ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Don’t even suggest that Henry Blackaby is retiring. Rather, he is “transitioning” from being an employee of three Southern Baptist agencies to a new ministry called, appropriately, Henry Blackaby Ministries.
The 65-year old best-selling author and speaker ended his unique joint employment relationship in April with the SBC’s publishing agency, LifeWay Christian Resources, and its two mission boards, the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. Although his new ministry organization will work across denominational lines, he said he is still firmly committed to the Southern Baptist Convention, its organizational entities, and his local church, First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Ga.
“Each of the presidents of the three SBC agencies I’ve worked for has asked me to continue to work with them in a consulting relationship,” Blackaby explained. “But I’ll be able to more freely decide which meetings to attend and which efforts to be involved in within the context of the new ministry.”
Blackaby said he will continue to write and speak concerning revival and spiritual awakening through his new ministry, as well as focus on spiritual leadership development for pastors, denominational leaders and lay leaders.
“The constant request from leaders is, ‘Would you help us know the kind of leader we’re supposed to be, that God uses?'” Blackaby said. “I don’t see much today but a mix of the ways of the world and some Scripture, and God never does that. Our people are reading the books and ideas of men and mixing in some Scripture, and God will not honor that.”
Henry Blackaby Ministries already has a staff, a monthly newsletter, a daily radio program and an Internet site, www.henryblackaby.com. And a board of advisers of Christian businessmen is in place.
The staff includes former colleagues and writing partners Kerry Skinner and Henry Brandt. Tony Stinson, formerly with Global Focus Inc., serves as executive director, and Blackaby’s son, Norman, will develop a spiritual leadership training center in Toronto, Canada.
Following graduation from Golden Gate Theological Seminary, Blackaby served as pastor of churches in California and his native Canada. He was hired as director of prayer and spiritual awakening by the former SBC Home Mission Board in 1988, and six years later was jointly employed in a similar capacity by the SBC’s three largest agencies. His discipleship study, “Experiencing God,” has sold 3.5 million copies, been translated into more than 40 languages, and spawned dozens of discipleship products and conferences.
“Henry Blackaby has been a great blessing to the Christian community at large and to Southern Baptist’s in particular,” said Robert E. Reccord, NAMB president. Reccord said his agency looks forward to continuing to work with Blackaby in future projects.
LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said his agency is indebted to Blackaby for his “monumental writing to bring us to experience the continual reality of the presence of our holy God. That experience must be measured by the revealed Word of God, but it is God’s intention for us to know him and live daily in his presence. Henry has vividly described this encounter and given us guidelines for experiencing God personally,” Draper said.
Blackaby told Baptist Press he feels his ministry has had some role in turning the Christian community “back to the Scripture and to a personal relationship with God, but I don’t believe we’re out of the woods as far as God’s judgment is concerned. I cry for revival but also for God to withhold his judgment upon us and turn his people back to him so he can change our nation.”
His “heartcry” for Southern Baptists, he said, is a return to a relationship with God “that he can use to turn a nation back to himself. I think Southern Baptists still have the potential of being the catalyst to pull all evangelical groups together and see a nation come back to God.
“But I think that window of opportunity will not always be open. If we do not pull together with one heart and one mind around a relationship with God on his conditions, we’re of no use to God.
“Southern Baptist are fracturing,” he added. “Too many are doing their own thing, and we’ve lost our interdependence. The ’60s produced an independence that we have not gotten over. I think the single greatest need is to return to a sovereign interdependence among the people of God.”
Blackaby said he and his wife, Marilynn, look forward to spending more time with their five children — all of whom are involved in ministry in the United States, Canada and Europe — and 13 grandchildren. “If there was ever a time in their lives and ministries when they needed us to walk alongside them, it’s now,” Blackaby said. “Our grandchildren hardly know us, and we need to make an investment in them as well,” Marilynn Blackaby added.