USA (MNN) — In case you haven’t already heard, as of May 1st, the Slavic Gospel Association has a new president, Michael Johnson.
At 76-years-old, the former president, Bob Provost, decided it was time to step down. However, this doesn’t mean that Provost is out of the picture when it comes to SGA. Instead, he will continue to serve with the ministry as President Emeritus, as well as advising new President Johnson.
As it turns out, Johnson has had quite the long history with SGA, making him a great fit for the presidential position.
Starting in the late 80s, Johnson served with SGA as the Vice President of Advancement, meaning he oversaw the fundraising and marketing of the ministry.
“What he [Bob Provost] said to me was, ‘We have a great story and we need help with telling it,’” Johnson recounts from when Provost has asked Johnson to serve with SGA.
“So I had been telling the story of consumer brands for many years and all of the sudden I was given the opportunity to tell the story to the Christian community here in the United States about what God was doing in lands half a world away.”
A Bit of History
The same day Johnson was asked to move to Rockford, IL to serve with SGA, he was also offered his dream job in New York, where he and his family were residing. But instead of following his own ambition, Johnson heard and followed God’s call on his heart to Rockford.
Then, in 2004, things changed a little bit. Johnson decided to take a business job with a different company to help pay for his son’s college expenses. However, God still had plans for Johnson and SGA in the future.
“We’ve lived in Rockford. The ministry’s in the Rockford area. We’ve tried to sell our house ten years ago, it was on the market for two years, but the Lord wouldn’t allow it to sell. So, then ten years later when Dr. Provost made the decision to retire, I was contacted by the firm that was doing the search, and the job description fit perfectly,” Johnson shares.
“I went through the interviewing process and the board of directors of the mission unanimously called me back to the ministry. I just couldn’t be happier because I’ve never lost my love for the ministry. I’ve never lost my love for the people and in the Former Soviet Union.”
In the time that Johnson has been away from SGA, he’s had the opportunity to work as a professional fundraising consultant with numerous Christian nonprofit organizations. This experience has helped prepare Johnson for his new role with SGA.
And when it comes to SGA’s vision, Johnson is in complete alignment with it and has no plans to change it. Rather, he plans to multiply it.
“What I’ve been called to do is to put together a fundraising and development strategy that will allow us to do more work across those lands [we serve]. Now, the areas we work in, as well as the surrounding countries and some of those places where we’ve sent church planters into, we just want to continue to do more work,” Johnson shares.
“We want to gather more resources so we can expand it to more areas and train more church planters and send them out and connect with more people here in the United States so we can tell them the story in a compelling way…to motivate people to want to get involved.”
As Johnson follows God’s call in serving SGA as president, will you pray? Pray for SGA’s guidance and wisdom in this time of transition. Also, pray for the church planters SGA has the opportunity of serving. Pray for the Gospel’s work in Russia and Central Asia and for the seeds SGA church planters are sowing to bear fruit.
For more ways to pray, click here!
To learn more about SGA’s transition from one president to another, click here!