Briercrest profs pack the house during SERVE 2010

Posted: April 6, 2010

By Amy Robertson

Front banner: Alan Guenther (left), Martin Culy (right). Photos by Viktor Karklins.

Martin Culy teaches at SERVE 2010.
Photo by Viktor Karklins.

r. Martin Culy and Dr. Alan Guenther, both professors at Briercrest College and Seminary, shared their passions with classrooms full of people from churches throughout southern Alberta and Saskatchewan during SERVE, Briercrest’s annual ministry-equipping conference, March 26-27 in Caronport.

Martin Culy: Preaching and Teaching the Book of Revelation

Culy, a New Testament scholar and veteran professor and Bible translator, taught sessions based on his Revelation course, which has been his favourite to teach since he designed it in 2001.

The sessions, aimed at lay-leaders in the church, focused on how to teach Revelation. Culy emphasized that before Revelation can be taught, it must be understood. He spent the bulk of his session time dispelling myths about the book of Revelation and helping session attendees understand its message.

Contrary to the popular Evangelical belief that Revelation is an impenetrable book shrouded in mystery, Culy said that it is a book that can, in fact, be understood.

He also taught that Revelation is not simply a book that tells about distant future events. Instead, it was “written to real people, in real churches, facing real challenges,” and those challenges closely parallel some of the most significant challenges facing today's church. According to Culy, the message of Revelation, which encourages readers to stand firm in faith and obedience and to avoid conforming to the world, is very relevant for Christians today.

Culy’s sessions on the book of Revelation were the most popular among SERVE participants. While most instructors taught groups between 6 and 15, Culy’s group was consistently above 30.

Alan Guenther: Understanding our Muslim Neighbours

Guenther, who was a missionary in Pakistan from 1988-1992 before completing his doctorate in Islamic studies (2005), taught sessions designed to help attendees be effective Christian witnesses to Muslims.

Alan Guenther teaches at SERVE 2010.
Photo by Viktor Karklins.
He began with an introduction of Islam’s beginnings, explained the various facets the Islamic faith today, and gave suggestions about how to witness to Muslims. He encouraged attendees to make friends with Muslims and listen carefully as they share their beliefs. In their conversations with Muslims, he said they should focus on Jesus rather than Muhammad, go beyond doctrinal differences, emphasize that Jesus fulfills hope, and to trust in the power of God’s Word.

“You can’t argue anyone into the Kingdom,” he said.

Guenther came back again and again to one thesis, revealing his passion for the people that so many people in North America fear and misunderstand:

“God loves them. We should love them, too.”

Guenther’s sessions were also very popular among conference attendeees—each session attracted between 15 and 20 people.

Other SERVE presenters from the college and seminary included Dr. Paul Magnus, who taught about leadership, Dr. Kevin Daugherty, who taught about the role of theology in the church, and Dr. Cal MacFarlane, who taught about making space for God.

External SERVE presenters included Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, who taught about history, leadership, and education among First Nations Peoples, a representative from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, who taught about Canadian Evangelical statistics, facts, and trends, and Michel Bell of the non-profit organization Managing God’s Money, who taught about personal finance.