Our Ministry
The American Baptist Churches of Ohio Leadership Academy is a ministry of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio (ABC Ohio) and the Cleveland Baptist Association of American Baptist Churches (CBA).
Our Mission
The mission of the Ohio Leadership Academy is to strengthen local churches in ABC Ohio and the CBA through leadership enrichment and professional ministry preparation. 
Our Program and Curriculum

The ABC Ohio Leadership Academy was founded over twenty years ago. In 2015, as the result of a new partnership between American Baptist Churches of Ohio and the Cleveland Baptist Association, the Academy became known as the Ohio Leadership Academy. The Ohio Leadership Academy is a three-year course of study for the purpose of Leadership Enrichment and Professional Ministry Development.

During the three-year course of study, classes meet in four weekend intensives in November, January, March, and May. Students participate in a total of five two hour courses each weekend, leading to a 120 credit hour certificate of completion in subjects such as Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, Baptist History, Church Leadership, Worship, and Preaching.

Our goal is to prepare men and women to serve American Baptist Churches in positions of leadership throughout our state. Good leaders are essential to that vision.

The Academy presents a concentrated course of study, requiring out of class reading, writing assignments, and practical ministry experience, as well as attendance at every intensive in order to complete the program.

New Student Orientation and Graduating Student Commencement Exercises take place each September.

Our Students
Academy students include:

  • individuals who come for personal Christian enrichment;
  • those who desire to serve more effectively as lay leaders in their congregations; and
  • those who have recognized God’s call to pastoral or other forms of ministry.

The ABC Ohio and CBA partnership has opened the opportunity for students from both regions to apply for admission. Currently, all intensives are conducted at First Baptist Church, 12259 North Old 3 C Road, Sunbury, Ohio 43074. An eventual goal of the Academy is to administer both a Cleveland Cohort and a Sunbury Cohort to accommodate travel from both the northern and southern parts of the state and to offer geographically related electives.

For admission to the Academy, students must be given strong recommendations by their local church pastors or the appropriate church body of their participating ABC Ohio or CBA churches and endorsed by their respective Region. Applications for Admission can be downloaded at www.abc-ohio.org or www.cbacleveland.org.

Our Faculty
Academy faculty are American Baptist ministers who are passionate about the gospel and committed to healthy local church ministry. These men and women are also committed to excellence in the educational preparation of students who will serve in a variety of leadership roles in local church congregations.

All faculty members are graduates of accredited theological institutions who hold masters and/or doctoral degrees. Each of them has experience in professional ministry, utilizing the knowledge and practicing the skills or disciplines he or she teaches in the Academy.

Our Graduates
Since the original ABC/Ohio Leadership Academy opened its doors over twenty years ago, more than 100 students have attended the full three-year course of study and graduated. All Academy graduates have received personal enrichment through their course study, and most are serving in leadership capacities in their local church, leading in a host of various ministries. Churches served by graduates are enabled to enhance their capacity for quality ministry while increasing the quantity of ministries they offer. In recent years more than a dozen graduates have been serving as pastors in ABC/Ohio and CBA churches after being licensed by their congregations or completing the regions’ requirements for Track Three ABC Ordination. Effective with the 2017 Graduating Class, candidates for Track Three Ordination will be assigned a Mentor Pastor who will provide encouragement and practical ministry guidance to these individuals for up to three years following graduation.

Our Academy Tuition and Fees
Tuition covers instructional fees and lunch on the Saturday of each Intensive Weekend.

  • Additional costs to students include books, other instructional materials, and travel expenses, including meals and overnight lodging as needed.
  • We are pleased that tuition has remained low and well below the cost of seminary education.
  • Incremental price increases can be expected in order to cover the cost of innovations in the Academy.
  • Changes in tuition and fees will be posted on www.abc-ohio.org and www.cbacleveland.org when available.


Administration And Leadership

The Academy is guided by a Leadership Team appointed and endorsed by the Region Boards.

Rev. Jane Gibbons, Regional Minister, ABC Ohio Leadership Academy Staff Coordinator

Rev. Dr. Ernest Jones, Executive Minister, ABC Ohio

Rev. Yvonne Carter, Executive Minister, CBA

Cleveland Baptist Association, 12200 Fairhill Avenue, Cleveland OH 44120 p216-325-7730

American Baptist Churches of Ohio, 136 N. Galway Drive, Granville OH 43023, p740-587-0804

Ongoing leadership for the Academy is provided by:
Dr. Kevin S. Hairston, Dean

Dr. Kevin S. Hairston
Dr. Hairston is the Pastor of Living Word Bible Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio. He is native of Columbus, Ohio, where he graduated from Independence High School. After receiving a degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University. He later attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary where he obtained a Master’s degree in Theological Studies. He received his Doctorate in Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  Dr. Hairston is married to his lovely wife Mia, and his a wonderful daughter Kennedy. 
Jeni Gerber, Admissions Coordinator
Rev. Jane Gibbons, Regional Minister, ABC/Ohio Staff Representative

Ohio Leadership Academy 2011

A collection of photos from the 2011 Ohio Leadership Academy of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio. Click READ MORE to see the full gallery.

Read more: Ohio Leadership Academy 2011