2020 Ministry Report
2020 Ministry Report
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.Habakkuk 2:14
In 1957, Dr. R.C. Sproul was confronted by the overwhelming holiness of God. That experience began a lifetime of pursuing a greater knowledge of God and birthed an unquenchable desire to lead others into a greater understanding of God and of themselves.
More than fifty years later, we are humbled to survey the vast army of supporters that has risen to enable such important work. Thanks to you, the deep truths of God’s Word are finding their way into more places than ever before, and lives are being transformed by a growing knowledge of God.
Every year, Ligonier Ministries provides more ways for Christians to read, listen, and gather around God's truth.
Under God’s blessing, the outreach we’ve been able to accomplish together has continued to expand. This report is a celebration of all that you’ve enabled through your generosity and your prayers.
As we entered 2020, none of us could have imagined the challenges our world would face. The COVID-19 health crisis, economic turmoil, and social and political upheaval were beyond what most of us have experienced in any year prior. However, we know that none of these trials have fallen outside the sovereign purposes of God. In fact, we believe the Lord prepared Ligonier to serve the global church at such a time as this. By His grace, more people than ever are seeking out faithful biblical teaching from this ministry.
When we proclaim, teach, and defend the truth of God’s holiness, it provides eternal hope in Jesus Christ. That’s why it was Dr. R.C. Sproul’s vision to have Ligonier in the middle of a flourishing of Reformed theology in service to the church throughout the world. Committed to this calling of discipleship, the Lord provided as we opened our online teaching series library to people around the globe during stay-at-home orders. Through thousands of hours of teaching, numerous livestreams and online events, new outreaches and podcasts, and landmark translation efforts, more than twenty-five million people have been reached this year with the hope that they will better understand the holiness, sovereignty, and saving grace of God.
And as the spiritual need grows daily, Ligonier’s opportunity to serve more people in more places is growing. The Lord is our steadfast anchor in every storm, and He is working all things together for the good of His people and the glory of His name. As we approach our fiftieth year of ministry in 2021, demand for trustworthy Bible teaching from Ligonier has never been higher. This ministry report gives only a glimpse into the many outreaches you have made possible by your prayers and financial support. We are grateful to God for you, for you share in this work. Please join us in praying for faithful, fruitful ministry in the years to come.
It is a privilege to serve with you to advance the gospel. Thank you.
Yours in Christ,
President & CEO
God revealed Himself in a book. That makes reading an essential part of every Christian’s life. We publish so Christians can grow in their understanding of God and of themselves. Every year, we give away thousands of study Bibles, books, and magazines to people around the world who are hungry for the truth. Thank you for joining them.
“I can't stress enough how grateful I feel to God for letting me find this amazing ministry.
I'm a missionary to Haiti, and to keep learning from Scripture is vital for me. I downloaded all of the study guides because I really want to learn as much as I can. My relationship with God is improving as I get deeper into the Scripture, and I love it.”
During 2020’s stay-at-home orders, more Christians than ever turned online for trustworthy teaching to help them grow in their faith. This presented an opportunity to support growing believers with the digital study guides that accompany many of Ligonier’s teaching series. Each study guide helps students solidify their learning through lesson outlines, relevant Scripture readings, study questions, and more.
As many more people watched Ligonier’s video teaching content, your support made it possible to provide all of our digital study guides for free. The interest surged, and more than 660,000 free study guides were downloaded, helping many people take their Bible study even deeper.
For more than forty years, Tabletalk magazine has helped growing Christians live biblically informed lives. Every month, it reaches more than 260,000 people in more than seventy-five countries around the world.
Each issue contains daily Bible studies to help readers understand and apply the Word of God, as well as an effective plan for reading through the Bible in a year. Thought-provoking articles from gifted pastors and Bible teachers address biblical, theological, and practical themes to help strengthen and encourage people in their faith.
Subscribers can also access Tabletalk at TabletalkMagazine.com. Every new issue is available digitally, along with online-exclusive content and a searchable archive of back issues.
