Steven Barton, the lead pastor at Bible Baptist Church in Cortland, New York, graduated from CSU with his undergraduate degree in 1993 and from Baptist Bible Seminary in 1998. He has fond memories of studying at BBS, especially the internship part of his program. The full-time, paid internship is a unique, practical experience built right into the seminary’s Master of Divinity program. Barton states, “Its practicality and immersive nature allowed me to see and participate in ministry as a part of a staff while learning as a student.” Barton learned the importance of having confidence to be able to study God’s Word, knowing that it does contain the answers to life’s hardest questions.
Barton has been the pastor at Bible Baptist Church for nearly six years. The church has been around for over 75 years, ministering in a typical Northeastern United States city. The church launched a Christian school 35 years ago, which still functions today. They are currently working to identify the ways to reach the people in their community, specifically trying to see if they can communicate with those within a one-mile radius within the next year.
Due to the school’s growth and the dynamic of sharing ministry space and schedules, they are working to identify how they can make certain the church focuses on Biblical priorities while enabling and prompting the school to spread its wings and launch into a new era of independence. Barton states, “Balancing the needs of two organizations provides many opportunities for growth and challenges in which to trust God.”
BBS prepared Barton for the embracement of studying, which is a huge part of being a pastor. The practice of being a continual learner was another valuable tool he took from his time at school. Barton expresses, “The professors cultivated a great academic setting, but they also created opportunities to ask advice and gain from their experience in ministry. I still work to be a learner from others who minister in contexts similar to mine and different from mine.” He loves the opportunities his job provides to preach and help people become confident in sharing their faith.
This week Barton had the opportunity to share in chapel at CSU. He was excited to speak because he believes God’s Word is powerful. “It has been in my life,” stated Barton, “and if God gives the opportunity for me to use it to impact others, I want to make good use of that opportunity.” Barton also serves as the Alumni Executive Council vice president.
Colleen Noll is a Communications-Writing major from Spring Brook Twp., Pennsylvania, who plans to graduate in 2019.