We live in an age of ecclesiastical pessimism. Everywhere you turn, it seems, you hear more bad news about the state of the church. Moral failure among high-profile leaders. Clergy abuse scandals. Dwindling membership. Denominational divisions. Congregational conflicts. Hypocrisy. Disunity. Distrust.
Clearly, this could not have been what Jesus had in mind when he declared, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). And yet, as broken, bruised and battered as she is, the "church" (Gk, ekklesia; assembly) of Jesus Christ continues to remain at the center of God's heart, the key to His redemptive plan, and the greatest source of hope for the world today. As someone has said, "The church is a lot like Noah's Ark: the stench on the inside would be unbearable if not for the storm that is raging on the outside."
The church, Paul reminds us, is the very bride of Christ. Jesus loves his bride so much that he "gave himself up for her" and will one day "present her to himself as a glorious church, without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish ... holy and without fault" (Ephesians 5:26-27). Needlesss to say, our Lord has his work cut out for him!
At Barclay College, we are deeply committed to the health and vitality of the local church, in all its varied expressions. For more than 90 years we have been preparing men and women for "effective Christian life, service and leadership" in and through the body of Christ. Whether your faith community is considered traditional or contemporary, denominational or independent, seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven, missional or emergent (or all of the above), we are on your side! Our desire is to serve as catalysts for spiritual renewal in the lives of church leaders and the ministries they serve. Our faculty members are available to facilitate a variety of retreats, seminars, conferences and consultations for churches and other Christian ministries throughout the year(see our faculty page for more information). We would consider it a great privilege to partner with you and the people you serve as together we look forward to that Day when "the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7).