RowingBy John Greening

An old Chinese proverb states, “Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.”

I am thrilled that Regular Baptist Ministries provides opportunities for you to advance, not only in your personal enrichment, but also in ministry development. Three excellent online offerings are available this fall through our Regular Baptist Web Community. The instruction will be so personal that you will feel it was specifically designed with you in mind.

“When the Pulpit Meets the Newsroom: The Ministry of Analyzing and Expounding Current Events” will discuss the why, when, and how of expounding current events and cultural trends in the context of pastoral ministry. Presenter David Gunn, managing editor of the Baptist Bulletin, states, “The refrain, ‘Pastors should be exegetes of both Scripture and culture’ is commonly heard in ministry circles today. But while divinity students spend years learning to exegete Scripture, very little training is ever provided in cultural analysis.” This webinar is designed to stimulate interest in and develop competence for cultural exegesis. David’s material is both thought provoking and extremely helpful. (See David’s commentaries at Adjust your schedule so you will not miss this valuable instruction on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. Central Time.

“Pastoral Care Challenges” promises to be a valuable learning lab for those serving in ministry. Presenter Pastor David Jones describes the instruction: “Providing compassionate and appropriate care to a church family today can be complicated and challenging for any pastor or church leader. These sessions will provide Biblical encouragement and practical help in ministering God’s love, grace, and truth to those who may be struggling with a variety of problems today.” I met David when we both spoke at a conference hosted by Appalachian Bible College. This seasoned ministry veteran was addressing the subject of pastoral care and compassion. After hearing his presentation and obtaining a manual of his notes, I determined to expose our fellowship to David’s humble and rich instruction. (See David’s fine article, “Are We in a Care Crisis?” in the July/August 2015 Baptist Bulletin.) David desires to assist pastors and church leaders in maximizing their many opportunities to extend compassionate care. This three-part learning lab will take place during three sessions on Thursdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, and Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. Central Time.

“Strong Church” addresses the important question, How does a church ministry become strong? This learning lab will provide answers to that question in a whole-Bible and whole-church integrated way. I will be leading this instruction based on my recently published book, Strong Church: Building and Measuring Mature Disciples (Regular Baptist Press). Centering on the quest of developing believers toward spiritual maturity, these sessions will help you put concepts into operation in the church. You will consider the instructional goal for believers, develop an instructional taxonomy for purposefully teaching the entire Bible, design tools to assess the progress of disciples toward spiritual maturity, and create precise instructional plans to move believers toward spiritual maturity individually and in groups. This three-part learning lab will take place on Thursdays, Oct. 15, 22, and 29 at 10 a.m. Central Time.

I urge you to keep advancing in your ministry awareness and skills. The time you invest participating in these online learning events will exponentially enhance the caliber of your ministry. Register today for any or all of these events at We are offering these learning opportunities with you in mind. Don’t let that upstream current drop you back!

John Greening is national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.