Tabletalk is biblical, reliable, and readable. Above all, Tabletalk exists to help Christians deepen their knowledge of God’s Word in order that their minds may be renewed and their lives transformed.
Ask Ligonier is our online biblical and theological chat service—providing clear, concise, and trustworthy answers. Drawing on Ligonier’s vast library of resources and Dr. R.C. Sproul’s decades-long ministry of answering students’ questions, we’re now able to answer your theological questions twenty-four hours a day, six days a week. In 2020, we launched the Ask Ligonier podcast as another way for you to receive answers from some of the most trusted pastors and theologians who are serving the church today.
Do you have a question about a Bible passage or theology? Whether it’s for tomorrow night’s Bible study or something that’s been puzzling you for years, just ask Ligonier.
Your generous support means this ground-breaking initiative is available free of charge. Well-trained team members are located around the world, standing by to answer your questions.
Since 2014, our biennial State of Theology survey has been measuring the theological health of Americans. Two years ago, we also commissioned the first ever State of Theology in the United Kingdom. In 2020, we asked three thousand Americans about their beliefs regarding God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, truth, and ethics. This professionally conducted survey is designed to help Christians understand today’s culture and equip the church with better insights for discipleship.
The 2020 results, available at TheStateOfTheology.com, show an urgent need for faithful Bible teaching as society in the U.S. drifts from accepting the truth claims of the Christian faith.
Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson is one of the most well-respected Reformed theologians in the world today. He taught systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for many years, and he has also taught at other Reformed seminaries. He served as pastor of St. George’s Tron Church in Glasgow, Scotland, from 1998 to 2003 and of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., from 2005 until his retirement in 2013. Dr. Ferguson was a longtime friend of Dr. R.C. Sproul and has been a regular speaker at Ligonier conferences and events over the years.
Dr. Ferguson began serving at Ligonier Ministries as a teaching fellow in 2010. He has a rare ability to present the truths of the Christian faith clearly and winsomely. He has written numerous books, including The Whole Christ, In Christ Alone, Devoted to God, Some Pastors and Teachers, In the Year of Our Lord, and Maturity. He has also recorded several video teaching series with Ligonier. Dr. Ferguson, having now retired to his native Scotland, continues to write and speak.
The Reformation Study Bible guides growing Christians through the Word of God with trusted contributions from seventy-five distinguished scholars. More than two hundred thousand copies have been distributed since March 2015.
Dr. R.C. Sproul edited this landmark publication, which contains more than 1.1 million words of verse-by-verse commentary. Its pages are also packed with insightful articles; topical explanations; historic creeds, confessions, and catechisms; and award-winning maps and visuals. The Condensed Edition contains the best of this commentary and is designed for life on the go.
The Reformation Study Bible, available in ESV or NKJV, elevates Scripture on every page and distills timeless theology for twenty-first-century disciples.
Translating the Reformation Study Bible into other languages is fueling Great Commission discipleship around the world. German, Korean, and Spanish editions are now available. Translation work is underway in three more languages: Arabic, French, and Portuguese. In total, nearly one billion people worldwide speak one of these three languages, yet they lack a study Bible rooted in the historic Christian faith and Reformed theology.
These pioneering translations will strengthen and advance global gospel ministry, thanks to your generous support. When complete, it will mean a Reformation Study Bible is available in at least one language spoken on every continent in the world.
Thousands of pastors, church leaders, and students in ten African countries are receiving a free copy of the Reformation Study Bible, thanks to the strategic partnership between Ligonier Ministries and the Rosemary Jensen Bible Foundation. We have already sent more than 20,000 Bibles, with plans to distribute an additional 16,000 by 2028.
This outreach is only possible with the support of visionary donors. Thank you for partnering with us. You are bringing the Word of God to growing Christians in lands where Bibles are expensive and trustworthy theological resources are rare.
