When Ministry made its debut in 1928 as an international journal for pastors, it was meant primarily to serve Seventh-day Adventist pastors worldwide. In that role, the journal served well until 1975 when the publishers, the Ministerial Association of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, decided to launch out into new frontiers.
What propelled the new decision was a vision and a commitment: a vision to see ministry as a global mandate and a commitment to make the journal enrich the ministry of the clergy of all denominations, in addition to resourcing the Adventist pastors. Thus began the new venture in April 1975, and now for over 30 years Ministry magazine has gone to clergy of all denominations throughout the world, becoming one of the largest professional journals serving pastors, chaplains, religion teachers, church leaders, and other church workers of all persuasions. Letters pouring in to our office from different parts of the world testify to the value and the wisdom of making Ministry an instrument of professional resource and service to clergy everywhere.
Not long ago the widespread recognition and appreciation of Ministry struck me at a gathering of some 10,000 clergy representing various denominations. In our display, we had about 2,000 copies of Ministry. All the copies were taken away by the pastors long before the convention concluded. Many of the pastors were readers of Ministry, while others had seen it for the first time and wanted to have a copy.
I believe that Ministry has become a stronger journal since its readership has widened. We receive more input on a continuing basis and, therefore, ask ourselves if we are fulfilling our mission to be faithful to the Word of God.
Our vision of ministry has also widened. In addition to offering the journal to clergy of all denominations, we, as publishers of Ministry, started offering seminars aimed at providing quality continuing education to all clergy. So far more than 1,000 seminars have been held in various parts of the world with thousands of clergy participating in these one-day events.
By 1998, technological advances had made it possible for these continuing education seminars to be broadcast by uplinking from one central broadcasting location and then downlinking in numerous centers throughout the world. Thanks to such instant satellite broadcasting, the world’s best preachers and exponents of pastoral calling were made available from one center to thousands of pastors around the globe. Surely, a marvelous ministry to clergy everywhere!
How was this ministry made possible? It was a dynamic cooperative venture of Ministry and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. Kermit Netteburg, at that time director of communications for North America, provided the production team for the first broadcasting, and we provided the program. Since then the Hope Channel broadcasting system has made the program available worldwide, and Adventist Media Productions has produced the event. Now just one event brings together thousands of clergy who participate in quality continuing education. Who knows what new ways will be developed to deliver this important resource even beyond what we are able to provide now.
For nearly ten years I had the privilege of directing these broadcasts. Since I assumed the editorship of Ministry, Anthony R. Kent, an experienced and innovative minister, has been appointed the new director of the Ministry Professional Growth Seminars. You will see him, of course, in this next broadcast, and I am certain he will provide quality continuing education. The next Ministry Professional Growth Seminar will be broadcast on Tuesday, March 21, 2006, with a repeat broadcast on March 22.
The 2006 Professional Growth Seminar will be the tenth annual broadcast that we have organized. The seminars have been broadcast from Canada, Korea, Scotland, and the United States. We have also provided assistance with two broadcasts in South America. The more than 40 different speakers who have made presentations are well-known individuals who also have credibility with clergy. Our readers and viewers have repeatedly expressed appreciation for the quality of the presentations.
This issue of Ministry, in response to clergy requests, carries presentations (adapted for print) from some of the speakers from previous Ministry Professional Growth Seminars, such as Marguerite Shuster and Randy Roberts. Our “Dateline” section presents R. Leslie Holmes, who has broadcast twice via satellite and has spoken at local continuing education events.
Meanwhile, here at Ministry the commitment continues. Willie Hucks, assistant editor; Sheryl Beck, editorial assistant; Mark Sigue, database assistant; and I are committed to maintain the quality and the global service of Ministry, even as we meet the needs of Adventist ministers and the clergy of other denominations for continuing education. To clergy of other denominations and religious organizations, our request is this: Use the parts of our journal that will help you more effectively fulfill the work God has given you to do.
If you are a clergy person from another denomination and would like to receive six complimentary issues of Ministry each year, please contact us as explained on page 3. Or if you have a colleague from another denomination, pass this information on to that individual.
We look forward to seeing you by satellite on March 21, 2006.