Garrison Keillor is the creator of a wonderful excursion into Midwestern small town
life. His weekly radio broadcast, Prairie Home Companion, offers a visit to the mythical
Lake Wobegon. The inside jokes and the characters he creates in his stories are vivid
and real to anyone who has grown up in that region.
Beyond Prairie Home Companion, Keillor periodically makes keen observations about
spiritual life. He recently noted that if you cant go to church and for at least
a moment be given transcendence. . .that is, if you cant go to church and briefly
move from this life to the next, then why go to church? Keillor observes that just
a brief moment of transcendence will cause you to leave that church a changed person.
church requires leadership that is passionate about God and rooted in His redemptive
President Byron D. Klaus
Much is made of our changing world. Values erode, the biblical foundation of Christianity
is questioned, families disintegrate, and the church is required to respond effectively
in this new murkiness called the 21st century.
The challenge of training leaders to be effective in this new and emerging world
is sturdy. But the real challenge is not out there, its inside our
own ranks as Christian leaders. We live in a world that Keillor describes as a place
where folks are looking for a connection to Godfor transcendence. Their search
is a journey that takes them to some weird places, yet our world does not lack for
Neither does AGTS lack for vibrant emerging leaders. Our recent graduation convinced
me once more of the vital role AGTS plays in our fellowship of churches. I shake a
lot of hands at graduation. I look into the eyes of people called of God. Some have
already shown their excellence as leaders; others are just beginning to serve in leadership
roles. But I do not fear for the future when I reflect on what these graduates represent.
Their passion leaves me in the dust. Their minds challenge me thoroughly, and their
yieldedness to Gods call convicts me deeply.
I have no doubt that God is putting together a cadre of vibrant leaders who are
ready for the challenge of the 21st century. As president of AGTS, I am faced with
huge challenges, but I also enjoy a window into the future that students and graduates
of AGTS provide. Regardless of the context in which we find ourselves, the church
requires leadership that is passionate about God and rooted in His redemptive cause.
AGTS graduates will be leaders who provide the connection that Garrison Keillor says
people hope forleaders that connect people to the redeeming God who can change