When an organization faces challenging circumstances, the temptation is to focus decision-making on solving presenting problems.  While some fires do have to be put out immediately, veteran leaders know better than attempting to regain organizational health by focusing on the tyranny of the urgent.

The best example in our seminary’s history was when we experienced multiple challenges related to redeveloping our former campus in the Bay Area.  We were facing legal, political, financial, strategic, and spiritual issues – all coming at us simultaneously and intertwined in ever-changing ways.  Coming to work every day was like facing a many-headed monster with re-generating capacities.  Every time progress was made on one problem, another problem grew a new dimension.

As we grappled with these issues for four years, what kept us centered was maintaining mission discipline.  That meant we continually reminded each other of our mission – shaping leaders who expand God’s kingdom around the world – and made decisions about allocating our time, energy, money, and influence accordingly.  Even with the land development concerns pressing us often, we kept our leader-shaping work at the forefront of how we spent our time, money, energy, and influence.  In the end, the decision to relocate was not about resolving legal, political, or financial issues.  It was about our mission.  We ultimately asked just one question, “Which better serves our mission – staying or going?”  The answer, when reduced to that one question, was clear then and has proven correct multiple times over the past five years.

The Southern Baptist Convention will meet in two weeks facing a similar situation.  Various groups are telling us their issue is the most important one and solving each problem the right way will determine our future.  While current problems deserve appropriate attention, sorting out which ones and how much to do about each one will require wisdom from our leaders and discernment from the messengers.  But no matter what else gets decided, our future will largely be determined by our ability to focus on our unifying mission of getting the gospel to the billions who have not yet heard it.

Our mission, in its most basic expression, is getting the gospel to more people.  It is not perfectly and permanently solving gospel issues, however, appealing that phrase may sound.  For Christians, almost every issue is connected to gospel-centered living.  That’s a part of our sanctification and an understandable connection.  But a preoccupation with gospel issues can lead to a diminished focus on our primary responsibility – sharing the gospel with people who have not yet heard it – not debating how we are supposed to live the gospel effectively.

Mission discipline is essential in every organization, including churches, ministries, and denominations.  When we lose it, we dissipate our energy and disintegrate our unity.  We find ourselves ricocheting from crisis to crisis without a center stake to hold us together.  Leaders know how frustrating this can be.  Our words, lives, and decisions must reflect mission discipline for any organization we lead to thrive.  Our overarching mission as Southern Baptists – churches, entities, and denominational units – is getting the gospel to more people.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd and the SBC Executive Committee have made an intentional effort to elevate our mission at this convention.  Dr. Floyd has spearheaded Vision 2025 – five strategic goals centered on our mission.  I recently blogged about each goal and have a printed version of the Vision 2025 card on my desk to remind me daily to work proactively on our core mission.  While we may debate many things for a few minutes at our upcoming meeting, my hope is we will spend many hours celebrating, praying, and strategizing about our mission.

Southern Baptists know people need the gospel and it’s our job to get it to them.  May God give us the grace to center our attention on that mission.

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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
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.


Study Isaiah
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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.


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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