Moving the Needle in Bible Engagement
The night after my election as General Superintendent the Lord impressed on me that it was my responsibility to move the needle in Bible engagement – eradicate biblical illiteracy.
Chairman, Assemblies of God Trust
Assemblies of God
We recently sat down with Pastor Doug Clay to ask about his personal ties to the three initiatives of AG Trust:
- Church Multiplication
- Strengthening Churches
- Bible Engagement
We want to share his thoughts with you to provide foundational perspective for AG Trust.
Pastor, we have heard and read you say that you believe in the local church because you are a product of the local church. Can you share what is one of your first memories of being in church?
I remember being in the nursery with a two-way mirror. It was in the back of the church, near the sound room. I could watch the worship and altar call – from the nursery. I still have vivid recollection of looking out the rectangular window watching spiritual life happen. There was a speaker in the room as well so we heard the preaching. I was very young, but that is when I first remember being inside of a church.
How did you engage with the bible?
Every morning before leaving for school my mom or dad would read scripture. In the evening we had the classic books The Bible Story book that we read together – we had all 10 volumes.
The Bible was a huge part of my upbringing as it related to decision making, difficult situations, etc. I saw and observed in my mom’s life how much she incorporated it. I learned to have dependency on scripture.
Today, the Lord speaks to me through personal reading. I also enjoy listening to Scripture – whether I am exercising, riding a bike or driving. And of course, I dive in and research to learn more for teaching and preaching.
The night after my election as General Superintendent the Lord impressed on me that it was my responsibility to move the needle in Bible engagement – eradicate biblical illiteracy. It is my goal to raise the bible engagement within our fellowship. I know how instrumental the Bible has been in my life’s decisions and want everyone to see it as their guide. Illiteracy may be a product of fear – if we can show people practical ways to read and study the Bible, using it in everyday life, we can exponentially grow in biblical literacy.
Can you share your experience with multiplying?
During my internship in Athens, Ohio, the pastor asked me to establish a youth ministry. I had to rally students and sought out adult sponsors to train the team and youth. One of them became a sponsor with me for life – that’s how I met my wife, Gail! She was in nursing college and got involved in helping grow the ministry. The value of multiplication is something I learned and benefitted from very early on. We should be constantly seeking the spiritual activity of multiplication.
Tell us about your own experience with a church that was in decline or plateaued?
Many churches have plateaued or declined – especially over the last several years. Now more than ever, the Acts 2 Journey is essential to our Fellowship. Many years ago, the church I pastored was in decline. We were able to use the principles aligned with Acts 2 Journey: connect, grow, worship, evangelism and service. I watched that church regain health and potential. Now I see the need to give focused attention to plateaued and declining churches.
Looking forward - what does AG Trust look like a decade from today?
As we continue to grow AG Trust, in the near future we’d like to move away from subscriber-based Bible Engagement and make that available at no cost. Removing barriers to Bible engagement is a priority.
Looking ahead, I would say that there would be health in the three mission critical areas to the point that these initiatives are fully subsidized with enough resources for research and development in each of them.
I am most encouraged by the next generation of leaders coming into the office. They have strong a passion to continue to be fruitful in our mission. I believe they are the church of today, not tomorrow. This is evident by how prepared they are throughout leadership tables. We have the next generation not just seated at the table but influencing decisions. Our Fellowship has always had a passion for young people to flourish in their gifting and I pray that AG Trust continues to be a catalyst for allowing the next generation to be engaged.
In the coming months we’ll share how you can continue to help us reach the goal of becoming fully subsidized.