I began my teaching and preaching career well over 40 years ago, and have served on the staff of a number of churches in a number of states. Since mid-2008, I have been off the staff of a local church on a full-time basis, although I did function on the staff of the Greater Houston Church in Houston, Texas on almost a full-time basis during all of 2011 and nearly half of 2012. In November of 2012, we moved to the Los Angeles area and I assumed the role of Director of the Pacific School of Ministry in January of 2013 as a part-time staff member. I accepted that role with a verbal agreement that serving in this role would be for a two year term, to be reviewed at the end of that period. Near the end of that time, it became obvious that two years was the right time to move on, which we now have done. As of mid-December, 2014, we are living in the Dallas, Texas area, where I am also a part-time staff member, teaching in various settings the church leaders deem to be most helpful. In the 2014 Newsletter section, I describe our time in LA in some detail, and am thankful for having served there, even for a brief term. What’s not to love about Southern California (besides the traffic!)?
Going back to the beginning of my work in the capacity of a full-time teacher, I was blessed to be the Director of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Academy from its inception in early 2008. From that point through 2012, I taught most of the courses in our eleven course curriculum for the Ministry Track students and in our eight course curriculum for the Shepherding Track students. After completing these curricula, I also taught several continuing education courses. We have conducted several graduation services for quite a number of students who have completed their respective curriculum in one of the two training track programs. In early 2012, Rolan Monje succeeded me as the Director of the program, and started teaching some courses himself. (See the article “Rolan Monje Named New Director of APLA” in the Articles Section.) From this point forward, Rolan will be bringing in other teachers, as well as teaching his own courses. I am most grateful for the opportunity of having worked with all of the brothers who helped design the program, and for having the privilege of teaching the students alongside Rolan. All of the young men and women who participated are as my own children, in my heart of hearts.
I also have enjoyed the blessing of working in a similar capacity with the Ukraine Institute of Ministry, although I will be making fewer trips to Kiev in the future for several reasons. For one thing, after a teaching trip in 2013, we are almost through the curricula for the two training tracks (Ministry and Shepherding). For another thing, the current political uncertainty makes it impossible to predict whether the opportunity to continue teaching as an American will even exist. Time (and God) will tell! Please join me in praying for the Ukraine. We have several churches in the country and the one in Kiev numbers over 2,000 disciples. They are a wonderful group of God’s children and will always reside deeply in my heart, even if I am not afforded the opportunity to teach them on any regular basis again. In the 2014 Newsletter, I describe the one trip I was able to make in late 2014 – another special trip, as all trips to the Ukraine have been.
My other teaching will continue to be done primarily through producing written and recorded (audio and video) materials. In the past several years, Toney Mulhollan of Illumination Publishers International, has helped develop and publish a number of my teaching materials in both audio and video formats. Adding these to my available books and booklets, my repertoire of teaching material has increased fairly rapidly. You will note a link on this web page that will take you to my materials on the IPI website. In 2012, I finished a comprehensive book on the topic of church leadership entitled "Dynamic Leadership" with a subtitle of "Principles, Roles and Relationships for a Life-Changing Church." In 2013, a Spanish translation of this book was finished and first made available at the Latin American Conference held in June in Panama City.
Two of my books, “Dynamic Leadership” and “Romans: the Heart Set Free” were translated into Russian during 2012 and 2013. We have Max and Elena Nikitina, Family Group leaders in the Moscow church to thank for this work. Thus far, they have paid for all of the translation costs themselves, so it is obviously a labor of love. Since they attend the Shepherding Track of the Kiev program, I have been able to develop a personal relationship with them. They are a delightful young couple. As the Dynamic Leadership book was in the process of being translated, Elena shared a heart-warming and heart-rending story of German Utyonov, who spent his last days translating the book. He had been reached out to by Finn disciples and baptized in 1991. He fell away several years later, but then got restored in 2009. German was a professional interpreter, having translated from English and Finnish into Russian. He had three children, and was struggling with cancer during his last few years. He was already bedridden when he agreed to translate the book. He was inspired by his work, hoping to finish the translation before he passed away. He said, “The book is so important for us.” When his friends asked him how he was doing, he answered, “I am happy, because I am in Christ!” Although he was getting ready to meet God, he did his best to finish translating the book. It was his last endeavor before he went home with Jesus at the age of 47.
A new edition of my practical exposition on Acts is also now available, entitled “World Changers.” A ministry training school outside our movement of churches has just ordered this book for one of their classes. Under the Articles tab, you will find a fairly lengthy Appendix from the book about the establishment and nature of the Kingdom. It has some rather unique material in it that not all have considered and with which all may not agree – but it is in-depth and interesting! A new edition of “The Power of Discipling” was printed in the last part of 2010 and very recently, a smaller format of "Love One Another." I have many ideas for books that likely won’t come to fruition until my public teaching role slows down, but I do plan to write several books in the next couple of years, hopefully at least two in 2015. One of these will take me into a new writing genre, a book of weird humor (the only kind I have). One particular humor author has influenced me more than any other, by a wide margin, and I think my approach will be similar to his. I doubt I will enjoy nearly the same amount of success that Patrick McManus has enjoyed, but it will be fun to delve into another type of writing. I may start out with a web site that is fee based to begin publishing the humor material an article at a time, or I may just publish it in book form first. This project is obviously just in the planning stage now, but the approach will soon need to be settled upon.
The international part of my work has decreased in 2013 and 2014 by design, allowing me to focus on my role in Los Angeles. God has blessed me to be able to travel all over the world for many years now, and it has been the ministry highlight of my life. To all of those who have heard my teaching or participated in it through my printed and audio/video materials, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to hopefully influence you to know God’s Word better and to love him more. Why he chose to bless me with these opportunities and with the multitudes of friends I have made in the process, I cannot explain. But I can explain that I am supremely grateful to him and to those with whom my path has crossed. Please keep me, my family and my ministry in your prayers. Thank you for doing that, for without doubt, God’s use of me has been the result of many prayers! God bless!
—Gordon Ferguson (February 2015)