Thomas Jefferson Bowen was the first Southern Baptist missionary to both Nigeria and Brazil. His largely forgotten, but captivating story is told in the new book Unthinkable: The Triumph and Tragedy of Forgotten American Hero T. J. Bowen by my friend Jim Hardwicke. The Nigerian and Brazilian Baptist Convention each have millions of members, thousands of churches, as well as schools, camps, and other ministry entities. Bowen’s story is a powerful example of the results which come from planting the gospel in a new place and then letting a century or more go by!

Another more current example is a missionary who has recently led the first people to faith in Jesus in a people group in Southeast Asia. It took them almost a decade of intensive work to reach the first convert. Now dozens are coming to faith. In a generation or two, this nascent movement will likely be a source for missionary outreach to surrounding people. The gospel is compelling for all who hear it and produces missionaries from and in every context.

A wise man once told me, “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in ten.” He encouraged me to take the long view of my work. While some tasks require attention today, the most consequential actions sometimes produce little or no immediate results. However, they do put processes into motion that make a significant impact over time.

My church planting experience is a good example. We started a church more than 30 years ago. The results it is achieving today are a humbling demonstration of God’s ability to accomplish more than we could have imagined when we were setting up equipment hauled from storage in a third-hand truck every week to a public school gymnatorium (yes, that’s a thing). Another example is training students at Gateway. We seldom see a new graduate make a major ministry impact right out of seminary. But every year, we marvel at what those who graduated 20 years ago are now doing. Their impact is profound—and gives meaning to the daily grind of the work we do.

What are you doing right now that will bear fruit in the future? Yes, the demands of today are urgent. But leaders allocate time and invest in activities with an eye on the horizon. We are building now, but also planting shade trees for a future generation.

Take the long view on your work, your family, and the impact you can make by strategically investing time, energy, and money in projects and people that will pay dividends—over time—in God’s kingdom. Your legacy is more than the combined impact of your daily activities. It includes what you do that has generational impact in the future. Make sure that is part of your leadership and life plan.

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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
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.


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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