Remember how you felt before you preached your first sermon? All kinds of thoughts raced through your mind—Did I study enough? Is the sermon properly organized? Will I have good eye contact with the congregation? Or will my eyes be glued to the notes?
That’s how our team felt on March 31, 1998. It was the first broadcast of the Ministry Professional Growth Seminar. Not only was this the first broadcast, it was live. In addition to the hundreds gathered at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, thousands were watching the event at hundreds of sites around the world.
Now it’s ten years and many successful broadcasts later. With another broadcast coming, we hope you will participate on April 22, 2008.
Ten years and looking forward
Ten years ago we embarked on this new mission—to provide quality continuing education for the readers of Ministry and others who joined them. At the time we started these broadcasts, few others were doing them, and some told us that the new approach would not work. But it did work. We received phone calls and emails telling us that groups of clergy had gathered in various locations to participate in the event. Following that first airing, live broadcasts were held not only in the United States, but also from Brazil, Canada, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. We estimate that over the years more than 300,000 clergy of various denominations have participated. Ten years ago we broadcast by satellite. Today we have added Webcasting, and the future will give us new opportunities.
Even with a broadcast technically successful, that does not answer the question of why broadcast. The why of the broadcast is inseparably tied to the why of Ministry, International Journal for Pastors. No member of the editorial and production team of Ministry was born when the first edition of the journal was published in 1928—80 years ago. At that time the journal had a much smaller audience, for it was published for the benefit of Seventh-day Adventist ministers with its circulation mostly Canada- and United States–based. In the 1970s the journal was made available to clergy of other denominations and today more than 70 percent of the readers are not Seventh-day Adventists, which shows that the journal took an expanded mission. Several individuals deserve credit for this new venture, but former editor J. Robert Spangler deserves special mention for his vision. While our reading audience has broadened, our mission has not changed. And, today the journal goes to some 170 countries, making it truly international. Additionally, seven versions of the journal are published in languages other than English.
The satellite broadcasts likewise reach a diverse audience. These broadcasts are truly worldwide, reaching every part of the world within less than 24 hours either by live or delayed broadcasts. Pastors, chaplains, professors, students, church administrators, and key leaders participate in the event. We hope that you will join the next broadcast, as a group of outstanding individuals give presentations that will both challenge and bless us.
Behind the scenes
Although the Professional Growth Seminar has become an important part of our ministry, we consider the production of our journal as the major ministry. What guides the editors in the selection of themes and authors for Ministry? Let us share briefly with you some of the operating principles.
Privilege: We consider it a privilege and honor to communicate with thousands of clergy. We take this honor seriously, and we want the articles to be of such quality that readers will consider the reading of the articles as time well spent.
Biblically faithful: We look upon the Bible—both Old and New Testaments— as the foundation of our faith—not just another source, but also authoritative.
Jesus Christ: As the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, we accept His promise that He will return again in such a manner that all will witness His return.
Salvation: Salvation is God’s gift to us, and God enables us to receive that gift and live the life of faith.
Responsibility: With ethical living central to our calling, clergy must be faithful to God’s call and must live in such a manner that will not bring harm to others.
Not every article will meet your immediate needs, but we pray that every article will be faithful to the biblical message and to the calling that God has given you. The March 2008 issue contains studies of biblical themes and invitations to consider our roles as clergy. We also pray that the upcoming satellite broadcast will be a blessing to you.