Creating Opportunities for Real-World Experience


Over the past several years, Trinity Baptist College has developed a strong relationship with nearby Crystal Springs Elementary (CSE).  Through the Federal Work Study Program and in collaboration with CSE, Trinity Baptist College was able to create a student employee position which simultaneously addresses tutoring needs in CSE and provides additional financial aid for a college student in the FWS program.

Tiffani Edwards

Through this program, current TBC senior, Tiffani Edwards, tutored reading and math at CSE during the 2017-2018 school year.  Tiffani is an Elementary Education major and her dream is to work in the public school sector.  Talking about her experience at CSE, Tiffani smiled and said,

“I’ve had experience helping kids with homework before. But I feel like this really gave me a different perspective.  This is a bigger deal – the kids are being tested on this material.  Some of them are behind in certain areas and I had to figure out ways to fill in the gaps.”

Typically, she would tutor 4-6 students at a time.

“It wasn’t really the whole classroom concept of being a teacher yet, but it’s one step closer to that.”

The assistant principal at CSE was very pleased with Tiffani’s work and has requested more TBC students to fill tutoring positions.  Sashuas Rodriguez, an Elementary Special Education major at TBC, has accepted the tutoring position for the current (2018-2019) school year.

TBC Financial Aid Director Mark Elkins explains how this work study arrangement is of benefit to everyone involved.

The U.S. Department of Education indicates that a portion of TBC’s annual funding allocation in the Federal Work Study program must be dedicated to a wage match for a student(s) employed in a public service capacity involving reading and math tutoring.  So, this is really a win-win-win-win effort. CSE students receive one-on-one help with reading and math, CSE Administration have a dedicated reading and math tutor at no cost, a TBC student gains valuable hands-on experience as well as additional financial aid, and TBC is able to give back to the community.

We are privileged to be in the position to invest in our local Jacksonville community by providing quality tutors who can help young people grow academically.  In return, participating TBC students receive valuable real-world experience in their chosen area of study.  This kind of practical involvement paves the way for our education majors to graduate with qualifying resume credentials as well as a passion for education.

The down side of having a plan

my plan

There’s a down side?  Really?

If you are a planner, you are probably staring daggers at your screen right now.  “What kind of incompetent person would suggest that planning is less than the epitome of being responsible?”

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3 Ways Neglected Maintenance Affects Your Leadership Ability


How many emergencies have been created in your life recently due to neglected maintenance? Maybe you were late for an important meeting because your car wouldn’t start. You knew the battery was well beyond its useful life but instead of taking 30 minutes to purchase and have a new one installed, you kept putting it off because you were too busy.

Perhaps your maintenance emergency was a financial one because for years you put off replacing a $10 air filter and now you have to call out a repairman to work on your home air conditioning system.

Have you ever tried driving a car for multiple thousands of miles without changing the oil? Eventually you will ruin the entire motor by simply putting off routine maintenance that, if completed in a timely manner, would save you thousands of dollars and many hours of frustration.

There are many examples of this in the mechanical world but what about within the sphere of leadership? Does the principle of neglected maintenance apply to our effectiveness as leaders?

I believe that it does. Let’s examine at least three ways that neglected maintenance can negatively impact our personal leadership.

  1. Areas of neglected leadership maintenance never seem important until they do not function. Just like in the example of the car battery, you can be seemingly effective in your leadership until one day you just aren’t because you have neglected to properly maintain essential areas. Some practical examples would be:
  • Maintaining a consistent prayer life
  • Studying, meditating and personally applying Scripture
  • Taking time to rest and restore mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally
  1. Areas of neglected leadership maintenance are not always exciting to work on. Just like changing the oil in your vehicle is not as exciting as getting a custom paint job or installing a great after-market DVD player or stereo, the oil is a far more critical issue. The same is true in leadership. For example, working on things like follow-through and consistent communication are less fun than attending conferences or dreaming about big ideas. While the latter have their place, it is attention to the less exciting maintenance details that actually allow us to move on to greater, healthier places.
  1. Areas of neglected leadership maintenance require discipline and consistency. You don’t change the air filter in your home air conditioning system once every five years. You have to schedule this maintenance detail every three months. This requires attention to detail. Most areas of neglected maintenance within our areas of leadership are not difficult to accomplish, the hard part is simply remembering to do them in the midst of the chaos and busyness that characterizes our daily operations. We simply forget how important these little details are until they have been neglected long enough to create a crisis.

Don’t become a victim of neglected leadership maintenance. Take the time today to evaluate the little things that have been overlooked and may become the big things if they do not receive some attention soon.

How to Be an Effective Leader


Over the past two weeks we have been conducting training for the Resident Assistants (RAs) and other Student Leaders. I am so thankful that these students are committed to their own leadership development and have made the sacrifice to return to campus early in order to prepare for the new college year.

One of the leadership lessons that we have been reviewing is the “three pillars of leadership”.   I was first introduced to this material by our college president, Mac Heavener. He taught this principle to me using the analogy of a three-legged stool. Every individual leg on that stool is extremely important, and if one of them is missing, then the stool is not functional.

