Pastors’ School Returns to Gardner-Webb May 25-27

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Event Offers Ministers Opportunities for Inspiration, Fellowship and Renewal

Dr. James Bryan Smith

By Brooke Kelly, Communications Intern

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University is preparing for its 2015 Pastors’ School, a three-day educational retreat for pastors, and students of ministry and theology. This year’s program, set for May 25-27, features the theme, “Living as an apprentice of Jesus: What the church forgot to teach us.”

“The Pastors’ School is designed for the busy pastor to offer moments of inspiration, fellowship, renewal, and rest,” shared Dr. Danny West, director of the GWU Doctor of Ministry Program and Ministry Leadership Development. “Those who attend this event are typically needing a safe place to step away from the pressures of pastoral ministry to ‘breathe’ for a few days with other ministers.”

Theology professor Dr. James Bryan Smith and Gardner-Webb’s Dr. Sophia Steibel and Dr. Tracy Jessup will serve as keynote speakers for this year’s event.

Smith is the executive director of the Apprentice Institute, which provides educational experiences in Christian spirituality, resources for individual and church renewal and research to advance the field of Christian formation. He is also currently a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kan., and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of eight books, most notably “The Apprentice Series,” which shapes the work of the Apprentice Institute. Smith is a renowned scholar and teacher and he challenges churches to have a renewed understanding of the role of an apprentice of Jesus.

Dr. Sophia Steibel

Steibel joined the GWU School of Divinity faculty in 2001 and serves as professor of Christian education. She teaches The Christian Journey, Designing Curriculum, Leadership with Volunteers in the Church, Mission and Ministry, and Administration and Leadership. She also assists the coordination of the spiritual formation curriculum for the School of Divinity, and she leads spirituality retreats for students annually.

Dr. Tracy Jessup

Jessup serves the Gardner-Webb community as vice president for Christian life and service and as senior minister to the University. A graduate of Gardner-Webb with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Jessup earned his Master of Divinity degree at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School and his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also enjoys the opportunity to serve the local church through interim pastorates, pulpit supply, preaching revival services, and writing a weekly faith-based column for several local newspapers.

For more information or to register online, visit or contact Lisa Hollifield at 704-406-3855 or

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704.406.4253 or email with your request.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Hamanitate (For God and Hummanity).