The Bonhoeffer Institute

image Equipping Pastors to Engage the Culture

A little over a year ago I was invited (including my wife) to join approximately 25 pastoral couples on an all-expense paid cruise by the Alliance Defending Freedom. The cruise had a two-fold purpose…

1. To train affiliate lawyers in arguing first amendment cases before appellate courts more effectively on behalf of churches, religious organizations, and Christian individuals.
2. To solicit pastors to become more engaging from their pulpits and ministry to the issues of religious liberty and first amendment speech.

It was a great cruise for the obvious reasons, but beyond the sun and water I was introduced to what the ADF calls the “Blackstone Academy”. The academy is named after a famous 18th century justice who wrote a set of legal commentaries which were based upon biblical precept and foundation. The academy is therefore appropriately named as these 21st century lawyers were being trained in upholding religious liberty.

It was fascinating to be able to watch the mock courtroom trials as these lawyers sharpened their skills to engage the legal system for the sake of the Gospel. I watched these obviously educated attorney’s enlarge their skills and abilities to become better advocates for those believers who find themselves in the crosshairs of unjust litigation towards their religious faith.

It was while watching this training that the concept dawned on me that Pastors need a similar training model. No pastor that has been educated at a Bible College or Seminary is equipped in engaging a hostile culture with a Biblical Worldview and a response on the great social challenges of our day. In fact, most Pastors feel woefully inadequate and would rather duck a debate than defend the Gospel and the Word of God. It was at this moment I had the epiphany of the “Bonhoeffer Institute”. In much the same way a lawyer is trained to argue a case before an appellate court, so Pastors need equipping to address politicians, activists, and media with regards to Biblical values and public policy. Consider the following…

Description of a Bonhoeffer Institute

The Bonhoeffer Institute is a fast-paced, one day, conference which educates, equips, and inspires Pastors and Christian Leaders to engage the cultural challenges of our day. This conference contains a series of 30-minute teaching topics and presentations which will encourage, enlarge and challenge the attendee to be more effective in presenting a Biblical Worldview of values in an ever increasing post-modern age. Time is set aside to address specific questions and concerns with regards to leading the Church into the debate over legislative agendas and influencing public policy.

Training may include:

How to disciple an elected official for civic leadership.
The relationship between Pastors and Elected Officials.
The Historic Role of Pastors in Public Policy and Elections.
Why Pastors are Reluctant to Engage the Culture
The Theological and Scriptural Basis for Pastoral Involvement
Does Eschatology Matter? Your View of the Future Effects your Today
Current Challenges to Churches and Pastors
Leading your Church to Engage Without Losing Your Church
Engaging and Confronting Media Bias
The Prophetic Role of the Pulpit
Planning Effective Rallies and Pastoral Lobbying
The Pulpit Freedom Initiative: Silent No More
Effective Use of Social Media
Instruction in becoming effective media analysts and commentators

Today we concluded the third Bonhoeffer Institute. Over 80 pastors and 50 Christian Leaders have been equipped for more effective engagement in an increasingly hostile culture. I am honored to be teamed up with Dr. Ron Johnson, Lead Pastor of Living Stones Fellowship, Crown Point, Indiana who is a valuable resource in this endeavor.

I am asking that you would do a couple things for us…

1. Pray for our safety and health as we continue to press forward in this arena.

2. Ask the Lord to open up more doors of opportunity in various states to enlarge clergy involvement in this training.

3. Pray for the resources that we might financially meet the ever increasing need in this area.

Thanks for linking up and remember…
When the Church shows up for the battle…
And when Pastors are leading the way…

We win every time…


Published byKevin Baird

Dr. Baird is an advocate for believers to live their faith 24/7 and apply it comprehensively in every area of their life. He has traveled extensively speaking on pastors engaging culture and is often solicited as a media analyst or commentator with regards to Christian views in public policy. If you would like to contact him for speaking to your group please contact him at:


  • Billy Gowan

    April 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm Reply

    Please keep me inform when the next meeting will be and where. I would like to bring some of my leaders.

    • Kevin Baird

      April 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm Reply

      Working on locations constantly.

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