God Is on the Move in 2022: Investing in Pastors to Advance the Gospel
As discussed by Alan Benson on The Steve Noble Show on Jan. 6.
To paraphrase the old saying about the month of March, the New Year is coming in like a lion — but we at BJU Seminary believe it can go out with the Lamb.
The roaring lion Satan (1 Pet. 5:8) is on the prowl in 2022. Omicron’s new daily infection records are stoking fear and chaos. Inflation is hitting generational highs, store shelves are unstocked and labor shortages abound. Moral truths and God-given identities continue to dissolve, leaving America so polarized socially, racially and politically that researchers warn of a “tipping point” where differences become irreconcilable.1
Moreover, church leaders remind us almost daily that we are also challenged by a pastor shortage. And that shortage could get worse. Per Barna research, 40% of pastors have considered leaving the ministry.
These circumstances evoke the “perilous times” of the last days Paul forecasts in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers … unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good … lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (KJV).
Our Hope and Opportunity
But we know the Lamb of God is also on the move. He has His own purpose in the fear, confusion, division and drift gripping our broken culture and our churches. At BJU Seminary, we are convinced that purpose is to give us the greatest Gospel opportunity since the Reformation as lost people look for answers.
In order to capitalize on this Gospel opportunity, we believe we need to be on the move with God by committedly living out the prayer the Lord Himself directed: “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38, ESV). That commitment is reflected in our 500x5x5 strategic vision of putting 500 pastors on the path to the pulpit in the next five years — and every five years after that.
Sending laborers into the harvest, therefore, requires investing in the next generation of faithful pastors and church leaders, which Paul exemplifies further down in 2 Timothy 3:
Paul’s investment started with proclaiming truth into the life of Timothy as well as the entire complement of elders he left the young disciple behind to lead at the Ephesian church (Acts 20:27-32; 1 Tim. 1:3). And clearly, Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5) had done the same:
“Thou hast fully known my doctrine … . But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:10, 14-15, KJV).
The importance of investing in pastors via proclamation is clear: we may struggle in reaching a broken culture on our own, but the Word of God is always able! Which is why Paul encourages Timothy to pay this proclamation investment forward: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. … Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:2, 5).
Paul also modeled a holy “manner of life” (2 Tim. 3:10; 1 Thess. 2:10; 1 Cor. 11:1-2), and encourages Timothy to follow in his footsteps for the sake of the flock and the Gospel: “Be thou an example of the believers … in purity. … Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:12, 16).
Paul was also an example of devotion to prayer. In leaving Timothy with the elders, he knelt in supplication with them (Acts 20:36). And in 1 Timothy 2 he specifically references prayer’s power to bring the lost to Christ: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; … For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (v. 1, 3-4).
Investing in Pastors Through CoRE Conference
All of this instruction shaped our upcoming 2022 CoRE Conference (Jan. 31–Feb. 1), titled “AWAKE! Proclaiming Truth to a Broken Culture.” Our goal is that this event will be more than a moment, but rather will help launch a movement of God’s Spirit in churches toward Paul’s three P’s. We want to help catalyze the mobilization of a mutually supporting and encouraging army of pastors and church leaders, who re-awaken their churches to the power of prayer, personal holiness and fearless proclamation of God’s truth salvation into this broken culture.
We are already bathing this event in prayer with a group of pastors and leaders gathering weekly to intercede. And the two days of teaching on key issues challenging pastors and churches today will also be interspersed with times of fellowship, sharing of burdens and intercession that we hope will provide the basis for abiding relationships as we return to our ministries.
Early bird registration ($75, $25 for spouses) ends Friday, Jan. 14. Will you — pastors, church leaders and church members — take this step now to join us in joining God on the move in 2022 — investing in pastors and one another to advance this great Gospel opportunity?
1 Nicole Karlis, “The Political Divide in the United States Has Become Irreconcilable, Study Says,” Dec. 8, 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/12/08/us-political-polarization-tipping-point/