The three pillars of leadership function the same way as the legs on a stool. You must have all three in place in order for your leadership to be effective. The three pillars of leadership are instruction, example, and relationship.

Instruction–  You must verbally communicate expectations. An effective leader cannot just know what should be done or think about what should be done; the leader must communicate clearly the appropriate information at the appropriate time. If a leader fails to instruct or teach, then that leader’s effectiveness will be negatively impacted.

Example– Your leadership can only be as effective as you are at modeling your instruction in your own life. A leader that has all the answers and knows what to say but does not demonstrate a consistent effort to live out their own instruction will not be respected or followed for long. Our ability to lead others begins and ends with our ability to lead ourselves.

Relationship– I have always loved the quote from Dr. Howard Hendricks, “You can impress from a distance but you can only impact up close”. These words are a constant reminder in my own life that no matter how great my instruction is or how well I model that instruction in my own life, I can only truly influence others to the degree to which I have worked to cultivate a personal relationship with them. If our relationships with others are only surface relationships, then our leadership influence will be nothing more than surface as well. To truly maximize your leadership you have to take the time to develop relationships with those you are called to lead.

3 Reasons for a Christian College

2274225022_3f3beac0ef_zWhy does a Christian college exist? What sets a Christian college apart from a secular one? Why would my time be better spent serving students at TBC as opposed to working at a state college or university?  I have tossed these questions around in my mind more times than I care to admit over the past eight years that I have served here at TBC. That may be a surprising admission from someone whose primary vocation is Christian higher education. However, I am asking this question in an attempt to ensure that what I am doing personally and what we are doing institutionally has eternal merit. After much thought, I believe that there are many good answers to these questions and I will share a few of the best ones below.


1. A Christian College Can Give Priority to A Biblical Worldview

This is one definite item that sets apart a Christian college from secular. Perhaps at no other time in American history should this matter more to us as believers; we are facing a culture that is becoming increasingly secular.

One of the primary distinctions of a secular society is that the majority of the population pursues a life completely devoid of any thought outside of the human realm. The questions of the origination of life, the purpose of life and the ultimate destination for life are all answered by looking within, void of any thought of ultimate accountability to a higher being or a purpose to life that is beyond their perceived needs or wants.

A Christian college provides a base of operations for ideas that are counter to a secular culture. It is here that we can communicate clearly and boldly to students that life is not all about them. There is ultimate accountability to the Triune God who is not only Creator of the universe, but also the Creator of them as individuals. As such, He possesses ultimate authority and provides ultimate accountability. This biblical view of the world permeates every aspect of Christian education and is the backdrop that provides meaning and purpose to all of life.

You will not find a biblical worldview being espoused at a secular college. In fact, the goal of many at these institutions will be to disparage and attack the biblical worldview at every opportunity.

2. A Christian College Can Place A Priority Upon the Local Church

There is no statement truer than this.  A healthy, vibrant, New Testament church is the greatest hope for our secular society.  We know that ultimately our hope is in Jesus Christ, but He is using His church to accomplish His work on earth at this present time. All of the Christian colleges in the world cannot replace the church.

This is one thing that I love most about Trinity Baptist College, we are a ministry of a local church. We are partners with Trinity Baptist Church and committed to working alongside the church to accomplish a mission that is bigger than us. One of the greatest things that we as a college can do for our students is to instill in them a love for the church. This is a natural relationship for us. Our students have ample opportunity to connect with, serve in and develop a love for the church.

We have failed to accomplish a major portion of our mission if a student leaves Trinity Baptist College and has not recognized the need for being deeply involved in a local church. If they are not seeing that modeled by our faculty and staff, then we are missing the bigger picture. As a college, we have the privilege of connecting them to the work that God is doing and also demonstrating for them how to be involved directly in that work.

3. A Christian College Can Provide Greater Significance to Education

In essence, I am stating that everything I have articulated to this point provides a depth and substance to the education process that is eternal. Learning is a positive thing. Going to college and earning a degree is a positive thing. However, if the only purpose of my education is to improve my earning capacity or better provide for the physical needs of others, there may be a temporary and earthly benefit, but it is devoid of eternal value.

By providing an education within the context of eternal truths, students are able to take the knowledge and opportunities that come along with a college degree and use all of that to advance the cause of Christ. We recognize that not every TBC graduate will be a pastor, youth pastor, or missionary in a full-time capacity, but all of our students, if they have professed faith in Christ, have been assigned the same biblical mission, to be kingdom multipliers.  As a Christian college, we have the ability to frame the entire educational process within the scope of this larger mission.

Final Thought:

It is truly a blessing to be involved in the work of a Christian college. I am more committed to this task than I have ever been and I am seeing the benefits and opportunities like never before. Please pray for our college that God will continue to use it as we prepare students for life and ministry.

Photo Credit: Prabhu B Doss /  license terms