What does it feel like to be Chuck Swindoll behind the pulpit? More than one preacher has asked that question. With decades of experience behind the pulpit, on the radio, and at his writing desk, Chuck Swindoll has become a household name and a beloved pastor to millions around the world. But recognition and accolades don’t impact the way Chuck feels when he steps behind the pulpit. Only one thing does—the same thing that humbles him every time he opens it: God’s Word.
A Pulpit, a Bible, and a Sword
Chuck’s wooden pulpit at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, bears a hand-carved Bible overlaid by a sword. That symbol speaks to Chuck’s answer when asked how he feels behind the pulpit. “I feel invincible,” Chuck says, “because of the power of God at work through His Word. Anyone who declares God’s truth can feel invincible, because it’s the truth, not eloquent words or style, that breaks through barriers. It’s the truth that exposes the Enemy’s lies and sets people free.”
As Insight for Living Ministries begins our 40th year, we want you to know that we’re more committed than ever to proclaiming God’s powerful truth that sets people free! Since 1979, we have existed to help you learn to study and apply the Bible, not only so you can live abundantly, but so you can use your God-given gifts to be actively engaged in the commission of Christ. You’ve already heard about Vision 195—our strategy to make disciples in all 195 nations and their 6,875 heart languages—and you’re going to hear a lot more about it in our fifth decade!
A Strategic Plan
Vision 195 isn’t a separate entity or side mission. Though only named in recent years, Vision 195 has been on our hearts all along. By naming it, we’ve given ourselves a clear path to align our mission of excellence in teaching the study and application of God’s Word with Christ’s mission for each of His followers—the Great Commission. Vision 195 is our strategic plan to join hands with you for the sake of Jesus’ marvellous vision to make disciples in all nations. Imagine it:
People in every nation, forever changed by God’s grace
and trained to study and apply His Word,
working together to build His kingdom!
If you’ve been thinking the Great Commission is too big to accomplish or just the calling of missionaries and pastors, it’s time to rethink your understanding! Vision 195 divides the Great Commission into realistic steps we CAN accomplish together. We’re kicking off our 40th year with one of the largest steps: mentoring and training pastors worldwide to use Chuck’s Bible-study methods as described in his book Searching the Scriptures (STS).
A Bible-Study Course
Chuck first learned those methods from Dr. Howard Hendricks while he was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has since made them his own over the last six decades. “I remember,” Chuck recalls, “the moment in Dr. Howie Hendricks’ class that I realized, ‘I can do this!’ I wanted to jump up from my desk and shout.” STS gives people the same information, with steps to follow like a recipe. As with cooking, if you follow the steps, it’ll turn out well...and the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
As Chuck says, you don’t have to go to seminary to study the Bible or even to teach it. You just need to know how. And pastors around the world, many who will never get to go to seminary, are hungry to know how! That’s the heart behind the STS training curriculum that Chuck and Terry Boyle, our executive vice president and international instructor of STS courses, are currently writing. “It’s a great privilege,” says Terry, “to take the principles of STS and focus on teaching pastors to forge out messages that have integrity and honesty, messages that are applicable, relevant, vibrant, encouraging, insightful, and will inspire their congregations.”
A Legacy to Share
The mentoring and training model that Chuck and Terry are developing for Vision 195 will break through the Enemy’s lie that the Bible is a book understood only by clergy with advanced education. Not so! This model will equip untrained pastors worldwide to open the Word, study it, apply it, and teach it with the same insight and excitement Chuck does every week!
How in the world will we translate materials and mentor pastors in every nation and every language? One at a time...with you! That’s the key to Vision 195. As the Lord opens doors and moves the hearts of His people to partner with us, we will train pastors in other nations...who will train indigenous pastors in their languages...who will then, in turn, train more.
The first formal use of the STS curriculum is planned to happen this autumn with pastors in the Chinese province of Jiangsu, where an average of 300 people come to faith every day, but they only have approximately 400 trained pastors to disciple these thousands of new believers. As these pastors learn to wield the sword of God’s Word, they will experience that feeling of invincibility that comes from studying, then proclaiming God’s truth with accuracy and confidence!
But make no mistake. The Enemy wants new believers to remain spiritual infants. He wants pastors to feel helpless. In fact, he wants YOU to feel helpless. But your hands aren’t tied...and neither are ours.
Each of us can play a part in the Great Commission. The Lord has called us to go. Has He called you to help send us? If people like you join your hearts with ours through financial gifts and prayers, Vision 195 will become more than a strategic plan. As we work hand and hand, generation to generation, it will become an ongoing legacy of faith, a mission pursued and fulfilled through the invincible power of God. What an exciting future awaits us!