Stewart Custer Lecture Series

The mission of the Stewart Custer Lecture Series is to honor one of BJU Seminary’s most celebrated scholars—the late Dr. Stewart Custer, who served fifty-six years at BJU. Each fall, we invite a conservative scholar to campus to lecture in his area of expertise. This provides students and area pastors with an opportunity to consider contemporary challenges to the church in light of the critical thinking that undergirds our study of the biblical text.

This year’s theme

The church in America right now is traveling through waters that are difficult to navigate: civil unrest, political upheaval, and social division continue to rise—all on the heels of a global pandemic. How should pastors advise their congregation to respond to those who are taking a public stand against racism? What should the church think about the broad spectrum of current social agendas? What practical things do believers need to know in order to be sensitive to public concerns and express love to everyone in their communities, while still holding forth the truth?

This year’s theme, “Community in Crisis: Ministering in the Midst of Social Turmoil,” will seek to address all of these issues and more from a biblical perspective.


While the lecture series normally features a seminary professor or independent scholar/author, the unusual times the church finds itself in call for practical wisdom from experienced leaders. This year’s speakers have a combined total of over 55 years of experience serving in inner-city communities.

Lee Ormiston

Lee Ormiston is the founding pastor of Family Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis, where he has served over 25 years. He has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Sacred Ministries from Northland Baptist Bible College.

Lee was saved at 27 as a result of the faithful witness of his sister-in-law. At age 40, he left an executive management position to pursue seminary training. He served as Pastor of Evangelism at Fourth Baptist Church while attending Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, MN. When Fourth Baptist Church relocated to Plymouth in 1997, Family Baptist Church was planted to continue a witness in the inter-city Minneapolis neighborhood.

Ervin McNeill

Ervin McNeill is the chaplain of the Pacific Garden Mission (PGM) in the heart of downtown Chicago, where he has served for over 30 years.

Ervin was saved out of a life of drugs and alcohol in 1979 through the ministry of PGM. In August of 1988, God led Ervin to Cross Roads Bible College in Indianapolis, Indiana to study for a degree in Pastoral studies.

Ervin was ordained as a pastor in July of 1995. One month later, he was hired as Chaplain of PGM. His wife, Flossie, was hired to serve with Unshackled!—a radio ministry of PGM—where she served as director until 2016. In his role as chaplain, Ervin taught Bible classes, counseled staff and program personnel, was readily available for those in need from the community. Ervin and his wife served at PGM for 23 years and retired August 2018.


The lecture series sessions will be streamed over the course of two evenings from 7-9 p.m. EST. The stream will also include live chat discussions with BJU Seminary professors on topics related to the sessions.

Thursday, November 12

  • 7:00-8:00 p.m. Ministering to God’s People in a Time of Cultural Upheaval (Lee Ormiston)
  • 8:00-9:00 p.m. Responding to Cultural Upheaval Without Alienating Those Who Share the Concerns of the Protestors (Ervin McNeill)

Friday, November 13

  • 7:00-7:30 p.m. Helping the Homeless and Disenfranchised Find Their Identity in Christ (Ervin McNeill)
  • 7:30-9:00 p.m. A panel discussion with Lee and Pam Ormiston & Ervin and Flossie McNeill providing a transparent view of how the cultural upheaval has affected their family and personal life.


If you would like to attend this free, virtual event, please register with the form below to receive the streaming link.