Calvary Bible Institute (CBI)—Part 1

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Raising Up the Next Generation of Spiritual Leaders

Story by Kathy Symborski
Photos by Tom Price

This is Part 1 of a three-part story about the Calvary Bible Institute (CBI) in Yucca Valley, CA. Today we share the importance of senior pastors pouring into the lives of younger disciples, raising them up to be the new leaders of our churches.

Follow this series… Part 2 Explains how CBI prepares its students for future leadership roles. Part 3 Discusses the transformation that occurs in CBI students through the Holy Spirit and the dynamics of a successful senior pastor/assistant pastor relationship.

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Pastor Jerel Hagerman of Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel, teaches the men how to prepare a Bible teaching. Meanwhile, at their home, his wife, Merrily, instructs the female students how to run a women’s Bible study.

“I’m 19! God, what are You doing? I don’t know what I am doing!” Riley White cried out. Riley, the high school youth pastor at Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel (JSCC) and graduate of Calvary Bible Institute (CBI), recalled the first time Senior Pastor Jerel Hagerman asked him to teach on a Sunday night. “I was still in CBI, a college student, and remember thinking, Why is Pastor Jerel asking me to do this? But I reminded myself: Even if I only go up there and just read God’s Word, He shows up, and something powerful is going to take place.”

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Calvary Bible Institute (CBI) student Emily Barr (right) welcomes visitor Eden McKay. Eden, a prospective student, was there as her father, Pastor Phil McKay, addressed the class.

Raise Them Up

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:1-2

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Student Christine Jennings stands to share a Bible verse during morning class instruction. Students are prepared to be called on at any time to share what they have learned.

Jerel Hagerman, CBI president and senior pastor at Joshua Springs CC in Yucca Valley, CA, has been pastoring for over 40 years. He started the Bible Institute three and a half years ago with a distinct mission: to raise up people for the ministry. He exhorted, “Every senior pastor has a call from God to raise up the next generation, to pour into their lives. In the same way that Moses raised up Joshua, Jesus spent time with the disciples, and Paul raised up Timothy and Titus, we not only have the opportunity—but the obligation—to raise up the next generation.”

During the tightly scheduled one-year program, students learn time management, flexibility, sacrifice, servanthood, and how to lead through practical, real-life scenarios in the role of a pastor or ministry leader. “In the last three years, students have come out serving the Lord, understanding the Bible and ministry, and with hearts to serve people,” Jerel attested.

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Grace Davis and Annikka Molina share God’s majesty through song, accompanied by fellow students Ralph Lumba and Zion Cabling on guitar.

In many Calvary Chapels across the country, pastors are getting older, and their congregations have aged with them. Jerel’s concern is that churches will die out with their shepherd unless those pastors pray for someone they can raise up by providing opportunities for ministry.

“Senior pastors need to pray for a Timothy to pour into. Personally, I’m blessed with my assistant pastor, BJ Huether. He truly is my son in the faith. But I had to give him opportunities to share,” Jerel emphasized. He cautioned that pastors can be insecure at times, especially when discipling a gifted individual, but they need to raise up the next generation so that the church lives on. Because that generation will bring in other younger people, he urged pastors to let them lead a Sunday evening service, then a Wednesday night, letting them design it with the music and lighting they want. “Trust them just as the Lord did with us when we started. We were all young, made mistakes, but God worked beyond all of that in such an exciting way. Don’t we want to see the Spirit of God moving today?” Jerel encouraged.

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Grace Davis whispers a message to one of her students during Wednesday night service.

It was a slow and purposeful progression for BJ under Jerel’s guidance. “I was willing to do whatever was asked of me when I came in, from helping out with the youth to teaching them, then teaching college studies, eventually taking over Sunday and Wednesday nights,” BJ explained. “Pastor Jerel would be in the crowd supporting me and watching over the service. Now people say, ‘What an awesome blessing to see where you were and where you are today! Pastor Jerel did a great job raising you up.’”

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Annikka Molina performs a duty assigned to CBI students for their ministry service requirements.

Facing the Challenge

Naturally, it can be nerve-wracking for those up-and-coming pastors. Blaine Pendergrass, Joshua Springs CC’s junior high pastor, recounted the time Pastor BJ asked him to teach. “I hit him on the shoulder, said ‘Very funny,’ and walked away.” That night, Pastor Riley shared the message: Don’t say No to the Holy Spirit when He is speaking to you. That hit Blaine hard, and he told the Lord he would do it, given another opportunity. That opportunity came. Blaine humorously confessed, “I was walking up to the stage; my heart was racing, I had butterflies, I got sick to my stomach, started sweating, and just about threw up. All I could pray while I was walking up was, Lord, show up. Just before I went on that stage, this overwhelming peace came over me. It was an amazing feeling, and the Lord just started speaking through me.”


Watch the video: Calvary Chapel Magazine was on hand to document what God is doing through Calvary Bible Institute (CBI).


Click to learn more about:
Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel
Calvary Bible Institute


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Pastor Jerel enjoys sitting with his wife, Merrily, during the Wednesday night service.


Follow this series about CBI… Part 2 Explains how CBI prepares its students for future leadership roles. Part 3 Discusses the transformation that occurs in CBI students through the Holy Spirit and the dynamics of a successful senior pastor/assistant pastor relationship.

(To learn more about Mayfair Travel, visit their website)

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.