Founder and Innovator Ben Johnson Ph.D.
Ben Campbell Johnson is an established leader, for over fifty years, in the renewal of churches and a seeker for new and unexpected forms of the church. His ministry spans the small group movement, prayer movement and ministry of laity emphasis of the mid to late 20th century. Following his focus on these efforts at revitalization, he accepted the call to be Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. In that capacity, numerous programs aimed at the renewal of the Presbyterian Church began under his leadership.
Notable among his contributions was the creation of The Thompson Scholars Program, a two-week study program for pastors. He also began the Certificate in Christian Spirituality; offered both clergy and laity a way of deepening their relationship with God. This effort has lasted more than twenty years and is continuing to grow in the numbers of people who affected by these effective ways of adult education.
Since retiring, he has journeyed seriously on the contemplative path with Thomas Merton as a guide. This shift in his life has led to an awakening to persons of other faiths. Of particular interest has been the relationship between Christians and Muslims. Additionally, refugees and their issues have been a growing concern. This interfaith ministry with refugees recognizes the rapid changes that have taken place in the world by bringing many cultures and religions in contact with each other. The forces of globalism – global travel, the internet and global companies – force us to become acquainted with those not like ourselves.
The emerging new church comes in many forms and continues to capture Ben Johnson's imagination. Every aspect of the historic church is a point for renewal – worship, education, mission and leadership. Leadership in this new church will be different; training and preparation for this work will take many forms; the places of meeting and the types of worship will be challenging and relevant. ICR is about all these things. ICR is seeking partnership with all those who are looking for a new day and new life through equipping leadership.
Ben's website is under redevelopment and we hope to have it operational again late in 2017. There you will find video interviews with persons of different faiths and a video of Johnson's spiritual journey. Also, his book, “Confessing a Life,” and his journals will let you see the influences that have shaped him.