The gospel legacy of the Reformers lives on through our publishing efforts. Authored by trusted teachers of our own day, such as Dr. R.C. Sproul and the Ligonier Teaching Fellows, these books and resources stand resolutely on the Bible and seek to build up believers in their knowledge of God.
New titles on discipleship, the doctrines of the Reformation, and the history of the church continue to steward the historic Christian faith for future generations. These volumes also fuel our partnerships with international ministries and provide trustworthy teaching for Christians around the world.
Ligonier.org provides a spiritual feast for growing Christians. More than eight thousand educational resources, including a vast library of articles, devotionals, and video and audio messages, are available to explore. Thanks to you, many of these resources are available for free, reaching millions of people every month.
Dr. W. Robert Godfrey served as president of Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, Calif., from 1993 to 2017, and he taught church history there as well for many years. He has also taught at many other seminaries throughout a distinguished academic teaching career. Dr. Godfrey first heard about Dr. R.C. Sproul when he was a student in seminary. Many years later, Dr. Godfrey became a regular speaker at Ligonier conferences and events, and he developed a friendship with Dr. Sproul.
Dr. Godfrey began serving at Ligonier Ministries as a teaching fellow in 2010, and he is chairman of Ligonier’s board of directors. As a careful historian and committed churchman, Dr. Godfrey brings tremendous wisdom to our cultural moment as Ligonier seeks to serve the people of God. He has recorded a six-part Ligonier teaching series called A Survey of Church History, and his many books include God’s Pattern for Creation, Reformation Sketches, An Unexpected Journey, Learning to Love the Psalms, and Saving the Reformation. Dr. Godfrey continues to speak and write, and he is president emeritus and professor emeritus of church history at Westminster Seminary California.
The English language contains a treasure trove of theological riches. Thanks to your prayerful and financial support, these resources are being distributed around the world in many additional languages.
Teams of people are translating trustworthy teaching into the most-spoken languages on earth. With billions of people around the world, there is an immense global need for truth, and our aim is to assist the church as it takes the gospel to all nations.
We hand-pick translators who combine fidelity to Scripture with an expert grasp of their language. Thanks to fruitful partnerships with ministries around the world, these translation efforts are increasing in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, and Spanish, and publishing continues in many other languages.
Military chaplains serve those who are literally on the front lines. Your support is forming a spiritual supply line by providing gospel resources for troops as trustworthy books are freely distributed for those on active duty around the world.
Hundreds of prisoners write to us every month, hungry for the gospel and for resources to help them grow in Christ. Your support sends them care packages that include a special edition of the Reformation Study Bible and books by trusted teachers. Prison chaplains are also supplied with the teaching resources they need to serve those under their care.
Who is Jesus, and what did He come to do? Many evangelicals are confused when it comes to answering these questions. The Ligonier Statement on Christology seeks to bring clarity where there is confusion. It carefully restates the Bible’s teaching about the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. With biblical testimony and theological precision, this statement proclaims that Jesus is truly God and truly man. Written for the glory of Christ and the edification of His people, it is available in English and twenty other major world languages.
Dr. Steven J. Lawson served as a pastor for thirty-four years in Arkansas and Alabama, and he was most recently senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala. Dr. Lawson founded OnePassion Ministries to equip pastors to exposit the Word of God faithfully. To that end, he travels around the world to speak at conferences and to lead The Institute for Expository Preaching, a three-day seminar in biblical exposition. He is also editor of Expositor magazine, and he oversees the doctor of ministry program at The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, Calif. Dr. Lawson was a student of Dr. R.C. Sproul at Reformed Theological Seminary, and he has taught at Ligonier conferences and events for many years.
Dr. Lawson began serving at Ligonier Ministries as a teaching fellow in 2010. He preaches with an uncommon zeal for God’s glory and for the central tenets of Reformed theology. He is author of numerous books, including Foundations of Grace and The Moment of Truth, and has recorded several video teaching series with Ligonier. He also serves as editor of the Long Line of Godly Men Profile series.
