Alumni Spotlight: Tolando Cleveland Helping Students Find Solutions

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Tolando Cleveland (’19)

Many high school students face burdens so heavy they would make a grown adult falter.  And yet they march on through school, hoping to make it, silently screaming for help.  Many days, their greatest need is for a mature adult to stop, have an honest conversation, and show compassion.  This is the need that Tolando Cleveland faithfully strives to address every day – both through his job at Trinity Christian Academy, and in his ministry work with Youth For Christ and Juvenile Justice Ministry.

Tolando is from Kentucky and served for 20 years in the military.  At the conclusion of his military career, he came to TBC looking for a Christian education that would help him become more effective in his ministry: making a difference in the lives of young people.  “I was in my late 30’s — I had all the secular knowledge and experience the world could offer.  What I really wanted at that point was to learn my craft.”  He graduated from the Assistant Pastor program at TBC in 2018, and has remained involved in his church (Elevate Life Church) as well as in various other ministries and organizations that provide counseling.

As part of his training at TBC, Tolando got involved in mentoring at Trinity Christian Academy with Dr. James Buckner.  His passion for helping young people is a gift and it did not go unnoticed.  It wasn’t long before he was asked to come on staff as a gym teacher.  Even though he had not anticipated being a gym teacher, Tolando accepted, seeing it as an opportunity to spend time with the kids that need it most, offering a chance to voice discouragement or frustration before they get themselves in trouble for acting out.  

Aside from his hours in the gym, he has been working closely with upper division staff to develop an alternative to in-school suspension.  The model they have adopted and named “In-School Solutions” is a purposeful method of helping students who are struggling in school.  The program takes advantage of valuable time with students, giving them a chance to talk through their circumstances and help pinpoint solutions tailored to their needs.  Tolando sees so much potential in the young individuals who find themselves in the In School Solutions program. “I want to offer [to young people] a different perspective in life.  I want them to know that where they came from does not have to define them.”

Tolando’s heart is all in.  He volunteers wherever he can impact teens and young adults who need guidance.  Whether it is in between classes, during gym, at church, or in the local area detention centers, he has the ability to connect and the passion to invest in their lives.

While in college, Tolando purposefully developed relationships with his professors; he especially found a lot of common ground with Dr. Christmas and Dr. Buckner.  Both professors helped him acquire valuable tools that enable him to be even more effective as he continues to pour into his calling.  “You know, PE might not be ‘my thing’, but I get to do my thing through it!  I believe that God placed me here in preparation for what’s to come.”

TBC Students Join the Fight to #EndIt

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Rachel White, Executive Director of Her Song Jacksonville

This Wednesday in student body chapel, guest speaker Rachel White, founder of Her Song Jacksonville, will address the sobering social issue of human trafficking.

Without question, this topic is gut-wrenching.  It is tempting to shrink from its reality because the thought that such evil exists is beyond repulsive.  As it should be.  However, that repulsion should propel us to act, not to retreat into willing ignorance. Continue reading

Founding Faculty Member To Retire This Year

Dr. John Cash, Sr. has been a fixture at TBC since its beginnings in 1974.

His faithfulness continues to make incalculable impacts for the cause of Christ locally, nationally, and internationally, through his commitment to training future generations to rightfully divide the Word of Truth.  It is with great respect and admiration that we announce his retirement this July. Continue reading

Podcast suggestions from TBC’s VP of Student Affairs

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What are you doing this Christmas break to re-charge?

So often we think of re-charging as a chance to sleep, sit on the couch, binge-watch shows and movies, take a walk, go to the beach (because in Florida, we go to the beach in December), etc.  And while resting is definitely part of re-charging, there is a real danger in allowing ourselves to simply immerse ourselves in whatever is in front of us without any intentionality.

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Alumni Spotlight: Dan and Deniece Proctor

LRM_EXPORT_27371868295647_20190809_140629011 (1)Dan (’89) and Deniece (’87) Proctor have invested their lives into Crossroads Church in Daytona Beach.  In fact, 2019 marks their 30th anniversary of faithful service at Crossroads!

A native of Missouri, Dan came to TBC as a new Christian.  It was of his own initiative that he found TBC in his search for a Christian college.  He enrolled in 1985, uncertain of what to expect.

He quickly found a place to serve in the bus ministry – and wouldn’t you know it, a beautiful secondary education major from Michigan by the name of Deniece Webster was working on the same bus!  It wasn’t long before their acquaintance evolved into dating.  Dan and Deniece were married soon after her graduation in 1987.

Bible classes and preaching were a new world to Dan. With so much information coming at him so fast, he felt a bit overwhelmed at times, but it pushed him to grow spiritually in ways that may not have happened otherwise.  “I came to Trinity as a new Christian and didn’t know much.  Tom Messer was a professor back then and he taught Homiletics… the class taught me so much about studying the Bible. It was life-changing for me.  In hindsight, it shaped my life!”

Every TBC student has funny college stories and the Proctors are no exception!  From spilling an entire tray of full communion cups on Deniece in the middle of church to a confusing case of mixed up keys that resulted in accidental car theft (no worries – everyone got their own car back by the end of the night) they experienced all the classic tales of hilarity and woe that befall the typical Christian college student.

In 1989, Dan and Deniece moved to Daytona where he served as Assistant Pastor at Crossroads.  Five years later he was voted in as Senior Pastor and that is where they continue to serve the people of Daytona Beach together.  They now have three grown children and two grandchildren.

The church continues to grow with three services each Sunday and they are considering a fourth service hour to accommodate the crowd.  The church recently finished construction on a new Connections Building which houses an indoor playground and coffee house.  The area is open to the public and it is their prayer that this will be an effective way to reach their immediate community with the gospel.

