Henry T. Blackaby, founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, an organization built to help people experience God, encouraged NGU¹s graduating class of approximately 300 to listen to the heart of God. The school’s commencement ceremony took place on Thursday, May third.
“When we’re up here [on stage] we have the enormous privilege of looking into the faces of these young people. I wish all of you had the opportunity to see the potential in each one,” said Blackaby. “Every one of you graduates, as you remain personally committed to Him, there¹s no limit to what He can do through you. Our nation and our world needs Christian, Godly young adults who are wholly yielded to Him.”
Blackaby encouraged the graduates to seek and listen to the heart of God. He said that our world is different than it has been. Not an easy world to enter. Not an easy world in which to make a difference, but there is no limit to what God can do through one person that is wholly yielded to Him.
He referenced Deuteronomy 30:14, which says, "No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it." He said that if you¹re not hearing from God, the problem is not your hearing; the problem is your heart. “If for any reason there are any of you who seem to have great stress in hearing from God. Please know this scripture says it¹s because your heart has turned away,” said Blackaby.
At the conclusion of his address, he paralleled the life of a graduate with the life of Jesus. He referenced John 17. “Jesus said, Father, these twelve disciples were yours and you have chosen to entrust them into my care and you told me what to tell them. For three and a half years I have told them,” said Blackaby. “They [the disciples] went out and turned the world upside down.”
He told the graduates that their professors, unknown to them, prayed earnestly, “Father, bring into my classroom some young adults that I can teach and lead them into your will so that out from my class will come those that God can use to turn the world upside down,” Blackaby said.
Born in British Columbia, Blackaby has devoted his lifetime to ministry.He has served as a music director, education director, and pastor in churches in California and Canada. He also served as president of Canadian Baptist Theological College for seven years and as president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Conference. He has provided leadership to thousands of pastors and laymen across North America and has spoken to missionaries and other groups in over ninety countries of the world.
He studied English and history at the University of British Columbia as an undergraduate and earned his B.D. and Th.M. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds four honorary doctorate degrees.
In 1970, Blackaby followed God¹s call to pastor a tiny church in Saskatoon, Canada. Not only did Faith Baptist Church grow to many times its original membership, but it led to the founding of thirty-eight new churches and became a center for pastoral training.
Blackaby went on to serve on staff at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through the Home Mission Board, he led revival and spiritual awakening in the life of the convention. He also served as special assistant to the presidents of the International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources. Although he is now officially retired, Dr. Blackaby continues to provide consultative leadership in the life of the Christian community.
He has published an array of spiritually influential messages in his lifetime, most notably Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (1990), which has sold 7 million copies and has been translated into over 45 languages. His books, Experiencing God Together and Experiencing God Day by Day Devotional, both won the Gold Medallion Award.
Blackaby lives with his wife, Marilynn, in Rex, Georgia. He has five children (Richard, Tom, Melvin, Norman, and Carrie), all of whom are serving in Christian ministry, and fourteen grandchildren. His long-range goal is to encourage revival and spiritual awakening in the United States, Canada, and across the world through speaking, praying, enlisting, writing and mentoring. His hobbies are reading and traveling.
At the conclusion of his address, Blackaby was presented with an honorary doctor of Christian leadership degree by NGU President Epting and Dr. Arnold Emery, chairman of the NGU board of trustees.
“Thank you Dr. Blackaby for being a tremendous Christian leader in our world today,” said President Epting. “Your writings have been an inspiration to me and to so many others.”Blackaby was also on hand to witness his granddaughter, Carrie, graduate summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Arts degree.