Roberta Hestenes to be featured as first CCT luncheon speaker
Local pastors, seminarians and Talbot students are invited to the first luncheon by the Center for Christian Thought.
The Center for Christian Thought will hold a luncheon Oct. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Talbot East building featuring speaker Rev. Roberta Hestenes.
Hestenes will be giving a talk titled “Every Thought Captive: Steve Jobs, Christian Scholarship, and the Pastoral Challenge.”
The title for the topic was chosen by Hestenes and reflects CCT’s desire to reach local pastors, according to Steve Porter, associate director for the center. The lunch is about growing church leadership and addressing the issues that are most important, CCT’s communications coordinator Evan Rosa said.
The topic needed to be addressed by a leader within evangelicalism that could address the world of Christian scholarship as well as the needs of the local church, according to Porter.
“She is a proven leader practically and she is a proven scholar in her writing,” Rosa said. “Her continued work, I think, more than qualifies her as someone who can deliver an important message to pastors at work today.”
While there have been many luncheons held by Biola for pastors, this is the first luncheon that the CCT has hosted, according to Porter.
“Biola's Center for Christian Thought has a mission to bring leading Christian scholarship to the local church and society,” Porter said. “We want to bring together pastors from local churches to consider how Christian scholarship might help their ministries in the local church.”
Selecting the speaker for the Luncheon
Determining who would speak at the luncheon weighed heavily on the impact the pastor had on the minds and hearts of their church members, according to Rosa.
“When a pastor can lead his or her congregation in taking every thought captive, that’s going to promote a wholeness in the individuals and the community,” Rosa said.
Hestenes was recommended by the CCT staff and Biola Faculty Advisory Committee to speak at the luncheon, according to Porter.
“Roberta knows the Christian university context and she knows the local church. That is why we asked her to speak,” Porter said. “She is uniquely qualified to speak on these topics.”
Experience Meant for Sharing
Hestenes became a Christian while attending Whittier College. Her family did not share her religious views. Since she became a Christian, her life was opened up to her work in ministry.
Her experience in Christian ministry has spread throughout 40 years and she has dealt with challenges along the way, according to Hestenes. She was one of the first women ordained in a Presbyterian church, the first female president at Eastern University — a Christian university in Philadelphia — and the first female to serve on any board of World Vision, she said.
Hestenes said that one of the most basic challenges she faced in her 40 years of ministry was that of being a woman.
“I was asked to take on formal roles in the church. There were a lot of issues and milestones,” Hestenes said.
Hestenes said that she knew every experience was a door opened by the Lord. She faced opposition as a woman in ministry but managed to stay rooted in prayer. She faces the challenge of continuing to learn as well as learning to grow.
“Constantly, I think as a part of the Christian journey, you’re on a learning path where you meet new challenges and learn how to meet those in the Lord,” Hestenes said.
Hestenes believes that no one in ministry really retires. She continues ministry in various forms such as speaking nationally and locally, writing and leading a weekly Bible study. Hestenes said she has personal reasons that drive her to continue her work.
“I always thought of it as responding to the doors that God was opening,” Hestenes said.
Communicating to Prospective Pastors in the Future
“The purpose of Biola's Center for Christian Thought is to encourage high quality, evangelical scholarship on significant issues of our day and disseminate the fruit of that research to the local church and broader society,” Porter said.
CCT hopes attendees will leave the luncheon with a greater sense of community and having sharpened their vocation, according to Rosa. As a part of their mission, CCT plans to hold the luncheon once a semester in order to acquaint local pastors with the resources available.