Interview at Grace Leadership Institute with Art Bartelson, a recent GLI Christian Leadership Certificate program graduate.

JL: Art, What prompted you to want to take the Leadership Certificate courses

AB: Well, being a leader in my church, I always like to learn and self-improve. 

When this course became available, I was in the hospital for the first round so I was unable to attend when he had his first 101 class. I started with the 102 class and did the 103 and came back and did the 101. So it was rather convenient not to have to follow them in order. 

JL: Tell me again the name of your church?

AB: Believers International Worship Center 

JL: How would you say you’ve grown from taking the Leadership Certificate course? 

AB: It gave me a better understanding of Biblical leadership as opposed to Business leadership. The course is rooted in scripture. Servant leadership has always been something that has fascinated me, and I try to study it as much as I can. The aspect of just becoming a better servant and helping those around me makes me happy. 

JL: I get that.

JL: If you were asked for your biggest takeaway, particularly from this last one, the Leadership 101 course, what would you say?

AB: The background of your name.

JL: I loved that part! 

AB: All throughout scripture, when God encountered Man, he always had a name for them. If that name wasn’t sufficient or the individual had to be reminded, God took care of that. In the 102 and 103, I think the biggest takeaway through that is the overall purpose of spiritual disciplines. So, the practicing of those on a daily basis is tantamount to Christian leadership. To have that relationship with God and be able to put your best foot forward in spite of yourself, but following the lead of God and his will not only in your life but in how you worship him and serve others. 

JL: I remember we were in the same Spiritual disciplines class. Was there anything you added to your repertoire? 

AB: I’d have to say that in my daily planner there is a section and I’ve tried to practice one or two spiritual disciplines per week. And then I’ve jotted down scripture that come to mind or setting aside a personal study time. During that personal time it’s just solitude with God. Not only is it convicting but it also puts me at ease. It give me insight into his will. 

JL: You mentioned the name thing, from Leadership 101. I loved that part, too. Will you tell me your whole name and what each part means?

AB: Well, my full name is Arthur Howard Bartelson. The first name of Arthur was in Roman times Arturios, which according to sources, is “rock”. The other (meaning) is “defender”. 

“Howard” I didn’t find much on. Bartelson is “Son of Bartel”, the closest thing I’ve come to was “an unwavering stand.” It originally started out as “Bark,” like the bark on a tree. So, having that in mind, the Jewish and Roman interpretations of that had unwavering roots. That’s what I liked about that. I never researched my name before.

JL: What was your response to learning what your name meant? 

AB: I really didn’t have a response to what my name meant but looking at the aspects of my life that I’ve taken for granted, I see that actions and thoughts and characteristics kind of met what my name means whether I knew it or not.  

JL: That’s insightful. 

JL: Who would you recommend this class to? 

AB: I’d have to say any individual who is looking for a good foundation for Christian leadership. Who may be thinking of a role in a local church or a local organization. Some of the characteristics and such that were brought forth in all of the classes were interchangeable between business and church. So, having a well-rounded foundation before going on to more in-depth classes, I think this would be a good stepping stone.  

JL: What was a personal challenge to you when you took the class? 

AB: Outside of taking a closer look inward, the characteristics of a leader and then the competencies of some of the subjects that were brought forward, as well as some of the homework assignments, made me look at myself and my approach to different things, but I didn’t view it as a struggle or as an issue. 

JL: What new relationships have you developed from going through the classes? 

AB: Well, the two individuals who started with me, Hyder and Miguel, were my recent mentees for ministerial training. I was entrusted with their training, and they were both granted their ministerial license. And since then, I have two more. Having the zeal for learning and sharing what I’ve learned, I’ve been entrusted with that, as well as a church leader myself, to be able to share what I know and (to share) my study habits with others. I find that very satisfying.

JL: How would you describe the courses to someone who said, “Well, I’m not really a leader.”?

AB: Whether they view themselves that way or not, everyone has that potential. Whether it’s helping someone cross the road or helping someone in a grocery store get an item they can’t reach, there are underlying characteristics in everyone that could make them a leader. The individual may not see those attributes at first, but classes like this let them know you are a unique individual, blessed by God, and whether you understand it or not, every one of us has a calling. Not necessarily to uphold it, it may not be active participation in the church. You can be active in your community, you can be active at school, you can be active in your community. If you are a parent, you are a leader whether you want to believe it or not. Because your children follow your lead, your family follows your lead. 

AB: One of the key things with this class was hearing from authors and some of the videos where those questions were answered, maybe in a different manner than I just did. Even in the workplace, at any time, you could be called on at any time, you know?. “Hey, I need you to do this. I need you to do that.” So, just having that skill set could make you further your career or your calling.

JL: What’s next for you? 

AB: Well, the skies the limit. There are additional classes here which I am taking. Right now, I’m taking the TCL 104 course, which is “Key Skills for Today’s Church Leaders.” In the Spring, I will be taking the TCL 109 class, which is on mental health.

It’s an easy place to learn. The staff is wonderful. That’s a plug. 

I’m impressed with how they are able to get college professors to come in here to teach. The TCL 101 course with Seulgi. It was an Old Testament course called “How to Read and Interpret the Bible.” His knowledge and interpretation of scripture and having been to the places that are in the Bible. He was able to reflect on that.  

He’s going to be teaching it again (in the spring).

AB: I’d like to see a class done on the writings of Paul. I like his writing. It’s blunt and to the point.  

JL: I want to personally say thank you because you do a lot of “heavy lifting” as they say, with the technology. 

AB: You’re welcome. I find being able to use the technology is easy.  

JL: Thanks for being willing to go outside of your comfort zone to do this interview. 

AB: You’re welcome.

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