New version page

Convocation Lecture

Upgrade to remove ads

This preview shows page 1-2 out of 6 pages.

Save
View Full Document
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 6 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 6 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience

Upgrade to remove ads
Unformatted text preview:

1 Encounter: Journal for Pentecostal Ministry, Winter 2008, Vol. 5 Convocation Lecture: Mission in a Rapidly Changing World Steve Lim, D.Min., Academic Dean; Professor of Leadership and Ministry On the occasion of his installation as Academic Dean of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary Two Realities Today’s spiritual leaders confront two realities. First, we live in a world that refuses to stand still. Everything around us appears to be rapidly changing. Consider some of the huge changes during the past generation: • One generation ago, in the United States, Caucasians were clearly in the majority. Now in California, Texas, Florida, and several other states, this is no longer the case. By 2042 an ethnic majority in this country will be nonexistent in the United States. So start getting used to it; we’ll all be minorities! • A generation ago, Americans were largely Protestants. Today this is no longer true. We live in a pluralistic religious environment with the fastest growing demographic segment being those with no religious preference. • A generation ago, China and India struggled with poverty and under-development. Today they are economic powerhouses. China is also an athletic superpower, winning the medal count at the recent Olympics. Who would have imagined? • A generation ago who would have guessed that gay marriage would ever become legal in any state? • Just a generation ago, few people owned personal computers. Jan Maempa, Coordinator of Academic Services, tells me that professors used to have secretaries do their typing for them. Now thanks to modern technology, we have to do our own typing. Maybe the old days weren’t so bad after all! Many of you are familiar with a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Alice finds herself playing in an unusual croquet game in which everything keeps changing. The croquet mallets are actually flamingos with a mind of their own. Alice picks one up and attempts to hit the ball, but the flamingo she holds turns its head, making her miss. Even when the flamingo cooperates by holding still, the balls move on their own because they are actually hedgehogs rolled up into the shape of a ball. Whenever they wish, they unroll themselves and walk over to another place on the court and roll back into a2 ball. Alice is frustrated: How can you play a game, when everything in the game keeps changing? In frustration, spiritual leaders ask: How can we minister effectively, when the culture around us keeps changing? I know that some of the esteemed scholars at AGTS would question the appropriateness of Alice in Wonderland as an academic reference. If so, they will recognize Peter Drucker, a Christian, widely known as the father of modern management theory. He states, “Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. … Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself—its worldview; its basic values; its social and political structure; its arts; its key institutions. … We are currently living through just such a transformation.”i The Western Church confronts a second reality: a Church that is largely stalled. For many centuries Europe served as the center of Christendom. However, the European Church has been in decline for decades while the Muslim population continues to escalate. If present trends continue, more Muslims than Christians will live in Europe before the end of this century. In the United States during 2007, the Assemblies of God (AG) reported the fewest people baptized in water of any year in the past twelve. In the past decade, outside of the growth in ethnic churches, AG church attendance has largely plateaued. Most denominations are doing even worse. Mission and Strategy In the light of these two realities, a rapidly changing world on the one hand and a stalled Western Church on the other, the mission of AGTS is more urgent and relevant than ever: to help revitalize the Church and to evangelize the world. The mission statement of AGTS never ceases to inspire me. It is something to which I can wholeheartedly devote my life. It contains many important scriptural truths, which come from Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. How will we at AGTS accomplish our mission? Our strategy is the same as Jesus’ strategy, when He created the Church to reach the world. That is to shape servant leaders. Jesus spent over three years shaping His disciples, and then after His resurrection provided forty more days of continuing education. Just like Jesus, our strategy is to shape servant leaders. We don’t need more CEOs who command and control; nor do we need those who seek power, privilege, and personal profit. We don’t need spiritual big-shots, but we do need servant leaders. Servant leaders specialize in meeting needs in the Church and the world. They concern themselves with the spiritual needs of others. At the same time, they minister to their practical needs as Jesus did. Servant leaders enable believers to become the best they can be for God. They help others fulfill their potential as servants of God and ambassadors of Christ. At AGTS, not only do we seek to shape leaders who are servants, but also those leaders who possess knowledge and skill. Jesus taught His disciples how to interpret the Scriptures. He shared with them spiritual truths and the meaning of holistic discipleship. He showed them how to minister effectively, and this education would continue after His3 departure, as the Holy Spirit would teach them and lead them into all truth. As faculty and leaders, we must seek wisdom and knowledge from God’s Spirit. To teach our students, we need to discover the biblical paradigms for effective ministry in our changing world. For a stalled Church, it is not enough to tweak existing paradigms based on human traditions. Seeking the next great program won’t produce transformed churches. We cannot repackage the


Download Convocation Lecture
Our administrator received your request to download this document. We will send you the file to your email shortly.
Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Convocation Lecture and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Convocation Lecture 2 2 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?