Dr. Blake Bradford

Assistant Director for Clergy Development





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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.

Blake Bradford 2011Joining 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 alongside lay leadership, staff, and fellow clergy 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 the bishop 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 has been a keynote speaker at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Quadrennial Training for Boards of Ordained Ministry and presented at the Church of the Resurrection’s Leadership Institute.

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

Workshops, Consultations, Speaking, & Coaching

¶213 Crossroads Conversations

Vital Congregations Initiative Modules, such as:

  • Right Sizing for Ministry (Church Size Theory)
  • Strategic Planning
  • Simplified Structure
  • Hospitality
  • Community Connections
  • Connections Process for New Member follow-up and acculturation

The Residency In Ministry Process

Conflict Transformation in Congregations

Staffing for Ministry

Ministry Orientation

Congregational Leadership

United Methodist Polity & Discipline

Congregational Administration

The Role of Associate Pastors & Executive Pastors

Stewardship Programs

Clergy Peer Groups

Leading a Large Congregation

Six Thinking Hats Parallel Thinking & Group Creative Planning

Church History & Historical Theology

Sacramental 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 Blake at www.blakebradford.org.


"Creating vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ,who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world."

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