Jeff Iorg Blog
Best Job Ever
Feb 23 2015
Last Sunday, I was reminded why being the pastor of a church (of a Baptist church if you are really fortunate!) is the best job ever. I preached at a healthy church where the pastor has served effectively for more than a decade. After the second service (of three), a man in his mid-thirties sought me out to talk about the message. While my message had focused on motivating Christians to meet the needs of people and share the gospel, he told me he was the needy person I had been talking about and he wanted to commit his life to Jesus.
After talking with him briefly, I introduced him to the pastor so I could move into preaching at the next service. After that service, the pastor told me our new friend had committed himself to Jesus. It was only his second time to visit the church, but his desperate situation motivated him to receive the gospel and the hope it offers. That’s why being a pastor is the best job in the world. While I moved on down the road that afternoon, the pastor gets to facilitate this man’s baptism, incorporate him into their church family, and help him learn how to follow Jesus. What could possibly be more rewarding than that?
Don’t get me wrong. I like my job, too. But being a seminary president is like working in wholesale – while pastors work retail. I work behind the scenes training people and shaping leaders who reach people. That’s good work, but without the immediate results of seeing people come to faith in Jesus and be transformed by the gospel.
At the end of the services last Sunday, the church where I was preaching showed a video of all its baptisms from the previous year. Changed life after changed life flashed on the screen. What an amazing, gratifying, thrilling montage! Thank God for faithful pastors who preach, teach, and live the gospel! And, thank God for a good church that let me share their joy this past Sunday. It was like a cool breeze on a hot day, refreshing and invigorating, motivating me to keep doing my job so hundreds of future pastors can do theirs.
Leading People Through Change
Feb 10 2015
At Golden Gate, we are living through the most significant change in our history – and one of the most dramatic changes in the history of American seminaries. We are currently relocating one of the ten largest seminaries in North America, building two entirely new campuses, moving our primary campus operations 400 miles – all while remaining fully operational.
The new facilities and geographic shifts are important aspects of the relocation – but this may surprise you – they are not the most important part of the move. The most important aspect of the move is its impact on people – students, staff, faculty, graduates, donors, and friends – who make up the Golden Gate family. From the beginning, managing the impact on people has been my most significant priority.
Last week, starting the new semester with President’s Convocation gave me the opportunity to address this issue by speaking on “Leading People through Major Change.” We are making the message available by video or as an electronic document. The principles in the message are transferable to anyone leading a major ministry change.
Click here to access the video
Click here to access the manuscript
Tucked within an otherwise humorous Super Bowl ad by T-Mobile was a supposedly comedic line when a woman handed a newborn to his mother, “Sorry, it’s a boy.” The line sounded like a thunderclap to me when I first heard it. The growing cultural bias against boys – really all traditional aspects of maleness – is pervasive, but usually communicated more subtly. This was a far more blatant statement than I anticipated in a Super Bowl commercial. Even if it was supposed to be a comedic line, it was “hostile humor” making a profound point about our culture’s rejecting of boys, men, and masculinity.
If you think I am overreacting, consider what would have happened if the woman would have said, “Sorry, it’s a girl.” Every feminist leader, including every elected official who caters to their lobby, would have been outraged. There would have been boycotts, calls for apologies and resignations, and pledges of sensitivity training for those responsible for the ad. The outcry would have been loud and long!
This commercial stood in contrast to another Super Bowl ad about doing things “like a girl” – which of course honored girls for their efforts and sought to build their self-esteem (which is a worthy goal). So, why is it culturally acceptable to ridicule boys but not girls? Why is giving birth to a boy a disappointment? And why do I think this is a big deal?
Underlying all this is the opposition to maleness, feminization of boys, and rejection of gender distinctives in our culture. The goal is gender-neutrality – genderless participation policies, unisex public facilities, same-sex marriage, etc. Maleness is something to be fixed, not celebrated and shaped.
We might laugh off a silly ad, but the sad result of our cultural determination to redefine manhood is in our future. We won’t be laughing when we get what we are striving for.
Tolerance Wins Again
Jan 26 2015
Last week, the California Supreme Court voted unanimously to prohibit judges from belonging to the Boy Scouts because the group discriminates against homosexuals. The Boy Scouts prohibit homosexuals from serving in their leadership. Now, any California judge who intends to remain on the bench must end his relationship with the Boy Scouts by January 2016.
It’s good to see the court system responding with such tolerance on this issue. As the leading initiators (not legislatures, where laws once originated – but that’s another blog) of so many new rules and regulations assuring tolerance for all, the court system has shown us again what their definition of tolerance looks like. It’s still legal to be a Boy Scout – just not politically correct. The assumption, it seems, is judges who are members of the Boy Scouts just cannot be trusted to make “morally straight” (sound familiar, it’s part of the Boy Scout oath) decisions. Their perspective cannot be tolerated by today’s tolerance thought-leaders.
A judge can be part of any political party, a member of any religion (or no religion), or a member of any almost any exclusive (and by definition discriminatory) private club - but not the dreaded Boy Scouts.
Lesson learned: run afoul of the homosexual lobby at your own risk. It cost the Fire Chief in Atlanta his job and it looks like some judges in California will soon join him on the unemployment line.