One of the best traditions in our family is putting up the Christmas tree. Of course, it’s just Ann and me doing it these days. But it is still a meaningful time for us because of a tradition we started many years ago.

For years, we have collected or made a Christmas ornament as a souvenir from every trip we have taken together. This simple practice has given us a way to commemorate our travels without collecting too many trinkets. On a few occasions, we have had to create an ornament from a small piece of memorabilia (hence, the plastic woman riding a jet ski we turned into an ornament). Yes, Grandma Ann rode a jet ski and yes, she almost tossed Grandpa Jeff off the back (but that’s another story).

As our collection has grown, we have eliminated “store-bought” ornaments and now only use commemorative ornaments. These are all from past trips or other significant events in our family’s history. Every year, putting up our Christmas tree is a walk down memory lane. We pull out the ornaments, talk about the trips or events they commemorate, and share memories (like the ridiculous two-mile walk in tropical heat because I was convinced the beach was just down the block). Most of the memories are happier than that one!

Whether you adopt our plan or not, building family memories is part of creating a healthy family legacy. Most families have their struggles, and those tend to stand out and get more attention. Why not find a way to memorialize your positive experiences and make those a vital part of the stories you tell, the history you repeat, and the narrative you live? While you may not use our Christmas ornament method, find a way to celebrate the memories that define the best aspects of your family.

Collective memories, what is sometimes called institutional or community memories, are one way we connect to meaning in life greater than our personal experience. That’s why rehearsing the Christmas story every year, even though we know how it turns out, is such an important part of our collective faith. It connects to the core elements of what it means to be a Christian—personal, simple devotion to a Savior and Lord who identifies with us in our humanity and frailty—to the global Christian community.

So go to church this week. Hear the same story you have heard many times. Let it connect you, in a fresh way, to your community and the Christian community through the ages. That’s a good memory to celebrate this week!


Read More

Forgiveness, Restoration, and Pastoral Integrity

Forgiveness, restoration, and pastoral integrity are pressing issues in our generation – as they have been throughout history and will be in the future. Yet, as believers, our commitment to robust church fellowship demands we do this hard work.

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.

When Words Fail

Dr. Iorg responds to the Tyre Nichols tragedy and commends the response of the Nichols family.

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.

Relationships Matter: Confirmed Again

Dr. Iorg reaffirms the importance of relationships and asks the church to make three choices to promote healthy community.

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.

Listen

10 Questions with 10 Pastors
January 31, 2023

Brian Simms

In this new episode, our host is joined by Brian Simms, senior pastor of CrossPointe Church in Fontana, CA. Pastor Brian shares his process of how choosing the sermon themes for the year, how he gets organized for the week, and how he has grown over the years.
Lead On Podcast
January 29, 2023

Women in Ministry with Dr. Alicia Wong

Dr. Iorg and talks with Dr. Alicia Wong about the various roles women can take in ministry and especially in church planting.

Watch

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.

Get updates on new content!