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The Institute of Applied Ministry

The Institute of Applied Ministry (I.AM) is the official ministerial development program for New Vision International Ministries. This program is for individuals who are discerning a call to Christian ministry. 

We are preparing leaders for traditional, para-church and marketplace ministry through character development, theological education and practical training.


We open enrollment to I.AM every two years to members of New Vision. Applications for I AM are now closed.

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Our Approach

The word APPLIED means "put to practical use as opposed to being theoretical." The goal of the Institute of Applied Ministry (I.AM) is to provide individuals with ministerial training that is not simply theoretical, but practical for the times that we live in. 

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Founder & Chancellor

Pastor Dexter B. Upshaw Jr.

Pastor Dexter Upshaw established the Institute of Applied Ministry in 2021, with the goal of equipping the next generation of ministry leaders.

Grounded in Scripture and led by the Holy Spirit, Pastor Dexter teaches theology from a traditional Christ-centered biblical worldview. 

His goal is to equip students to apply a biblical worldview to an ever-changing culture than desperately needs a never-changing Gospel.

The methods may change, but the message remains the same.

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Should I enroll?

The Institute of Applied Ministry (I.AM) might be a fit for you, if you say yes to any of the following statements:

Traditional Ministry

I feel called to traditional preaching, teaching, or pastoral ministry.

Transfer of Credentials

I have credentials from another church, but want to to submit to New Vision's ministerial culture.

Para-Church Ministry

I serve or lead in another para-church ministry or organization and want proper training and covering.


I feel called to the local or international mission field.

Bible Student

am a serious believer, who simply wants to grow in the Word of God.

Creative Arts

I have a creative arts gift (music, dance, visual art, etc.) and I want to worship with a greater level of biblical understanding and anointing. 

Marketplace Ministry

I am a marketplace leader who wants to be equipped to minister in my profession, trade, or business outside of the four walls of the local church.

Four Years

Completion of this four year program will result in ministry certification, licensure, or ordination under the credentialing of New Vision International Ministries.


Personal Devotion & Ethics

  • What is Ministry? 

  • The Work of Salvation

  • Christian Character & Personal Holiness

  • Sin, Repentance, & Restoration

  • Biblical Worldview 

  • Tenets of the Faith & Spiritual Disciplines

  • Honor Culture - Submitting to Leadership & Each Other

  • Resilience & Emotional Health in Ministry


Ministerial Excellence & Ethics

  • The Weight of Licensed and Ordained Ministry: Separation, Suffering, and Success

  • The Prophetic Edge of Preaching

  • Homiletics - More Than a Sermon

    • Hearing from God

    • Exegesis vs Eisegesis

    • Preaching for results, not response

    • Content vs Style

    • Structure and Delivery

  • Protocol 

    • Proper Covering

    • Preaching Engagements

    • Inter-Congregational Ethics

    • Confidentiality

    • Social Media Decorum

  • Operating in Five-Fold Ministry: The Ethics of Utilizing Gifts

  • Having Authority, and Being Under Authority: The Necessity of Submission

  • Ministry Specialization


Intro to Theology

  • Who is God?

  • What is the Gospel?

  • What is the Church: Ecclesiology

  • Intro to Bible Study Methods

  • Leadership Formation

  • Pneumatology & Spiritual Gifts

  • Sexuality & Scripture


Advanced Studies & Apprenticeship

  • Preaching in Post-Modern Culture

    • Pop Culture & Social Media, Law and Politics, Academia, Hollywood, Mainstream Media

  • Intro to Organizational Leadership

    • Understanding corporate structures

    • Finance & accounting

    • Managing staff

    • Marketing & communications

    • Intro to Community & Government Relations

  • Intro to Chaplaincy

    • Hospital

    • Prison

    • Palliative Care

    • Bereavement / Death

    • First Response

  • Intro to Officiating

    • Weddings

    • Funerals

    • Baby Dedications

  • Intro to Counseling and Conflict Mediation

  • Specialization: Should complete 120 hours of qualified, specialized ministry service between Year 3 and Year 4.

Our Crest

Learn the meaning behind the crest of the Institute of Applied Ministry.


Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin is noted for teaching pastors to "keep a bible in one hand, and a newspaper in the other." A necessary skill of all ministry leaders is to properly interpret the bible and apply it in the midst of an ever-changing cultural landscape and significant current events.

2 Tim 3:16 • Matthew 4:3 • 1 Chronicles 12:32


While rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah instructed works to keep their tool in one hand, and weapon in the other hand. As ministry leaders who are "doing the work of the Kingdom" we must be constantly aware of the Adversary, always ready to defend the faith and complete our assignment. 

Hebrews 4:12 • Nehemiah 4:17 •  2 Cor 10:4


Five stars denote the highest class or quality. We will raise up and release leaders who possess the spirit of excellence.

Daniel 6:3 • Proverbs 22:29 • 1 Kings 10:1-13


White denotes the purity of salvation: Ministers must be born again.

Purple denotes royalty: Ministers have delegated authority from the King.

Black represents dying to self: Ministers must not be self-serving.

Ephesians 2:8-9 • 1 Peter 2:9 • Galatians 5:24

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