Director of Training Update

We’ve had a fantastic year of training at Artizo, which is just beginning to wrap up as we approach the summer holidays. Here are some of the exciting things happening in the Artizo community:

  • Over the spring term, we have been training our apprentices in pastoral care with the capable help of our St. John’s Vancouver pastoral care team. We started with the question, “What is pastoral care?” and once we had a broad framework established, walked through each stage of life where significant care opportunities may arise – beginning with baptism, moving through marriage-prep and weddings, caring for young families, handling marital break-down and hospital visits, and finishing with the topic of death, dying, and funerals. I’m very grateful for the expertise James Wagner, Margaret Wilson, and Aaron Roberts have brought to each of these topics. Our apprentices have been greatly grown and blessed.
  • From April 17-19th, we were able to send three apprentices to The Timothy Trust “Preachers’ Refresher” conference in Whistler, a multi-denominational workshop for preaching development. Participants prepared and presented passages of Scripture for feedback and skill development from the facilitators, as well as hearing from world class speakers and sharing fellowship with local pastors. Here is what two of the attendees reported back to us.

“Timothy Trust was a great opportunity to go “behind the scenes” in fellowship with ministers. Learning from David Short and others, a highlight was attending a session at which each participant walked through an expositional framework from the same text in Mark. Seeing how the Holy Spirit was working in each person as they presented their work was wonderful. It displayed in real life the living and breathing word of God in the lives of these ministers. Further, this session further imprinted on me the important work of closely reading and faithfully sitting under the authority of scripture in order to preach expositionally, truly trusting in God to work in and through our humble words and efforts.”


“The Timothy Trust Conference was an intensive and inspiring few days of studying scripture, hearing preaching, enjoying fellowship, and praying together. The teaching we received in the sessions and the impromptu conversations over dinner were very helpful and formative. I walked away from the experience feeling renewed in my vocation as a minister of the gospel and excited to apply what I’d learned to my own practice of preaching. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to attend the conference and would jump at the opportunity if it comes again.”

Preacher’s Refresher Conference, Whistler

  • On May 2nd we hosted our first ever “Artizo Q&A” night aimed at prospective Artizo apprentices for fall 2023. We welcomed eight interested students to the event, who were prayerfully invited by our current apprentices. These apprentices also took a role in sharing the impact Artizo has had for their development and what applicants might expect. It was a very encouraging evening, and our apprentices’ passion to recruit others speaks highly of their training experience. One apprentice shared the following during our evening together,

“I’ve experienced a complete reversal in my understanding of my time here. I thought I moved to Vancouver so Regent College would equip me for ministry, and figured that Artizo would support my degree. Now, I realize that God has actually brought me to Vancouver so I could train in Artizo, and Regent is playing a supportive role while I pursue the ministry opportunities and training Artizo provides.”

What a wonderful testimony to a ministry mindset being caught through the Artizo program. Please pray that God will guide these prospective apprentices, and give us wisdom as we make decisions through the interview process in the month of June.

  • May 14th marked the launch of King’s Cross Church in East Vancouver, planted by two Artizo alumni: Jeremy Graham (2012) and Joel Strecker (2018). Attended by 95 people and Bishop Dan Gifford, it was a service marked by great preaching, satisfying singing, and much joy. Joel reflected how his experience in Artizo especially developed him in adaptability, which is coming in especially handy in church planting. Jeremy credits Artizo with pastoral mentorship that models servant-leadership, preparing him to go and lead teams.
  • On June 11th two Artizo apprentices will be ordained into ANiC. Will Gray will be ordained to the transitional diaconate, and Richard Sandlin to the priesthood. This is a wonderful affirmation of their capability and a confirmation of their calling by the wider church community. It serves as a great encouragement that Artizo is completing our mission of equipping young people for ministry.
  • On June 25th we will celebrate the Artizo graduation of Will Gray, Richard Sandlin, and Fiona Lee at the St. John’s Vancouver 10am service. Graduation from Artizo marks a significant milestone and accomplishment for those who have dedicated two years of ‘sweat equity’ to serving a congregation and growing in their ministry ability. Please pray that God will bless and guide our graduates as they serve and pursue full-time ministry postings.

Overall, I’m incredibly grateful for the apprentices God has given us this year and the ways they have served and grown. God has faithfully answered our prayers to raise up labourers for his harvest, and our current apprentices are incredibly engaged in the program and in their pursuit of ministry. They are service minded, growth oriented, and Gospel driven. They take the ministering of God’s word seriously, and are fully engaged in the process of training by practice, reflection, and feedback.

God has been very faithful to Artizo over the past months and continues to open up new opportunities for training and equipping gifted people for ministry. Please continue to pray for God to bless our endeavors, and that he would provide what we need financially to pursue the opportunities and partnerships ahead.

Your Partner in Ministry,
Rev. Ben Roberts, Artizo Director of Training

Prayers being answered for Artizo

In early May our current Artizo interns, along with trainer Ben Roberts, facilitated an evening to introduce the Artizo program to potential new apprentices. For those of you who have been along on our journey with us you will understand how this is a real answer to prayer. For years we have prayed for God to send strong candidates of good character to train with Artizo. Various hurdles have stood in our way: Our program starts in September, yet many Regent students only arrive in Vancouver in late August and do not hear about the program in time. If the potential recruits don’t hear about Artizo upon arrival their entry to the program can be delayed for six months or a year. Covid happens and nobody shows up in person and then we have no idea how to find them… the list goes on.

This year, however, we are faced with abundance. The Artizo program is operating so well now that it is preceded by a much wider reputation. This is no doubt a result of the new, more robust curriculum Ben has created along with the wonderful sense of fellowship, support and mentoring he has created within the group of current apprentices.

So, at the beginning of May at the Bentley’s house, Ben and the current apprentice cohort hosted a large group of potential candidates who have all expressed a strong desire to be involved with Artizo. After Ben and Executive Director, David Short, talked about the history and methodology of Artizo the discussion was opened up for a Q&A with our current apprentices answering the questions from the prospective candidates.

What an encouragement this was! We heard from the current group that their Artizo relationships with their leaders and with each other have become their most formative spiritual relationships. There was a general consensus they were now “friends for life” and would be leaning on each other as they go on to ministry throughout their lives. When asked if Artizo was worth it, one current apprentice, soon to be ordained, passionately declared “Run, don’t walk, into the arms of Artizo”. When asked about the workload the Artizo program would create in addition to Regent work, another current apprentice assured the group that, while the program was flexible enough that both could be done, had he needed to take a slightly lighter workload at Regent in order to participate in Artizo it would have been worth it. Other apprentices talked about how wonderful it was to be trained in an environment where they were actually learning, being taught, mentored and guided and not, as so often happens in churches, just being relied on to fill gaps that overworked and harried clergy can’t fill. They also spoke of being exposed to areas of ministry that they had previously never had experience with but would be critical to their work as they moved on in ministry.

Perhaps the loveliest part of the evening was that the leadership really didn’t need to “sell” the program. Our current apprentices are so well trained and so grateful for their training that they alone could carry the evening.

To add to all this, it turns out that over the two years the group has also become a talented hospitality and catering team. They swooped into our host’s house with everything needed for the evening, set up, hosted, answered questions, regaled the guests with stories and experiences, and enjoyed the evening. Then they adeptly cleaned up and left. A well-oiled machine that seems to operate with a “no trace” camping ethos!

There is no doubt that God will be sending us a talented and enthusiastic group of apprentices next fall – easily found (they found us), Godly, talented and ahead of schedule!

Such an encouragement. Such an answer to prayer.

Lesley Bentley, Artizo Chair