As we all get older at AiG, a natural question some people have been asking me over the past couple years is, “Do you have a succession plan at the ministry, and how are you planning for the future of AiG?”
I was certainly reminded of this question when my wife Mally and I recently traveled to Australia to visit family and friends. While there, we did something of a “trip down memory lane!” We visited the house Mally grew up in and stopped by the church (right photo) in Sunnybank (a suburb of Brisbane) she attended where we first met (and it was love at first sight ☺).
At Innisfail (south of Cairns in Queensland), we visited the church building (left photo) where I responded to a challenge by an evangelist to become a missionary for the Lord. It’s now a real estate office.
We traveled to the town of Dalby (2.5 hours west of Brisbane) where I had my first teaching appointment in the public school as a science teacher. I hardly recognized the school with all the new buildings. This is also the town where on July 13, 1975, I gave my first-ever creation apologetics presentation at Dalby Baptist Church. The church has since moved to a bigger building; the site of the original church building is now a shopping center.
the only thing that lasts is what is done for the Lord Jesus.
In Brisbane, we drove past the house where the ministry had started, and then visited the building where we moved our house office and resource ministry to when we outgrew our home.
Oh, how we were reminded that time marches on! Sadly, some of the friends and family we loved dearly are no longer on this earth. The church building in which we met is now a theater, and will one day probably be replaced by a more modern building.
When we visited my 87-year-old mother, who tells me that she is ready for her eternal home, she reminded us that the only thing that lasts is what is done for the Lord Jesus. She told me that it only seemed like yesterday when she was a little girl and later got married. At 87, she looks back and realizes how fast time has gone!
These recent experiences in Australia reminded me of that poem by the great missionary C.T Studd. The first verse states,
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
In the Old Testament, Job certainly understood the brevity of life when he exclaimed,
I would not live forever . . . For my days are but a breath. (Job 7:16)
James stated in the New Testament, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
As Mally and I recently looked back on our lives, we realized that God gives each of us different life experiences to prepare us for what He has called us to do. And it is so important we use that short time to maximize what God has prepared us for.
As Mally and I recently looked back on our lives, we realized that God gives each of us different life experiences to prepare us for what He has called us to do.
When I consider the three of us that the Lord brought together to form the Answers in Genesis ministry (Mark Looy, Mike Zovath, and me), we seem like a most unlikely combination of people—and yet, God had prepared each of us for the tasks ahead. It reminds me that God does work in mysterious ways!
In fact, many people have commented to me how special it is that the three of us, as different as we are, have stayed the course together in this ministry for 22 years. Even though we are very different in personalities and gifts, we are unified in working together for the furtherance of the gospel. And look what the Lord has done through the AiG ministry, now reaching millions of people in various ways!
So as we look to the future, we recognize that God will use different people with unique abilities for what He has in store for this ministry. That’s why we have been working hard over the years to find younger visionary leaders who we believe will lead this ministry for future generations. We have been placing these younger leaders in strategic positions and training them.
Also, we have worked hard at setting “in stone” the message the Lord has laid upon our hearts. The Creation Museum and the future Ark Encounter are constructed to ensure that the truth of God’s Word—beginning in Genesis and with the gospels—will be clearly proclaimed to the world. AiG has produced a plethora of books, curricula, and DVDs—and a massive array of websites—that abound with content.
Frankly, I’ve noticed over the years that many Christian organizations, academic institutions, and churches have drifted from the solid stand on Scripture that their founders established. We have been diligently working to ensure that the right people—those who, like ourselves, would never knowingly compromise God’s Word—are in the right leadership roles. We want to see the ministry continue to press forward without drifting from our stand on God’s Word. At the same time, we continue to strengthen our statement of faith, as well as our vision and mission statements.
Over the years, of course, we have prayed that the Lord would bring the right people along for this ministry. Sometimes we have to be very patient. Yet over and over again, we have seen the Lord bring very special people to us, who have a heart for reaching people with the gospel, so that this ministry will continue to honor Him and His Word—and most of all see people won to the Kingdom.
In a sense, I stand back and look at Answers in Genesis as something of a complex machine. I see all sorts of cogs, but they are all working together. I praise the Lord for the leaders of these different “cogs,” knowing they are in ministry because what’s done for Jesus will last!
Another part of the AiG ministry where I can especially see God’s hand concerns our board of directors! I am pleased to work with godly men the Lord has raised up—men from very different backgrounds. Again, it’s a combination of people that only the Lord would bring together. Recently, the Lord has brought some younger but mature men to the board, so they can benefit from the wisdom of the “older” generation—as AiG continues to faithfully stand on God’s Word, as this ministry is well known for.
There is one other aspect of the AiG ministry that is so important: faith! God’s Word states, “
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
I praise God for those the Lord has brought to AiG who have been prepared to step out in faith to do what seemed impossible.
Hebrews 11 is the great faith chapter. I love to read this passage and be reminded of the great men and women of God who had shown great faith. I praise God for those the Lord has brought to AiG who have been prepared to step out in faith to do what seemed impossible—like build a world-renowned Creation Museum and now to construct a life-size Noah’s Ark!
I must admit that many times over the years we’ve been placed in what could be called “a box canyon,” with only the “Red Sea” before us—but then in miraculous ways, God has made a pathway through for us. Yes, without people of great faith, this apologetics and evangelistic ministry would not be where it is today.
Right now, we are continuing to step out in faith as we build the life-size Noah’s Ark. I truly believe it will be one of the greatest Christian outreaches of our day! At times it has seemed an impossible project, but we are reminded over and over again:
For with God nothing will be impossible. (Luke 1:37)
I want to thank our many supporters who have stepped out in faith with us. God has given them special talents and abilities that He has used to make them a part of this incredible ministry to the world. Thank you.
As we continue to move forward at Answers in Genesis and step out in faith, I pray that God will use each of us in the ways He has prepared us so that millions will hear the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. That is what lasts!
Right now, we continue to step out in faith as we raise the remaining funds for the Ark project, plus seek the needed donations for the Creation Museum’s expansion as we expect increased attendance (a good problem to have!). Of course, there are all of our other important core ministry outreaches that must be funded.
Your ongoing prayers are absolutely vital to Answers in Genesis. I pray that you will continue to step out in faith with AiG, a ministry that is committed to stand uncompromisingly on the Word of God from the very first verse— and boldly and unashamedly proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.
Please know that I greatly appreciate your stepping out in faith with us!