About Us

Who We Are

The Apprentice Institute provides educational experiences in the area of Christian spirituality, develops resources for individual and church renewal, and engages in research to advance the field of Christian formation.

The vision of the Apprentice Institute is the renewal of the world and the Church through the formation of new people and new communities who have begun living a radical Christian life in conformity to the teachings of Jesus, as his apprentices, in the midst of the world, whether in secular or ministry positions.

The Team

James Bryan Smith, Executive Director

Dr. James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School; DMin Fuller Seminary) is the Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith is currently a theology professor at Friends University, in Wichita, Kansas, and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of ten books, most notably The Apprentice Series (InterVarsity Press), which continue to shape the work of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith’s other titles include Devotional Classics (with Richard J. Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Room of Marvels, and Hidden in Christ.  His most recent book, The Magnificent Story, was published in August of 2017, the first book in a new trilogy.  The two other books in the trilogy (The Magnificent Journey, and The Magnificent Mission) will be published in the Fall of 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Keas Keasler, Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Spiritual Formation

Keas Keasler is the program director of the Master of Arts in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership and a theology professor at Friends University. Previously he was the teaching pastor of Rhythm Church in Miami, Florida, a non-denominational church he co-founded in 2010. He has his B.A. from Baylor University, M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology. Keas has done extension work in the areas of spiritual formation and missiology, presented at various conferences around the country, and serves on the board of the Ecclesia Network, a missional network of churches and leaders in North America. Ordained as a Baptist minister, Keas has a deep love for the global church, having traveled and done mission work in over forty countries and preached on six continents.

John Carroll, Director of Operations

John oversees the Apprentice Experience, as well as directs the Institute’s digital platform and Wichita-based local pastor’s network. With a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, John brings a unique blend of experience (corporate recruiting and the local church) to the Apprentice Institute. John is happily married to his wife, Amber, and together they have two children, Aidan and Amelia. In his free time, John enjoys reading, watching football and spending time with family and friends.

Kara Yuza, Coordinator, Programming & Logistics

Holding a B.A. in Religion & Philosophy with an emphasis in Christian spiritual formation from Friends University and a B.A. in communications and public relations from Wichita State University, Kara is the Coordinator of Programming & Logistics for the Apprentice Institute. She served in local church education ministry for over a decade before joining the Apprentice team. Her specialty is in connecting with others and helping them see how God is working in their lives.

Carissa Reynolds, Recruiting Coordinator

Carissa Reynolds is the Recruiting Coordinator for Apprentice Institute. She graduated from Friends University with a B.S. in Psychology & Human Services and Christian Spiritual Formation. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Friends University.  Carissa is passionate about helping individuals learn about and experience life in the Kingdom of God, teaching others how to tell their story and journey towards Christlikeness, and connecting and unifying people groups from different cultures and countries.

Jacob Smith, Graphic/Web Designer & Sound Engineer

Jacob Smith is the Graphic/Web Designer & Sound Engineer for the Apprentice Institute. He graduated from Friends University with a B.A. in Graphic Design with an emphasis in Web Design and a certificate in Christian Spiritual Formation. Jacob has been with the Apprentice Institute for over 5 years and has enjoyed working with such a great team. He is passionate about Christian Spiritual Formation and the impact it has in his life and in others. Jacob enjoys hanging with friends, skiing, and the Denver Broncos.