MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Instead of telling His disciples to work harder when He saw the crowds, Jesus told them to pray for more people to help bring in the harvest, Jeff Iorg said during a convocation at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
“When you pray for more people to witness, be aware most of the people who respond will know very little about sharing their faith,” said Iorg, the seminary’s president. “They will not be fully formed seminary graduates. When you pray this prayer and people volunteer, you have the responsibility to train and equip them.”
Iorg also urged the seminary community to pray for more opportunities to share the Gospel and to take advantage of the doors God opens.
“Ask God for opportunities and for spiritual alertness to recognize and take advantage of these opportunities,” he said, urging students to “speak up for Jesus when you have the chance.”
Iorg identified three experiences that often result in people being spiritually open: deaths, failed relationships and unfulfilled plans. When those events happen, Iorg said, believers should be prepared to step in and share the Gospel.
Praying for bold insight for how to witness is another aspect of prayer related to evangelism, he said.
“Pray to witness clearly in a convoluted world, particularly when the needs of people are so varied,” Iorg said, referring to Ephesians 6:19-20.
Iorg encouraged students to learn the core Gospel message and trust that God will enable them to do their best in every situation.
“I also challenge you to pray for the Gospel to spread rapidly, and for it to be honored,” he said at the Feb. 4 convocation. “Here in the western United States, this prayer is a difficult one of which to feel confident. But no matter how impossible you may feel your prayers are, ask God anyway. He delights in answering impossible prayers.
“Since Romans 10:1 records a prayer specifically for a group of people to be saved, Christians may use this as a model,” Iorg said. “Whether praying for a nation, a neighborhood or a neighbor — pray for them by name.”
Throughout spring chapel services, students, faculty and staff at Golden Gate are encouraged to report results of the seminary’s renewed emphasis on prayer related to evangelism.
CULTURE CLASH ADDRESSED AT GGBTS — Ergun Caner, the keynote speaker at a missions conference at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, said no other Southern Baptist seminary is as open to missions as Golden Gate.
The theme of the three-day 49th annual missions conference on Golden Gate’s Mill Valley, Calif., campus in February was “Culture Clash: When Worldviews Collide.” College students from western states joined seminary students from Golden Gate’s northern and southern California campuses for the event.
“I ask my students to get out of their comfort zone,” Caner, president and dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, said, adding that he was impressed with the way Golden Gate students are being trained to approach the unsaved of different cultures from the mindset of those cultures.
“The way to reach another people group is to study the language and the culture and to speak to the people from their experience,” Caner said. “We should present the Gospel from their perspective. You need to know how to approach unsaved people based on their assumptions, not yours, based on their culture, not yours.”
In addition to Caner’s four lectures, the conference included eight breakout seminars on topics such as “Missions at Our Doorstep,” “Beyond Worldview Differences,” “Doing Volunteer Relief and Development without Making Things Worse” and “Sharing the Gospel in a Shame-Based Culture.”
One of the highlights of the conference was the Urban Excursion on Saturday afternoon. Attendees, accompanied by Golden Gate students, went to several areas in the city to pray, observe and engage people.
“I enjoyed the Urban Excursion,” said Golden Gate seminary student Jeff Malott. “We had a few Chinese girls in our group who had only been in the U.S. for two weeks. It was easy for them to see that San Francisco is like another country, even in the States, and that each neighborhood has its own culture.”
Josiah Metzger, a senior from the University of Utah, travelled with 18 of his fellow students to the Feb. 12-14 missions conference.
“Having a former Muslim as the speaker is better than anything,” Metzger said. “The different perspective Caner brought about reaching unbelievers in various people groups was eye-opening. I also enjoyed the different styles of worship that were represented at the conference.”
Eddie Pate, chair of Golden Gate’s intercultural studies department and director of The Kim School of Global Missions, said the conference focused on a collision of worldviews.
“Dr. Caner did a tremendous job preaching the theme and bringing warmth, enthusiasm and challenge to the sessions through both his content and personal style,” Pate said. “There has been an interesting buzz around the campus following the conference as students continue to discuss areas where we face cultural clash here in the West.”
‘FEAR NOT,’ SPEAKER REMINDS — “Oh Lord, what shall we do?” Robert A. Wilkins Sr. said in quoting from 2 Kings 6:15-17 in a chapel message at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s Mill Valley, Calif., campus.
Wilkins, who was asked to speak by the seminary’s African American Christian Fellowship in conjunction with Black History Month, is the young adult pastor at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland and president and CEO of the YMCA of the East Bay.
Referring to Elisha’s servant’s lament in the 2 Kings passage, Wilkins pointed out that truly anointed servants of God must be faithful in delivering the Word of God, regardless of the circumstances.
“The enemies of God will seek to stop the mouthpiece of God,” Wilkins said in his Feb. 25 message.
“Be advised, and be on the alert,” he counseled. “If you’ve done what is right, if you’re following the Lord, if you’re in the groove and you have momentum, and something pops up to stop that progress, it is natural to say, ‘Oh Lord, what shall we do?'”
Wilkins urged GGBTS students, faculty and staff to remind themselves, as Elisha said in verse 16, “Fear not, do not be afraid. Those that are with us are more than those who are with them.”
God often tells His people to “fear not,” Wilkins reminded.
“Don’t worry, don’t fret,” he said. “When you see the enemy, you can call on Jesus. There is hope, help, peace and power in the name of Jesus.”
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five fully accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.
Based on reports by Phyllis Evans of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.