Faith comes by hearing. Since hearing the word of Christ is essential to our spiritual life, every week we broadcast radio programs, video teaching series, podcasts, and more in order to reach millions of people with biblical truth. Trustworthy, life-changing teaching from Dr. R.C. Sproul, the Ligonier Teaching Fellows, and many others is made available 24/7. Thank you for tuning in.
“By opening your teaching series, what would have been a mental struggle for me has turned into delving into the Word of the Lord.
I have learned so much and have grown closer to the Lord in unbelievable ways! Thank you so much.”
The various stay-at-home orders in 2020 presented challenges for churches and families seeking to grow in God’s Word. Pastors and elders around the world thought about new ways to bring God’s Word to their congregations, and parents searched for unique ways to care for their children’s souls.
As video viewing skyrocketed around the world, Ligonier decided to take a bold step to help growing Christians maintain the daily discipleship within their families and communities. The generosity of our donors gave us the confidence, for the first time ever, to open our entire teaching series library to be free to stream. This effort to help Christians redeem the time and grow in their knowledge of God caused the time spent on Ligonier.org to double and video views on Ligonier’s YouTube channel to triple.
Our daily teaching broadcast, Renewing Your Mind, equips growing Christians to know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. Each day, we air trustworthy, accessible, and in-depth Bible teaching from Dr. R.C. Sproul, the Ligonier Teaching Fellows, and other gifted teachers.
You enable us to broadcast on more than 360 radio stations around the United States, as a podcast, and online at RenewingYourMind.org. Our aim is to spread the knowledge of the glory of God, and our prayer is that multitudes will be transformed by the renewing of their minds.
Spanish Edition: Renovando Tu Mente
Since its launch in 2018, the Spanish edition of Renewing Your Mind has broadcasted on radio stations across Latin America, along with major online radio portals. This year alone, the program has been downloaded more than 1.6 million times.
Streaming trustworthy teaching and preaching twenty-four hours a day, RefNet is our popular internet radio app. It provides God-centered content for growing Christians, now with listeners in more than 180 countries.
RefNet features trusted teachers including Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and the Ligonier Teaching Fellows. The daily schedule also includes Bible readings, audiobooks, music, and more—combining to bring you fresh spiritual encouragement every day.
RefNet draws on Ligonier’s extensive library of resources and partners with other respected Reformed ministries to be a trusted alternative to traditional Christian radio.
For decades, our video teaching series have enabled Dr. R.C. Sproul and other gifted teachers to share the riches of Scripture with a wide audience. There are hundreds of topics available, designed to build up disciples in their knowledge of God and equip them to live for the glory of God.
This expansive library weaves a rich tapestry of theology, apologetics, church history, biblical studies, and much more. Each message is less than thirty minutes in length, making it well-suited for your Sunday school, home group, or personal Bible study.
Ligonier teaching series have been translated into several different languages, including Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Thanks to your support, we are now also sharing series widely in Chinese and Farsi.
The Ligonier app is a daily gospel resource that provides instant access to a deep library of Christian teaching. It puts trustworthy teaching in the palm of your hand, gathering together daily audio, video, devotional articles, and much more.
Accessed more than 6.1 million times annually, the app is a go-to resource for growing Christians. In addition to our devotional content and media archives, you’ll also find easy access to Ask Ligonier, our biblical and theological chat service.
By God’s grace, and because of your support, the Ligonier app is available free to all users. Thank you.
Dr. Stephen J. Nichols serves as president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. Before being appointed to these positions in 2014, Dr. Nichols taught for seventeen years as a Bible college and seminary professor. He was research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pa., and he has also taught courses at Reformed Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
Dr. Nichols began serving Ligonier Ministries as a teaching fellow in 2013. Combining his interest in church history and a love for the Reformed tradition, Dr. Nichols has a passion for discipleship. He is author of numerous books, including For Us and for Our Salvation, Peace, and A Time for Confidence. He is coeditor of The Legacy of Luther and Crossway’s Theologians on the Christian Life series.
