Christian leaders face a significant challenge of staying focused on our core mission of making disciples. Doing this requires evangelizing the lost, stabilizing new converts, developing stronger believers, and ultimately producing new leaders for our movement. There are so many other distracting agendas—political, social, moral, ethical, and even denominational—that demand attention. Staying focused on our core task is harder than ever.

To give us some rallying points, SBC leaders are laying out common goals to coordinate our denominational efforts in the next few years. Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, along with other entity presidents, will be presenting Vision 2025 at the SBC annual meeting in Nashville in June 2021. This is a concentrated effort to shift our focus from a thousand other things vying for our attention to a few key drivers that will make an eternal difference.

The first of those goals is to “increase full-time, fully-funded missionaries by a net gain of 500, giving us 4,200 full-time, fully-funded missionaries through the International Mission Board.” The second goal is to “add 5,000 new SBC congregations to our Southern Baptist family, giving us over 50,000 congregations.” The third goal is to “increase total workers in the field through a new emphasis on ‘calling out the called’ and then preparing those who are called out by the Lord.”

This third goal is in my wheelhouse! My first book, Is God Calling Me? is still my best-selling book. Christians, particularly younger believers trying to chart a life course, take the question in my title seriously. Understanding and answering God’s call is a priority for them. There is no shortage of interest in this important subject.

And yet, many pastors neglect to preach or teach on this theme. A pastor once asked me, “How’s enrollment at the seminary?” I replied, “I will answer that question if I can first ask you one.” He agreed so I asked, “When is the last time you preached on answering God’s call or even mentioned it publicly? Our enrollment is limited to the people who can articulate a call experience as part of their application. Without you calling out the called, we will have no future enrollment.”

Calling out the called is both a responsibility and a privilege. Western State convention leaders saw this need years ago and agreed to partner with Gateway on “The Call Project”—a five-year effort to emphasize God’s call at every western state convention event involving teenagers or college students. COVID slowed the progress last year, but in 2019 (the first year of the project) 277 teenagers and young adults indicated God had called them to ministry leadership or they were seriously considering the possibility it was happening. God is moving through this project in the West!

We need future leaders. Pray for God to call out more leaders, preach or teach on this important theme, and nurture younger leaders as they take their first tentative steps toward leadership. More than future seminary enrollment is at stake. Our future effectiveness in fulfilling our mission hangs in the balance.


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Personal Timeline Lessons of Ministry Leaders

Kristen Ferguson
Director of Online Education | Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
Dr. Kristen Ferguson serves as the Director of Online Education and associate professor of educational leadership at Gateway Seminary. Her doctoral research at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary investigated evangelical faculty perceptions on online theological education. Her continued research focuses on online course design, blended learning, and online teaching best practices.

The Plain Meaning

Dr. Iorg discusses the simplicity of Bible interrpetation. We cannot let our disobedient hearts guide our interpretation.

Jeff Iorg
President
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

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Study Isaiah
October 3, 2022

Uplifted Hand Oracles and Isaiah’s Commission – Isaiah 5b-6 & 9-10a

This week on Study Isaiah, Paul Wegner and host Tyler Sanders continue hopping around the palistrophe in Isaiah 5-12. First, they cover the uplifted hand oracles and then Isaiah’s commission.
Lead On Podcast
October 2, 2022

Overcoming Destructive Habits

Dr. Iorg explains how destructive habits can be formed by looking for significance and security in places other than Christ.

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Spirituality of Jonathan Edwards | JEC at Gateway Seminary

Dr. Chris Chun hosted a digital symposium with Dr. Michael Haykin and Dr. Robert Caldwell to discuss Edwards’ spirituality, devotional life and theological impact in American Christianity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Faculty Dialogues: Dispensationalism or Not

In this episode of Faculty Dialogues, Dr. David Rathel and Dr. Paul Wegner held a live discussion on their views on dispensationalism.

David Rathel
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Dr. Rathel is the associate professor of Chrisitian Theology at Gateway Seminary. Prior to Gateway, Dr. Rathel supplied pastoral care to churches in the United States and Scotland, served as an Adjunct Professor of Theology and Philosophy for the Baptist College of Florida, and provided teaching assistance for the University of St Andrews.

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