Alumnus Steve Johnson (S.T.M., 1983) shares how his DTS relationships and training have influenced over three decades of church ministry and continue to fuel his new ministry with Latin America Mission.
After serving as a pastor in local churches for almost thirty-five years, the Lord called me to serve as the seventh President of Latin America Mission. LAM's mandate, based upon Jesus’ great commandment (Matt. 22:37-40), great commission (Matt. 28:19-20), and God's call to man through the prophet Micah (Mic. 6:8) is to share faith (connecting others to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ), offer hope (contributing to the building of a better tomorrow), and express love (caring for physical, emotional, and spiritual) to people throughout the reach of the Latin world. We can't rest until every person within the reach of the Latin world is not only transformed by, but also living the gospel of Jesus Christ as the fruit of focused partnerships that are initiated and cultivated alongside Latin Americans.
As president, I oversee all of the people and operations of the mission, while providing vision and resources to help LAM navigate through the turbulent waters of change in global mission. We currently partner with the Latin Church in fourteen countries, including Spain, and are forming new partnerships in several more Latin countries.
Two fond memories stand out from my time at DTS. I served as a teaching assistant in the Pastoral Ministries Department for two semesters with Dr. John Reed and one of my life mentors, Dr. Don Sunukjian. God used these men and the experience to help redirect my future from seminary teaching to local church pastoring, which has proven to be richer for my family and me. At the same time, a semester spent with Dr. Walvoord in a small seminar on eschatology helped me hone my skills in personal biblical and theological reflection beyond the normal studies.
I'm grateful for the ability to not only sit under but also to interact personally with DTS faculty outside of the classroom. Their guidance provided me with the encouragement to translate the daily work of biblical exposition, first into the Spirit-led transformation of my own personal character and then into applications relevant to the lives of those I have been privileged to pastor. DTS helped me both see and internalize the priority to "be" a man of the Word, before I can effectively "do" the work of the Word. This has kept me strong throughout the storms of pastoral ministry for almost forty years. I know it will help me finish well for His glory.
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