School of Applied Ministry

What is the School for Applied Ministry (SAM)?

SAM is a program for those church pastors who desire to deepen their relationship with God and gain a better understanding of their ministerial gifts and calling. Most pastors are grateful for their Bible colleges, seminaries, and books that prepared them well in the classical disciplines. SAM will help pastors to be better prepared for practical issues, practical ministries and provide effective shepherding.

Pastors will learn in a practical and empowering environment to become better servant church leaders. SAM provides time focused on fellowship, prayer and building sustaining relationships for the work of congregational leadership. We believe that church leaders who commit themselves to excellence will grow and flourish, and even become more satisfied in ministry. Very simply, SAM equips church leaders to be successful in the modern church era.

Why was SAM created?

Pastors are often criticized, second-guessed, underpaid, and expected to do too many things. Many have been thrust into their positions without much practical knowledge.  Simply put, expectations of pastors can be overwhelming. In that light, we have created the School of Applied Ministry (SAM) to help pastors be better prepared and better equipped.

Who should attend SAM?

SAM is targeting pastors who may need some coaching or encouragement.  Our focus will be on helping them get equipped, informed—exposing them to many “how to” things. We are aware of the desperate need for good and effective help in local churches. Many church leaders are struggling as they look for high-impact and low-maintenance pastors and shepherds. We understand that need and are willing to help raise up capable leaders.

What is Deer Flat Church?

Deer Flat Free Methodist Church in Caldwell, Idaho was established by pioneers over 100 years ago.  During that time, Deer Flat has been blessed with a continuum of leadership that has spanned decades and has created an organic mentor/mentee relationship over generations of pastors.  With active pastoral staff ranging from 20 to 80 years old, the leadership at our church believes that practical ministry can best be taught through passed-on experience and wisdom. Deer Flat has a heart to share this unique approach with pastors across the country.

What is the Time Commitment?

  1. A two-year program for 20 pastors, the cohort meets in retreat four times over the two years. The cohort consist of pastors and pastoral mentors and seeks to explore the value of learning communities for ministry and leadership.
  2. Pastors from all denominations can attend and a maximum of 20 pastors.
  3. Two annual sessions and once-monthly Zoom sessions.

What is the Cost?

SAM is a two-year program that will meet twice a year in person and once a month online. Cost: *$4,000 total, *$2,000/year. Fee’s cover all meals and lodging while attending (see sample agenda). Your are responsible for your travel to the event.

For more information click on the button below or contact

Sample Agenda

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Arrival, Registration and Reception

9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Continental Breakfast and attend services at Deer Flat Church

8:30 am to 9:00 am: Continental Breakfast

9:00 am to 10:00 am: Session 1
Dave McGarrah, Getting the Job Done

10:00 am to 10:30 am Break

10:30 am to 12:00 pm: Session 2
Ryan Stoops, Organizing and Operating with Board Members

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00 pm to 2:30 pm: Session 3
Kay Cole, The Church as Your Mistress

2:45 pm to 3:00 pm: Break

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm: Session 4
Rick Day, Administration and Ethics

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Evening Reception and Dinner

8:30 am to 9:00 am: Continental Breakfast

9:00am to 10:00am: Session 5
Ryan Stoops, Loving Difficult People, Confrontation and Criticism

10:00 am to 10:30 am Break

10:30 am to 12:00 pm: Session 6
Dave McGarrah, Casting Vision

12:00 pm to 1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30 pm to 3:00 pm: Session 7
Rick Day, Technology, Websites and Social Media Best Practices

3:00 pm to 3:30 pm Break

3:30 pm to 5:00 pm: Session 8
Kay Cole, Don’t Shoot the Sacred Cows

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Evening Reception and Dinner

8:30 am to 9:00 am: Continental Breakfast

9:00 am to 10:00 am: Session 9
Kay Cole, How to Avoid Getting Fired and Move the Church Forward

10:00 am to 10:30 am Break

10:30 am to 12:00 pm: Session 10
Closing Panel Discussion


Ryan Stoops

Lead Pastor

Dave McGarrah

Teaching Pastor

Kay Cole

Pastor (Retired)

Rick Day

Executive Administrator