Jeff Iorg Blog
Mexico Was Awesome
Mar 05 2014
We have returned from teaching at the Mexican Baptist Seminary and leading the conference for seminary leaders from across Mexico. It was a very rewarding and fulfilling trip. The Preaching class had 42 students! The conference had leaders from 15 different seminaries or Bible schools. Golden Gate has a growing reputation of academic leadership in Mexico. I am grateful for the faculty and PHD students who have been to Mexico to teach. We are making a solid contribution to improving the work they are doing training future ministry leaders.
The best part of the whole week was the students (and the food!). They are so enthusiastic. By the end of the week, we were sitting around telling jokes – and trying to explain to each other how the humor worked cross-culturally. I’m not sure which was funnier – the jokes we told or the attempts to explain them. But this kind of exchange reveals something important – the students feel comfortable “being themselves” around “Golden Gate people.” That tells me we are being part of their community – which is a very good thing.
The work we are doing with the Mexican Baptist Seminary is strengthening their efforts…and making us a better seminary. When we get our focus off ourselves, and help others, it always does more for the giver than the receiver. I’m glad I’m part of a ministry team that understands it’s not all about us – it’s about fulfilling our mission and partnering with others who are aligned with us.
Leadership Cruise Update
Feb 27 2014
We have had a very good response to our first ever President’s Advisory Council Alaska Leadership Cruise, August 1-8, 2014. Registration is still open, but our reserved room block is filling up. We can still accommodate you, but after April 1, it will become more challenging. So, if you are still pondering – go ahead and make the call. We hope to see you on the high seas!
On the cruise, we will enjoy a week together – marveling at God’s creation as we tour Alaska and learn about leadership. Each day, I will be presenting insights from my new book “Seasons of a Leader’s Life.” Phil Kell, president of the California Baptist Convention, will also present professional information concerning how you can leave a financial legacy (that is both biblical and tax-smart) and will be available for consultations. Dr. Ben Skaug, new to our team at Golden Gate, will be our devotional speaker.
If you have any questions, then please contact Dr. Skaug at 415-380-1498 or email@example.com. You can also learn more about the cruise at www.ggbtscruise.com. This is shaping up as one of the best events we have ever sponsored. We hope to see you there!
Flipping through the channels, I recently stumbled across a show on MTV that was new to me – Girl Code. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t missed anything. It’s a series of interviews of young women – and a few young men – telling young girls the supposed secrets of womanhood. Their counsel is crude and jaded – mostly focusing on promiscuity (doubt they even know what that word means) and vulgarity (being crude is a definite value for the counselors). Watching it was a sad few minutes for me – and then I realized the show had multiple episodes running in a kind of MTV-perversity marathon. Doubly sad!
A few days later, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was released. I opt out of that issue – just don’t want it in my mailbox. But that doesn’t prevent me – or about any other male sports fan – from seeing part of it. The cover is featured on dozens of sports-themed websites each year when it is released. Many young women also see the magazine, not just the cover, and watch their boyfriends drool over it. Again, sad.
About the same time these models of American womanhood were being presented, a popular book was released by a female business leader calling on women to break every barrier and rise to the top of the corporate ladder. Another book, which made a big media splash, reported on the rise of women to dominate enrollment in medical and law schools. Clearly, young women have some very aggressive role models challenging them to rise to leadership roles in society.
All this confuses me. It must be really hard to be a girl these days. Popular culture tells girls to be vulgar vixens, bombshell sex objects, assertive corporate leaders, and respected professionals. And, the truly amazing women can do it all! But I wonder, is this really a healthy message for girls?
The Christian faith is a liberating faith for women. If you don’t believe it, just compare the status of women in “Christian-influenced” nations with the status of women in other nations. It’s not even close! So girls, if you are confused about all the supposed role models in popular culture – take heart. The Bible, and Christian women who base their lives on it, are a timeless model for fulfilling femininity. The Bible has a far better “girl code” than any other source!
You’re my favorite
Feb 17 2014
When petty problems, frustrating distractions, and mandated busy-work make me want to pull my hair out and look for another job – what keeps me going? The students at Golden Gate Seminary. Their zeal, commitment, and relentless devotion to Jesus and his mission are awe-inspiring, motivating, and humbling. Two recent examples have reminded me how special our students really are.
Last week, we went through “dorm-ageddon” or the “great dorm migration” as we jokingly called. A power surge in our area, coupled with three days of continuous rain, caused a major electrical melt-down. We had to relocate about 60 students from campus housing to local hotels. Transportation, meals, medications, work schedules, school schedules, and personal activities were all in turmoil for several days.
When this many people are displaced involuntarily and abruptly, some complaining would be expected. But not by our students! As one said, “This is no big deal. We just roll with it.” Another told me, “An everyday occurrence when I served overseas, no biggie.” A third observed, “If we think this is a big problem, it just shows we aren’t ready for real ministry leadership problems.” Our students made the necessary adjustments, demonstrated positive attitudes, and showed a maturity that made me proud of them.
All this took place while we were getting ready for our annual Missions Conference. Students – plus guests from visiting college groups – spent two days praying for, learning about, and committing to missionary service. These future missionaries have no interest in or desire for position or prestige. They only want enough compensation to meet their basic needs. They are willing to go anywhere, do anything, and make any sacrifice – as long as they feel they are obeying God in the process.
Sometimes – okay quite a few times – when talking one-on-one with a student, I tell them, “You know. You’re one of my favorites.” Word has apparently gotten around about this. One student recently replied, “You seem to have a lot of favorites around here.”
Well, I guess I’m busted. But honestly I do have a lot of favorites. I admire and respect our students. I am inspired by their devotion and challenged by their willingness to sacrifice. They are my favorite part of serving at Golden Gate. And here’s the good news – they will soon be serving your church or representing your church on a mission field somewhere. You will be proud of them too!