(EDITOR’S NOTE: A multi-part series looking back at the impact of the American Pastors Network over the past five years.)
Serving as a pastor can sometimes be a thankless job, with few in the church who can truly identify with the role and appreciate the “always-on-call” nature of the position.
But for five years, the American Pastors Network (APN) has helped equip pastors with resources, insight, encouragement and culture-changing information that help them educate their congregations to “stand in the gap for truth” alongside other members of church leadership.
Throughout November, APN will reflect on its five-year anniversary, on God’s provision and all the blessings bestowed upon the ministry since its inception in 2013. The Pennsylvania Pastors Network began in 2005 in the first capital city of our nation, Philadelphia. From this one state chapter, APN was birthed. Today, APN celebrates that the national network of pastors has started eight state chapters over the years with many in the wings to launch additional state chapters. Currently, APN state chapters exist in Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia—with three others preparing to launch.
As it looks back on five years of ministry, APN asked three state chapter presidents this question: “As a busy pastor, what was it about APN and its mission that persuaded you and your state leadership team to assume the leadership of your state pastors network?”
Tim Berlin, president of the Michigan Pastors Network, says the answer is twofold.
“I love the emphasis APN puts on the pulpit ministry,” he said. “I completely agree with the fact that we (must) motivate those to whom we serve and those to whom we lead in the church to have a biblical worldview and to approach the issues of the day from the Bible. The Bible teaches us in 2 Peter that (God’s Word) has all the answers for godliness in this world and so that we can live godly. We have all the answers to approach every issue with a biblical worldview and a biblical perspective, and that way, God can be glorified through any and all circumstances and any and all issues of the day. We ought to be teaching and preaching from the Word of God to help our people respond properly to the things that are going on in the world around them.
“I have (also) really appreciated APN’s emphasis on sharing the Gospel with political leaders,” Berlin added. “We are servants of God as called by God to minister in the local church, but they are ministers of God called and appointed by God to serve in public office, and yet many of these have a soul that will spend eternity without Christ if we do not share the Gospel. So we have adopted the premise that we’re going to teach them the Gospel before we try to discuss policy or positions on different issues. We want to build a relationship that allows us to share the Gospel.”
Dale Walker, president of the Tennessee Pastors Network, echoed his fellow leader’s sentiments.
“I’m bi-vocational as many pastors are,” Walker said. “We had a loose group of pastors prior to becoming associated with the American Pastors Network, but the strong biblical worldview to stand in the gap was exactly what attracted us to APN—that we could come together under the umbrella of American Pastors Network and make a major difference across our state and unite Bible-believing preachers to stand in the gap for our country and our nation and our state and our counties and our communities.”
Keith Carnahan, president of the Missouri Pastors Network, said the need is great for a national network of pastors because there are always forces vying for pastors’ time and energy.
“We need to energize the pastors in their pulpits,” he said. “We need to get them to engage in the culture. I’m 65 years old, so I see that the younger generation of preachers hasn’t had the opportunity to understand some of these issues—the battles we’ve been fighting.”
APN President Sam Rohrer said that APN leaders were called and moved to form a ministry that would serve as a nationwide network of biblically faithful pastors and their church members whose objective would be to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded Christians who would: affirm the authority of Scripture; take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture; encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits; and engage their congregations in taking part in the political process on a non-partisan basis.
“We’ve stayed true to that mission, and God’s blessings have been miraculous,” Rohrer said. “So much has been done with so little. There have been no single deep pockets, no large benefactor and certainly no government funding. Yet God has done great things in five years.”
Specifically, APN has made tremendous strides in media, through both radio and television. APN has three national radio programs—“Stand in the Gap Today,” “Stand in the Gap Minute” and “Stand in the Gap Weekend”—airing on hundreds of stations and reaching millions each week. The programs consider the most important global concerns from a biblical and constitutional perspective. Rohrer also hosts a weekly television program, which considers transcending cultural issues from a biblical worldview perspective. “Stand in the Gap TV” airs on several networks, including WBPH in Philadelphia, VCY-TV in Milwaukee and Upliftv nationally.