying to respond to this question, because it speaks to the quality of our program. However, there are a handful of conferences that have equally strong programs. Those Conference School of Ministry Directors might feel their respective programs are worthy to be emulated.
Does this mean we will have to reinvent the wheel concerning the BMI? No! The language of our denominational bylaws allows for each conference to utilize a conference-administered School of Ministry meeting the course requirements of the UMCP. Over the coming months the Ministerial Credentialing Committee, working with the Cornerstone Executive Council will be working to integrate the best of what we are currently doing, with the requirements of the UMCP.
The BMI has served the primary objective of preparing candidates to receive ministerial credentials in the IPHC. The “proof is in the pudding.” We remain committed to the purpose of “Equipping for Excellence in Ministry” as we move forward, endeavoring to provide the best possible foundation in training for credentialed ministers and the great laypeople of Cornerstone.