Dr. Blake Bradford
Assistant Director for Clergy Development
The Rev. Dr. Blake Bradford, an ordained Elder in the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, was appointed as assistant director of the Center for Vitality in July 2015. Blake resources and coaches the congregations of the Arkansas Conference to take the next steps to become vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world. He is also responsible for the coordination and development of the Arkansas Conference’s programs for clergy recruitment, training, renewal, and remediation. In this position, he collaborates with the Bishop and Cabinet, the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Laity, and the Orders of Elders and Deacons.
Joining the church as a young adult, Blake was baptized at Highland Valley UMC in Little Rock as a college student. He grew up in Little Rock and attended Hendrix College in Conway (B.A., Religion, 1996). After graduation, Blake studied in England at Oxford University’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He read Medieval and Reformation theology for his first master’s degree at Vanderbilt University (M.A., History of Christian Thought, 1998), with a focus on sacramental theology. Blake then earned his Master of Divinity degree at Iliff School of Theology in Denver (M.Div., 2000). Blake also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in parish leadership from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas (D.Min., 2014), where his doctoral project, “Passing the Mantle,” studied the use of peer groups and continuing education in pastoral formation.
Blake has served in churches of different sizes and contexts in Denver, Texarkana, Russellville, and Little Rock, as an associate, solo, and senior pastor. His most recent parish appointment has been as executive pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, a 3500-member congregation, where he worked with clergy, staff, and lay leadership to align and coordinate the church’s ministries. Dr. Bradford has served on the executive committee of the Arkansas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry for several years, organized and directs the Residency Program for those seeking ordination, serves as the Arkansas Annual Conference Parliamentarian, and taught pastoral leadership and administration for the Arkansas Course of Study School. He also served on the board of Connected In Christ, the Arkansas Conference Committee on the Status and Role of Women, and on various District Boards of Ordained Ministry and Superintendency.
Blake’s passions include family, the study of history, and martial arts. He holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Blake and his wife, Kerri, have two children, Gabi and Micah.
Learn more about the Center for Vitality
Learn more about the Bishop’s Mission Plan
Learn more about Dr. Bradford at www.blakebradford.org
Vital Congregations Initiative Modules, such as:
- Right Sizing for Ministry (Church Size Theory)
- Strategic Planning
- Simplified Structure
- Community Connections
- Connections Process for New Member follow-up and acculturation
Conflict Transformation in Congregations
Staffing for Ministry
United Methodist Polity & Discipline
The Role of Associate Pastors & Executive Pastors
Clergy Peer Groups
Leading a Large Congregation
Six Thinking Hats Parallel Thinking & Group Creative Planning
Church History & Historical Theology
Short Biography for Events:
The Rev. Dr. Blake Bradford is the Assistant Director of the Arkansas Conference Center for Vitality. He was baptized and joined the church as a young adult, and now, after serving local churches of different sizes and contexts, Blake resources vital congregations throughout the state and directs the ordination process for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Learn more about at www.blakebradford.org.