The following address was made by J. Gary Ellison when he was installed as the new principal of Joy Bible Institute on January 30, 2011. The address summarizes the mission of JBI.

I want to thank the Board of Directors of Joy Bible Institute for the privilege and responsibility of serving as the principal of Joy Bible Institute.

I want to thank each one of you for coming and for your interest in the ministry of Joy Bible Institute.

We have had the privilege of serving in some of the Assemblies of God’s largest schools in Africa and in Europe, and have helped to train hundreds of pastors and missionaries from more than 40 different countries who are serving around the world today. But we have not gathered today because of us or what we have done. Jesus tells us plainly in Luke 17:10 that when we have done all that he has told us to do, we are to say that we are unprofitable servants, we have only done what he has told us to do:

We are not here today for the sake of Joy Bible Institute. Joy Bible Institute does not exist for itself. Jesus never said that he would build his Bible institute. He said that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The church is central in God’s plan because the church is the instrument of the Kingdom of God. It is by the church that the Kingdom of God advances. God’s reign in the hearts and lives of people is extended through the Church of Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 4:11, we read that Christ has given gifts to the Church. He has given apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers. Joy Bible Institute does not exist for itself; it exists to train ministries for the church of Jesus Christ.

It exists to train pastor-teachers

  • Who will lead the church,
  • shepherd the flock,
  • preach and teach the Word of God,
  • demonstrate the power of the gospel in their daily lives by righteous living and by the fruit of the Holy Spirit,
  • and lay their lives down for the sheep.

If there was ever a generation that needed to see the proof of the Gospel, it is this generation.

How will the church be built in Vanuatu? How will it be built in the island nations of the South Pacific? How will the church be built around the world? How will it be built in difficult times?

It will be built by the Lord Jesus Christ through men

  • who have been wounded by the cross,
  • men who are dying to themselves,
  • who are taking up their cross daily to follow Christ.
  • people who are dead to themselves,
  • who desire not great things for themselves,
  • who desire nothing but that Christ be glorified whether by their life or by their death
  • who have counted the cost,
  • have denied themselves and
  • who are focused on the glory of Christ.

These are perilous times for the church of Jesus Christ. We are living in the last days when men

  • are boasters of themselves,
  • who seek the praise of men,
  • who believe that the gospel is a means to gain.
  • They are the prophets who seek worldly profit,
  • who seek to make a name for themselves,
  • who tell people what their itching ears want to hear,
  • who promise wealth and perfect health and a cross-less Christianity.
  • They have transformed faith into fortune and blessing into abundance.
  • They have perverted the gospel into a get rich quick scheme.

In far too many cases, the church has become an extension of culture, presenting no alternative to the world and its ideas. We adopt worldly methods to bring worldly people into a worldly church and wonder what’s wrong with the church. How can we change?

The key to the church is in the training of its pastors. I am thankful for the godly pastors that I have met in Vanuatu. The church has been blessed with

  • pastors who love God,
  • who live by His word, and
  • who are not afraid to preach the whole counsel of God.

But it is time for a new generation to arise. Not to announce a new message or to find more effective methods. It is time for a new generation of pastors who have been called by God to lay down their lives, take up their cross, and to lead their churches to do the same.

  • Our mission at Joy Bible Institute is to train up a godly generation of ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Our aim is not to impart degrees or certificates. Paper certificates do not make a man of God.
  • Our aim is not mainly to impart facts. Facts may be forgotten.
  • Our aim is not mainly to impart skills. We need to be skillfull, but skills will never take the place of the Spirit of God.
  • Our aim is to build to help build godly character and habits of study that a man of God …
  • Our aim is to prepare workmen who are approved unto God, who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Joy Bible Institute cannot do these things without your help. It is not an island unto itself. Without people in your churches who receive the call of God, we have no one to train. Without your help in training, the training will be incomplete. We need pastors who will take aspiring pastors, Bible school students, under their wings and who will teach them the ways of God, share your wisdom with them, show them how to walk with God, how to minister to people, how to communicate clearly.

Joy Bible Institute is part of the Body of Christ. We cannot say that we have no need of you. And I hope that you will not say that you have no need of us. We are members one of another.

Jesus said in Matthew 9:37-38 that the harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few. Then he told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth workers into the harvest field.

I am asking you to pray

  • that the Lord will call men from our churches into fulltime Christian ministry.
  • for the ministry of Joy Bible Institute, that He will bless the training of workers.
  • that the Lord will send forth workers to the remote areas of Vanuatu. Men who will preach not their ideas or their experiences, but the Word of God – the whole counsel of God — without fear or favor.
  • for the faculty and staff and administration of Joy Bible Institute that God will lead us, give us wisdom, and grant us His blessing.

May the Lord bless His Church in Vanuatu and beyond.

J. Gary Ellison, Principal