Well Done, Pepperdine

In case you haven’t heard, Mike Cope will be replacing Jerry Rushford as Director of the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. I’m thrilled for Pepperdine and Churches of Christ–for several reasons:

  • I’ve said before that the Pepperdine Lectures is on a completely different level as a national lecture program. It has just the right mix of elite preaching/teaching, fellowship, and organically offered new ideas. Jerry Rushford has done 30 years of unbelievably excellent direction of those lectures. He has become the pastor of a church of 4,000 that meets for 4 days every May in Malibu. To replace him, it takes someone incredibly gifted, personable, energetic and beloved by Churches of Christ. They need to understand university politics, relate well to preachers and church leaders, and have some academic credentials. They need to be a strong preacher–as they travel all over America promoting the Bible Lectures. Well…
  • Mike Cope is not only a phenomenal preacher, he’s a great man with all of the aformentioned credentials. Jerry Rushford has often referred to him as his favorite preacher, and it seems right that Mike  would take his place.
  • Mike is a true samurai of Churches of Christ. Mike Cope, Lynn Anderson, Max Lucado, Rick Atchley, Rubel Shelly–all preachers my age admired these guys–and still do. It wasn’t just their incredible abilities that made them unique–it was their courage. They stood at the Pepperdine rostrum and told difficult truths to a wonderful but sputtering fellowship. They awakened God’s people and called them to embrace grace, passionate worship, and unity. They paid an enormous price at the hands of the Brotherhood watch dogs. Yet, they kept on preaching. They remain modern-day prophets to our fellowship of churches and they preached from the stage at Pepperdine. For the record, Jerry Rushford, David Davenport, and Andy Benton deserve enormous credit for letting them. Mike has helped shape a generation of preachers. Just another reason he’s a terrific choice.
  • In one of the more brief notes in the article, Pepperdine also promoted Rick Gibson to Vice President of Public Affairs and Church Relations. Rick has served alongside Jerry for years, and is one of the brightest, most innovative and spiritual guys I know. That move may turn out to be just as significant as Mike’s hiring. Having Rick Gibson in the Vice President of Church Relations post to go with Mike Cope’s leadership of the Bible Lectures is going to be absolutely amazing.

Congratulations, Rick. Congratulations, Mike. Congratulations, Jerry–on 30 distinguished years of service and so ably finding your replacements.

As a three-time alumnus of Pepperdine who is the son of another and married to another, I want to say, “Well Done, Pepperdine.”

Better get that housing request in early this year 🙂

Click here to read the Christian Chronicle’s interview with Mike Cope.

Any thoughts on the Pepperdine decision? How do you think this will change the Pepperdine Bible Lectures?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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