Jeff Iorg

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FIRST-PERSON: Christians need not apply

The Western Elementary School District, which covers parts of Glendale and Phoenix recently ended its contract with Arizona Christian University. The agreement facilitated student-teacher training, which created a pathway to employment for ACU graduates.

FIRST-PERSON: A low view of pastors

A recent Gallup survey had some very bad news for pastors, and by extension, for the church in America. In the survey, only 34 percent rated the honesty and integrity of pastors as very high. Among respondents under age 30, the rate was a much lower 20 percent. These numbers are the lowest since Gallup has been surveying pastoral integrity as part of a larger study of the trust Americans have in various occupations.

FIRST-PERSON: Cooperating on more than money

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) – The Cooperative Program is usually defined in financial terms as the means by which Southern Baptist churches fund their cooperative work. Nothing wrong with that. The Cooperative Program is about sending money through a shared system which funds state and national convention enterprises. The money is both a symbol and result of cooperation.

FIRST-PERSON: Content and community

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) – We enjoy attending live events – concerts, musicals, sporting events, etc. While we enjoy community theater and high school football, we are fortunate to live in the greater Los Angeles area where we also experience world-class entertainment. We have been to many events at stadiums, arenas and concert halls in our area. When we leave, one of my recurring thoughts is “Why are churches trying to replicate these events? We are wasting our time (and energy and money) doing so. We need to learn the discipline of doing what only we can do and doing it well.”

FIRST-PERSON: Protective services

Shadow Christians are people who work in dimly lit margins, in the shadows created by the spotlight shining on others. They are believers who serve quietly, often anonymously, doing the work that keeps churches, organizations, families, and communities functioning. Shadow Christians make an impact even when no one knows their names.

FIRST-PERSON: Cooperation results from being cooperative

For most Southern Baptists, the phrase Cooperative Program is a denominational code for money.  There is nothing really wrong with that since it does describe the major funding process for our work.  But the Cooperative Program is much more.  It describes people working together, believing they can do much more in partnership than as individuals.

FIRST-PERSON: The Cooperative Part

ONTARIO, Calif (BP) – When Southern Baptists use the words “Cooperative Program,” they often focus on the financial aspects of what that phrase means.

FIRST-PERSON: Myths about California

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) – As I travel to speak in the Midwest and South, when Southern Baptists learn I am from California, the reactions are predictable, frustrating, and sometimes amusing. The most common response is “I’m sorry for you” – as if living in California is akin to a spiritual prison sentence. Other responses are often phrased as questions, “Why would you want to live in that awful place?” or “How do you put up with California crazies?” are good examples.

Dejen de robarle a mi suegra

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) – Mi suegra es una fiel bautista del sur de 88 años que vive de unos ingresos fijos en un modesto centro de jubilados. Ama al Señor, su iglesia y a los bautistas del sur. Toda la vida ha sido defensora del Programa Cooperativo y entiende que, como miembro contribuyente de una iglesia bautista del sur, es una financiadora principal del Seminario Gateway. Ella refleja esa comprensión cuando a menudo pregunta: “¿Cómo va mi seminario?”

FIRST-PERSON: Stop stealing from my mother-in-law

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) – My mother-in-law is an 88-year old loyal Southern Baptist who lives on a fixed income in a modest retirement center. She loves the Lord, her church and Southern Baptists. She has been a lifelong advocate of the Cooperative Program and understands, as a contributing member of a Southern Baptist church, she is a primary funder of Gateway Seminary. She reflects that understanding when she often asks, “How is my seminary doing?”