Brian Trainer, a new faculty member in the School of Religion, looks forward to training the next generation of ministry students at Bob Jones University.
Trainer teaches classes in cross-cultural services and the art of public speaking in preaching, homiletics.
But his primary focus is on cross-cultural studies and pastoral ministry because the knowledge from the classes he teaches is foundational to constructing a Gospel-centered worldview.
“I love teaching cross-cultural studies because I think part of our Christian education is actually a perspective of what’s happening in the world,” he said. “And when you have a chance to sit in front of a class and talk about what’s happening in Argentina, Russia and China, it adds perspective [of the world around you].”
His story started in central Ohio in 1964. No stranger to moving around as a child, he found himself moving to BJU in Greenville to become a Bible major. The decision was not difficult even though he laughingly looks back on the reasoning.
“So, [I’m] coming to BJU,” he said. “It’s a Christian school. Shouldn’t you study the Bible? So I came in as a Bible major partially because I had no other idea what the other options were.”
Trainer went on to graduate from BJU in 1987 with his biblical studies undergraduate degree and dual minor in Greek and public speaking and in 1991 with a master’s degree in pastoral studies. He later earned a Master of Divinity from Virginia Beach Theological Seminary and is currently working toward his doctorate in expositional preaching with a focus on apocalyptic literature from BJU Seminary.
Trainer used his interest in learning about the Gospel to serve college and church ministries.
Trainer served as the dean of men at Clearwater Christian College, the chief operating officer at Faith Baptist Bible College, the dean of the College of Bible and Ministry at Maranatha Baptist University, as a dean at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, as the president of the Institute of Language and Cultural Exchange and as the executive pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church.
But when BJU called Trainer about a job, he knew he had found his calling.
I think part of our Christian education is actually a perspective of what’s happening in the world. — Brian Trainer
“When the University contacted me and said, ‘Would you consider coming,’ I [thought about how] Bob Jones University is uniquely prepared to meet the needs of what God is doing in the world today,” he said.
Highlighting the needs BJU is poised to fill, Trainer explained the University’s mission for training seminary students.
As more pastors and missionaries leave churches and mission fields than are replacing them, the next generation of ministerial leaders have more opportunities to fill the gap.
But these servants do not all need to be pastors or seminary students.
“It doesn’t have to be full-time vocational ministers. It can look like educators. It can look like nurses. It can look like engineers and lots of other things,” he said.
Trainer’s own love of sharing the Gospel has taken him abroad to over 50 countries in the span of almost 25 years, and he has taken countless students with him on his mission teams.
His goal is to expose students to how God is working in the world around them, broadening their perspectives.
Trainer drew on his experience to offer advice to those interested in the mission field.
“When you go on an overseas trip your primary goal is not to think in terms of how you’re going to impact where you’re going but how that location is going to impact you, how that team should shape you and how that should transform you and move you,” he said. “So the focus from a student perspective, from a team perspective, is usually on discipleship.”
But Trainer’s experience sharing the Gospel does not end at the mission field. Back in the United States, he’s been sharing the Word of God for over 25 years. As a teacher in a ministerial context, he shared the responsibility and excitement that comes with training the next generation of Christian leaders.
“You want them to be more prepared,” he said. “And you also know that the challenges they’re going to face are going to be greater than the ones that you faced, so that opportunity to have influence and to partner with BJU in ministries is a great privilege.”