Seeking Wise Counsel

By Richard Shipman

“Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Heeding this advice from Proverbs 15:22 to “seek wise counsel,” Kerrick Tweedy of SOAR (Service Oriented Aviation Readiness)—a unique flight/mechanic training school— reached out to JAARS for a consultation on how he might improve the readiness of his students to become aviation mission workers. JAARS is well- known for its aviation training.  Less well- known are the consultation services JAARS provides to assist those who are interested in mission aviation, be they in flight schools, colleges, or by themselves.

SOAR trains pilots and mechanics for aviation mission work, but it is not just another aviation training school.

Kerrick and his wife founded SOAR in 2011 at Bolivar, Missouri, to begin a ministry that prepares pilots and mechanics for full-time mission aviation service. “SOAR is more than just another flight school/mechanic training program,” states Kerrick. “The technical training for flight and maintenance skills is sometimes the simplest part of a mission aviator’s preparation to serve. We address the many factors that can delay or derail a candidate’s path to mission aviation by offering a pathway to missions with practical maintenance and flight experience that we support with a financial model that avoids debt.” With this model, how many of the students have gone on to mission work since SOAR started in 2011? “100 percent,” Kerrick says proudly.

To ensure SOAR can continue this enviable record, Kerrick reached out to JAARS to request a consultation that would evaluate his current students’ progress. Kerrick is very familiar with JAARS. He has hosted three Missions at the Airport events and attended a JAARS refresher course for supervisory pilots. “I have found JAARS to be a very giving organization,” says Kerrick, “and their training program is well -regarded within the aviation mission community.” 

The three-day consultation took place in February 2022 at SOAR’s home base at Bolivar. JAARS pilots Bryan Jones and Tim Ruth conducted the evaluation flights with the student pilots. David Kooistra worked with the mechanics in the hangar. 

JAARS consults with individuals as well as training organizations such as SOAR. “Most individual consultation requests are a by-product of the recruiting process,” notes Bryan. “Dennis Garretson in the Aviation Recruiting Department is the point of contact when a person becomes interested in mission aviation at JAARS. During these initial conversations, Dennis will mention the availability and desirability of consultations—maintenance and/or flight—to give the prospective aviation workers direction for their future.”

What is involved in a consultation, be it for an individual or a group? “Our goal is to assess the students’ proficiency at their level of training and offer suggestions on areas where they could concentrate their effort,” Bryan states. “Flights are NOT technical evaluations, check-rides, or graded activities,” he emphasized. The mechanic consultations share a similar philosophy.

By addressing the many factors that can derail a pilot or mechanic from entering mission service, SOAR has sent 100% of its candidates into mission service since its beginning in 2011.

After every consultation, JAARS sends the requesting organization a confidential report that summarizes the visit and offers suggestions, exclusively for their benefit. Was the consultation helpful to SOAR? “Yes, definitely; we really benefited from the visit,” said Kerrick. “It was very helpful to get an outside perspective to confirm areas where we are doing things right and discover where we could improve. For example, one of the JAARS recommendations was to improve instructor standardization. This reinforced our already-in-progress plan to bring a full-time instructor onboard.” 

The JAARS consultants also identify positives they observe within the programs. Bryan noted how the students at SOAR had the right “attributes” to become successful mission workers: humility, willingness to take instruction, desire to improve their skills, and most importantly, a desire to serve the Lord through aviation. It sounds like the students are also heeding direction from Proverbs: Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. 

The JAARS consultation with SOAR is a good example of how JAARS partners with other Christian organizations to further the development of mission aviation.

The JAARS consultation with SOAR is a good example of how JAARS partners with other Christian organizations to further the development of mission aviation. Anyone who would like to take advantage of a JAARS consultation can contact Dennis Garretson at

You can ensure that JAARS will be able to help those who “seek wise counsel” by contributing to Aviation Training here.