Ligonier teaching resources can now be accessed in more ways than ever. Whether it’s video or audio, trusted Bible teaching is available wherever you like to tune in—YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Alexa, and Roku.
We are reaching more people than ever before with the knowledge of God’s holiness. Across all of our online platforms, students watch millions of hours of Ligonier videos each year. On YouTube alone, this equates to more than five hundred years of continuous playback in 2020.
Renewing Your Mind and messages from National Conferences also air on NRBTV, reaching up to forty-five million households with the truth of God’s Word.
Our featured podcasts provide spiritual food to growing Christians wherever they are, and we’ve expanded our library to meet the surging demand for trustworthy audio teaching.
In January, we launched the Ask Ligonier podcast. Each week, our Teaching Fellows and special guests draw from years of careful study to answer biblical and theological questions from listeners like you.
Luther: In Real Time launched in October, allowing you to walk with Martin Luther 500 years to the day from his heresy charges to his famous stand for God’s Word at the Diet of Worms.
A new podcast from Dr. Sproul is coming in early 2021. We’re eager for you to hear and share it once the first episode releases in January.
Thanks to you, Renewing Your Mind, RefNet, and all our podcasts are offered freely. Tune in on iTunes, Google Play, and wherever you listen to podcasts.
Iron sharpens iron. Every year, in cities around the world and online, Ligonier Ministries gathers Christians at events to study God’s Word for mutual edification. It’s a privilege to meet, serve, and learn from God’s people. Our aim is to bless the local church and strengthen its members for greater service. Thank you for joining us.
“Thank you for giving away the free study groups.
In the beginning of the quarantine, I asked my nephew if he would like to take courses with me. He is 16 years old, and it has been a great blessing to see how he's grown in his knowledge of the Bible. For so many people, the 2020 quarantine will be filled with bad memories; for me and my nephew, we will remember it for the theology courses we took.”
As many Bible studies, small groups, and Sunday school classes were canceled during the stay-at-home orders in 2020, Christians needed ways to stay connected online and study the deep truths of the Christian faith together.
During this time, you enabled Ligonier Connect to open its expansive course library by making the group study feature free. As a result, nearly 25,000 study groups were created by churches and Christians around the world. This allowed believers to invite their friends to grow together online, providing them with private online classrooms to take any course in our library.
Due to local restrictions responding to COVID-19, we were unable to meet in person for our 2020 National Conference. In God’s providence, and because of your support, Ligonier’s new on-campus studio was finished just in time to transition to an online event, Made in the Image of God. The livestream reached more than 100,000 people around the world, helping Christians to draw needed strength from God’s Word as we considered our responsibility to serve our families, churches, and communities well amid a global crisis.
While many in-person gatherings were postponed, we hosted online panel discussions with our Teaching Fellows and special guests to deliver timely encouragement to the people of God. Several Teaching Fellows also brought clear, accessible answers to your theological questions during Ask Ligonier livestreams.
To commemorate Reformation Day, we streamed Romans 8, a special online event in Spanish and Portuguese and dubbed in English. Growing Christians joined together from around the world to marvel at the rich truths of the gospel, emboldened to live as more than conquerors in Christ.
Dr. Burk Parsons is senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., where he labored many years alongside Dr. Sproul as copastor. Dr. Parsons had the privilege of joining Dr. Sproul in local church ministry as they worked together as shepherds in Central Florida. Dr. Parsons also serves as chief publishing officer of Ligonier Ministries, and he has served as editor of Tabletalk magazine since 2003.
Dr. Parsons began serving at Ligonier Ministries in 1999, and he became a teaching fellow in 2017. Dr. Parsons is a wise and discerning voice, and he helps maintain Ligonier’s theological fidelity and advance Ligonier’s service to the church. He has recorded a teaching series with Ligonier called The Great Commission, and he is author of Why Do We Have Creeds? He is editor of Assured by God and John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology and coeditor and cotranslator of A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin.
