Author, 1000 Days (2012)
Son of Jerry Falwell
Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA) with over 20,000 Members
Executive Vice President of Spiritual Affairs at Liberty University (67,000 students)
BS, Liberty University
MA in Religion, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
JD, William Howard Taft University in Santa Ana, California;
Married to Shari, 4 Children
Jonathan Falwell: The Ministry of Christ
The 700 Club
Many Christians struggle to stay connected whether they are new in their faith or not. A daily relationship with Jesus takes discipline. Pastor Falwell says he believes the problem to maintaining a relationship with the Lord is three fold. (1) We are in a spiritual battle. There are so many distractions in this world that keep us from what God wants for us. (2) We focus on things not of this world. The pop culture takes away God’s direction by placing emphasis on the wrong things to strive for in life. (3) We are lazy. It is easier to watch television than to study the Word and spend time in prayer.
“Branches need to stay connected to the vine if they want to produce fruit,” shares Jonathan. If we remain in Christ (stay connected), we will produce fruit. The fruit listed specifically in Galatians 5:22 -23 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Jesus reminded His disciples and reminds us to remain connected to Him. If we do so, we will not only have power but also joy.
THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
“During Jesus’ three years of ministry on earth He chose to do specific things and say specific things so we would know how to live today,” shares Jonathan. Jesus showed us how to live by example whether in our relationships, jobs, and even government. “In a sense, [Jesus] showcased himself during these three years so our lives could become the extension of his life,” reveals Jonathan.
When Jonathan was a young adult he recalls an aha moment in his own life in which he was not satisfied with the way his life was turning out. “It wasn’t great. It wasn’t horrible. It was just okay,” recalls Jonathan. One Sunday he was sitting in church and the pastor described how faith must saturate all we do. It is not a list of dos and don’ts, but rather a relationship with a God who cares. So Jonathan began to study the teachings of Jesus Christ as never before. He began to realize that with Jesus in our lives, our lives make sense. “When we become like Him, we can have an incredible impact on our communities. The longings of our heart are satisfied. We glorify God and fulfill our ultimate reason for living,” says Jonathan. There is a greater purpose for our existence than merely getting up every morning and going to work, only to come home at the end of the day, sleep, and do it all over again. Jesus invites us to participate with Him in His mission.
There is a free online component, a 60-day study companion, to his latest book, 1000 days: The Ministry of Christ on www.1000days.com. The money from the book sales will go to plant churches all over the world.
Jonathan knows the power of prayer. When Pastor Jonathan took the position of senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church, his prayer was, “God, please do it (whatever God wanted to accomplish) today.” Pastor Jonathan didn’t know what he was doing or what to pray for. He was totally dependent on God. Today, he still prays that prayer with the knowledge that he can’t do it, but God can. He says the simple prayer, “God I can’t do it, you can,” is a prayer that can be said in good times and bad. It is good to never lose the feeling of being dependent on God.
Often times Christians feel it is selfish to pray for yourself, but Jonathan says that is untrue. The first thing Jesus did in Gethsemane was to pray for Himself. “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” (John 17:1). Before we can rightly pray for others we need to pray for ourselves and get our hearts in tune with God. After Jesus prayer for Himself he prayed for His disciples. He prayed four specific requests for His friends that day: (1) He prayed for protection. He prayed for His disciples’ protection in the days ahead. (2) He prayed for unity. He prayed His disciples’ would be one – the kind of oneness that the Father and Son experienced. (3) He prayed for safe keeping. He prayed that His friends would be kept, held on to, not lost. (4) He prayed for joy. Jesus asked the Father that His own joy may be fulfilled in His friends.
AN EFFECTIVE PRAYER LIFE
Jonathan offers some keys that will help you during your personal prayer time. It is taken from one of the most familiar portions of God’s Word – The Lord’s Prayer:
- Reverence - In the prayer pattern Jesus gave His disciples [The Lord’s Prayer] He urges us to begin with a focus of worship. Focus our entire beings on the wonders of who God is. Do not ask God for anything. Give Him glory and honor in a spirit of biblical and heart-felt worship. For example, read the Psalms. Focus on listings of the names of God, attributes of God, etc.
- Response - Yield control to the Holy Spirit. Surrender to God’s will for our lives.
- Requests - Pray about personal requests and the concerns of others. Pray for the lost. Keep a prayer journal to keep track of needs and a record of God’s answers to prayer.
- Readiness – This is a time of meditation and memorization of God’s Word to prepare ourselves for personal temptation and spiritual attack.
MEET THE PASTOR
Jonathan Falwell became the senior pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) in Lynchburg, Virginia, on June 3, 2007. He was named pastor in a unanimous vote by the congregation following the death of his father, Dr. Jerry Falwell, who started TRBC in 1956 and served as the church’s pastor for 51 years. Jonathan preaches each week to a 20,000-member congregation, with his messages also appearing on a variety of national television outlets. TRBC typically welcomes about 12,000 in attendance each Sunday, as well as an additional 8,000 people for midweek services. Jonathan leads a team of 250 staff TRBC members and presides over many planning sessions each week. Under Jonathan Falwell’s leadership the church has experienced phenomenal growth. The congregation has set a few goals for the next five years: that there would be 5,000 local salvations in the Lynchburg area; 5,000 baptisms; 5,000 new members at TRBC; plant 500 churches in the U.S.; send 500 full-time missionaries; and send 500 church members on short-term missions each year. The church continues to work on these goals and is focusing on outreach. Pastor Jonathan says the goal they would still like to reach is sending out 500 full-term missionaries. Currently TRBC has planted 1,000 churches around the world. In Kenya, TRBC is planting 553 churches – one church already with almost 50 new believers. There are also church plants in India and Haiti. In the U.S. there are 178 church plants. Some of these church plants are in Kansas City; Charlottesville, VA; and Roanoke, VA.
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