Would you pray for Crossroads Church this Christmas season?  They are gearing up for one of their biggest outreach events of the year: Walk Through Bethlehem.  This annual community event serves over 10,000 people from their area every year, with hundreds of church volunteers participating in everything from building the outdoor set (the town of Bethlehem) to acting out the parts of the villagers, decorating, and sharing the gospel with each individual who comes by to enjoy the event.  Please pray for this time of concentrated evangelism in Daytona this Christmas.

If you would like to visit the event yourself, the dates are set for December 13-15 and 19-22.  Read more on the event page:

Pay for college… with someone else’s money!


No, really.  Pay for college with someone else’s money!

And no, robbing a bank is not how you do it.

We’re talking about legitimately, legally, honestly, and without any shady deals, paying for college.  With someone else’s money.

Continue reading

Alumni Spotlight: Jim Urban

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James, Becky, Joshua, and Connor

James (Jim) Urban remembers the day when a TBC student knocked on his parents’ front door.  He and his sister were young kids at the time and experiencing an unstable family environment.  That day, the conversation between his father and the TBC student led to a spiritual transformation in the Urban family: lost souls found a savior, a broken family found forgiveness and reconciliation, and a young man grew up with a desire to help others who find themselves in difficult situations.  Jim eventually earned his Bachelor’s degree at TBC and was involved in outreach ministries similar to the one that broke through in his own life.

For Jim, earning his Bachelor’s was just the beginning – but he took that beginning very seriously. As a Pastoral Theology major Jim was privileged to learn under some of the most iconic professors in the history of TBC.  He made it a point to take all of the classes taught by John Cash, Charles Shafer, and Bob Kendall.  You know that was a workload!

After graduation, Jim and his wife, Becky, moved to VA where they both completed their Master’s degrees at LU: Jim in Professional Counseling and Becky in Music Education.  It was when he started his Masters studies that Jim realized just how thankful he was for his college professors.  “I was pushed to the grad work level without even realizing it.  It made my life so much easier when I was doing my masters work.  I had all this groundwork already in place and I knew how to write papers!”

One of his favorite memories took place in Dr. Cash’s summer Greek II class.  “Everyone in class was on the verge of burnout – most of us were married and had full time jobs; it was just a tough time for all of us.  Suddenly, Dr. Cash sat down on the edge of the desk and stunned us all by saying, ‘Let me tell you about something that happen to me when I was in college…’ that conversation is forever ingrained in my mind.  The compassion he showed at that moment got me through that week and stayed with me.”

In 2017, Jim and Becky transitioned back to Jacksonville.  These days Jim is pursuing doctorate work and runs his own local counseling practice, Uplift Counseling Center, while also teaching several online courses for TBC.  This past year, he graciously made an internship opportunity in his practice available to a current TBC senior.  Becky Urban teaches music in TCA elementary and they have two sons, Joshua and Connor.

What’s All The Fuss About FAFSA?

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When late October rolls around on the calendar, colleges all over the country start talking about something called the FAFSA.  You may have seen it on social media, in emails from colleges, and even through personal conversations with college representatives. If you aren’t familiar with the world of college financial aid, you probably have some questions.  Continue reading

Alumni Spotlight: Joseph Carnley

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Joseph Carnley – TBC Commencement 2019

TBC’s most recent graduating class walked in early May and an unlikely candidate found himself among the Pastoral Theology group.

Each alumnus has a unique story.  In christian circles, the term “redemption” is often used in a spiritual sense but this particular story is one of physical as well as spiritual redemption.
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Introducing new Director of Development

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We are excited to announce Michael Heavener as Trinity Baptist College’s new Director of Development. Michael and his family are joining us after 5 years of cross-cultural ministry in Germany.  As Director of Development, Michael will be instrumental in managing fund-raising, annual fund giving, Capital Campaigns, endowment growth, athletic facility advertising, and planned giving.

Michael is no stranger to TBC, as he served as both the Assistant to the President and Director of Recruiting from 2010-2015. His past involvement at TBC is to our benefit as it will enable us to begin near-immediate implementation of processes and ideas that will advance the ministry of Trinity Baptist College.

Michael came to faith in Jesus Christ through personal study of the Scriptures.  He and his wife, Silke, have two children: Ariella (nine) and Noah (five). Michael holds a BA from The Citadel, as well as an M-Div and MA from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.  He is a former Army Medical Service Corps Officer who led soldiers during two deployments in Iraq (’04, ‘06-‘07).

In 2015, Michael and Silke followed God’s direction to pursue cross cultural ministry opportunities in Germany. To facilitate this calling, Michael accepted a civilian position with the U.S. Army Medical Department, which enabled Michael and his family to relocate to Germany for up to five years.  As an Army Civilian, Michael served as the program manager and analyst for manpower staffing and workforce structure for all Army Health Clinics in southern Germany.  He developed a variety of new processes and products and his work received commendation from the highest-ranking levels of leadership in the Regional Health Command Europe.  Outside of his work with the Army, Michael was able to focus on ministry opportunities.  He served as one of three elders for Frei Evangeliche Gemeinde (a local German church) in Hersbruck. Along with the Pastor and other elders, Michael’s efforts contributed to a new mission strategy and organization structure for the church. Additionally, Michael served in the areas of preaching and teaching for the main congregation, youth, and small groups.

Michael chose to forego opportunities to continue working for the Department of Defense in a Stateside transition upon completion of his contract.  Instead, he accepted the opportunity to return to Trinity Baptist College, where he will once again join TBC in its mission to impact the world for Jesus Christ. Michael and Silke plan to attend Trinity Baptist Church’s Oakleaf Campus, where they were part of the original launch team, and where Michael previously led a homegroup before departing for Germany.