Sunday, September 2, 2007

Five Questions With . . . Russell Burrill

Russell Burrill was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts of Baptist parentage. He became an Adventist in his late teens through the ministry of the Voice of Prophecy. He graduated from Atlantic Union College with a B.A. in Theology in 1963 and married Cynthia Hartman, who also graduated the same year with a B.A. in Elementary Education. He received an M.A. from the seminary at Andrews University and a D.Min. From Fuller Theological Seminary. The Burrills have two children: Jim, a Computer Systems Analyst for Adventist Health Systems Sunbelt in Orlando, Florida, and a daughter, Ruth Davis. She and her husband pastor in the Carolina Conference.

Russell and Cynthia’s ministry include seven years pastoring in Connecticut and Maryland, followed by seven years full-time evangelism in Mountain View, Chesapeake, and Upper Columbia Conferences, followed by another seven years pastoring in Spokane, Washington and Wichita, Kansas. From 1985 to 2007, Russell was the Director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute, for seven years in Chicago, and since 1993, in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He continues to teach at the Andrews University Theological Seminary, where he holds the faculty rank of Professor. In 2005 he was also appointed NAD Ministerial Secretary and NAD Global Missions Director.

Russell is the author of numerous articles, the Prophecy Seminar lessons, and nine books, including Revolution in the Church, and Rekindling a Lost Passion.

1. Will Adventist churches in North America ever get away from pastor-dependency as you have envisioned it?

Will every Adventist church get away from pastor dependency? Obviously no. Will some? Defintely yes. It is happening. In fact whole conferences like Pennsylvania have committed to move in this new direction. In that Conference, every pastor has bought into the concept and the Conference is moving forward. Individual churches throughout NAD also are moving in this direction.

2. What do you think it will take to really motivate Adventists into action?

As HMS Richards use to say. "The only way to finish the work is to put all the Adventist preachers in jail". I hope it doesn't come to that, but if all else fails, God will finish His work, because He is in control.

3. Realistically speaking, where do you think the Church will be in ten years?

I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but God is leading and God is in control. I would hope we would be in the kingdom, but that is in God's time. It is hard to be realistic here. One naturally hopes for the best, but unless there is major change in the local church we will probably still be where we are today.

4. You suffered an unfortunate setback this past spring. How have you personally rebounded since this event?

The event last spring was very traumatic, but by the grace of God I have recovered. I no longer think about it or at least consciously dream about it. My biggest concern is that my attacker has found the help he needs so he can recover. God has been gracious and restored me.

5. Why hasn't Christ returned yet?

It is easy to speculate, but that is all it is. Christ will return in His time, not mine,. The Scripture declares we must preach in all the world and then the end will come. Is that every nation? every language? every city? every town? every person? I no longer speculate, I trust that He will return when He is ready. I will do my part and wait for Him.

1 comment:

holamickey said...

Is the presence of pastors really the problem? I don't think so. Being focused on training missionaries is difficult but necessary. We need churches to be training centers with someone to train... take the pastor/trainer away and there is no training. Maybe the ministers are the problem but its not there presence but rather their lack of focus on soul winning.
All being said... I still appreciate what Prof. Burrill has shared.