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 event 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 21st-century American church is navigating difficult waters: 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 minister in these tumultuous times? What should the church think about the broad spectrum of current social agendas? Practically, what must believers know 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 in which the church finds itself 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 served at the Pacific Garden Mission (PGM) in the heart of downtown Chicago 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, and was readily available for those in need from the community. Ervin served at PGM as chaplain for 23 years and retired August 2018.


The lecture series sessions will be streamed over the course of two evenings; the first evening will go from 7-9:30 p.m. and the second will go from 7-8 p.m. EST. The stream will include live chat discussions with BJU Seminary professors on topics related to the sessions. View the updated schedule below.

Thursday, November 12

  • 7:00-8:15 p.m. Ministering to God’s People in a Time of Cultural Upheaval (Lee Ormiston)
  • 8:15-9:30 p.m. Rightly Responding to Cultural Upheaval (Ervin McNeill)

Friday, November 13

  • 7:00-8:00 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. You will receive the streaming link in an email before the event.