Reformation Bible College is gathering the next generation of Christian leaders, offering a classically based, theologically driven college curriculum. Growing in the knowledge of God is the heartbeat of RBC, where faculty seek to ignite a passion for theological conviction and equip students for faithful service in any vocation.
This year, visionary donors provided the needed resources for RBC to offer its Foundation Year certificate program online for the first time. This allows students who are currently unable to move to Central Florida to gain a firm theological foundation for all of life. The on-campus student body was also the largest it has been in the college’s history.
Winter Conference: Gathering with Today and Tomorrow’s Leaders
Every year, RBC hosts its annual Winter Conference on its Central Florida campus. Gifted teachers train students and Christian leaders in theology and the knowledge of God, urging them to hold to the truth of God’s Word—especially where it is under attack. With sessions on apologetics, church history, and more, this conference seeks to fuel the bold proclamation of the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Always Ready: Answers to Tough Questions
Thousands of middle and high school students were equipped to defend the Christian faith through Always Ready, an online livestream hosted by Ligonier Ministries and RBC. At a time when the Bible’s teaching is rapidly being marginalized, gifted teachers and speakers helped young disciples stand firm for the truth of God’s Word and give sound answers to the questions posed by their non-Christian friends.
Ligonier Connect allows growing Christians to learn online from an ever-expanding library of interactive video courses. Flexibility to study with others or to pursue a course at your own pace means how you learn is up to you.
Sit under the teaching of gifted theologians such as Drs. R.C. Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson, and Derek Thomas, together with other Ligonier Teaching Fellows and gifted teachers. More than 1,100 lessons from over one hundred courses are available to choose from.
Covering the Bible, theology, Christian living, worldview and culture, and church history, Ligonier Connect offers teaching, interactive activities, and more to build up disciples in the knowledge of God.
Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas is senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., and Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. Originally from Wales, Dr. Thomas served as a pastor in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for seventeen years before being called to the United States to serve as minister of teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss.
Dr. Thomas began serving Ligonier Ministries as a teaching fellow in 2015. Dr. Thomas’ many years of pastoral ministry in the United States and Northern Ireland, along with his extensive and profound understanding of Reformed theology, have furnished him with a sharp intellect and a pastor's heart. He is author of numerous books, including How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, Calvin’s Teaching on Job, Strength for the Weary, and, with Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson, Ichthus: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Saviour. He has also written commentaries on books of the Bible including Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Ezra and Nehemiah, Acts, Galatians, and Revelation.
Ligonier study cruises gather ministry friends at sea for trustworthy teaching from God’s Word. Together, they enjoy a memorable time with refreshing Christian fellowship set amid the glory of God’s creation. In addition to faithful teaching, Christians have the opportunity to meet like-minded believers. Popular destinations include Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe.
From historic sites in Israel to Germany to the British Isles, Ligonier study tours take inquisitive Christians to the places where God has worked in church history. Ligonier Teaching Fellows travel with attendees to guide, to teach, and to explain why our history still matters today. These non-donor-funded tours provide a rare, firsthand opportunity for growing Christians to experience our family history together. We look forward to sailing again soon.
To fight the worldwide famine of the knowledge of God, the Institute for Expository Preaching trains pastors, church leaders, and Bible teachers in the art of expository preaching. With more than forty-five years in preaching and teaching ministry, Dr. Steven Lawson leads these events across the country and around the world.
Each concentrated, three-day seminar is dedicated to the passionate preaching of the Word of God. Focused modules help growing expositors learn the ins and outs of proclaiming God’s sovereignty in salvation, exhorting the church in the pursuit of holiness, preaching with evangelistic zeal, and more. As Christian leaders sharpen their ability to expound the Scriptures, the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ is heard more clearly from pulpits everywhere and the church is strengthened in the knowledge of the Lord.