Effective Communicators Are Life Long Learners: A Lesson from Dr. John Bisagno


Yesterday I heard 75-year old John Bisagno speak to a group of pastors at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference. Dr. Bisagno retired after 30 years of ministry at First Baptist Church Houston leading that congregation to reach thousands of people in  Houston and around the globe. While most men his age would be tempted to reminisce about the good ol’ days and how the new generation has drifted away from God, Bisagno had no time for that. He was more interested in speaking about how to use social media to reach the lost.

What has impressed me the most about Dr. Bisagno is a quality that I have valued since my early teens when an 83 year old school cook asked me to help her cook a dish she didn’t have a recipe for. I felt uneasy about telling granny what to do in the kitchen, but she was gracious and genuinely wanted to learn. That day, I learned more about life than she did about cooking: I will never stop learning and I will learn from anyone who can help me.

Dr. Bisagno is cut from the same cloth. He doesn’t care about the tools of ministry. When knocking on doors worked well, he knocked on doors.  When radio and tv were viable tools for ministry, he used them. Now he realizes that social media is a powerful tool to reach out to a great number of people whom we might never meet face to face but who are willing to engage in a faith conversation.

“If you’re not using Twitter and Facebook to engage culture you’re not going to be as successful in ministry today,” he said to an audience much younger than himself. Never he discounted the power of God to transform lives. He’s message was simple. Use the tools you have. Connect with people whenever they are. Speak the language of the culture with the message of the gospel. The medium is ever changing, but the message is timeless.

My favorite quote of the morning was: “What are you going to do if you get to heaven and find out God likes rap music?”

Who in your life have inspired  you to continue to learn and grow?

  • Sally Epps

    Dr. Bisagno reminds me of my grandmother. Until the day she passed away she was always learning. She was the first in our family to own a computer and helped senior citizens at her church to learn to use the Internet.

    Btw she actually like rap music.

  • todshuttleworth

    Amazing that he has never stopped learning. So many have.

  • todshuttleworth

    Amazing that he has never stopped learning. So many have.

  • Chris Lewis

    I had a teacher in college that was learning and growing. He reminds me of Mr. Bisagno. He always said that the day he stopped learning, he would be dead.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    I also had a teacher in college that was like that. Mr. Sam Shanko was an amazing organist and pushed me way beyond what I thought I could do. I'm very thankful for him.

  • Dan Rockwell


    Love stories that carry a point. Thanks for an encouraging word today.

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell

  • Rick Yuzzi

    This goes to the heart of one of the key core values of my church (http://www.johnsonferry.org) that says: "We believe in an unchanging message and are committed to ever-changing methodologies."

    We have three different worship styles to draw people in, including an extreme contemporary service called "The Edge". I have to remember that when God looks down on the kids worshiping him in that service, to him it is a joyful noise, and not just noise.

  • Vickey Banks

    LOVE the last line of your post, "The medium is ever changing, but the message is timeless." That's the ticket isn't it? Compelling post. Iinspirational figure. Beautifully written. Thank you.

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