A passion for evangelism: Gary and Debbie Seevers
By Janet Walker
Since Gary Seevers committed himself to Christ at age 16,
the word that best describes his life and ministry has been evangelism. Anyone
who talks with him for even a short time quickly recognizes that, although he
values education and training and has a list of academic achievements, his
passion in life is to bring people to Jesus.
This combination of evangelism and academics makes him a
perfect fit for the work God has called him to do as provost of Global
University, the distance-education ministry of AG World Missions.
“At Global University, we don’t just educate people,”
Seevers says. “We don’t just prepare them for ministry. We help propel them
into ministry so people are won to Jesus and equipped to train others.”
Studying and soul-winning
Gary and his wife, Debbie, joined the Global University
staff 13 years ago, but Gary’s love of soul-winning was cultivated much
earlier. As a teenager, he was active in the evangelistic outreaches of his
home church, Way of Faith Assembly in Fairfax, Virginia.
“We set up platforms in front of strip malls and sang and
preached,” Gary says. “A team of us would travel to small towns throughout the
Shenandoah Valley and knock on doors and share the gospel. We saw numbers of
During high school, Gary was called to missions. After
graduation, he enrolled in Bible school classes at Way of Faith, which served
as an extension site of Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville,
During his first year of study, Gary initiated an outreach
at Lorton Prison, a facility for the Washington, D.C., correctional services,
in nearby Lorton, Virginia. As a sophomore, he moved to the main campus of
Valley Forge and participated in ministry at local churches. He and a
classmate, Marshall Haley, eventually planted a church in inner-city Baltimore,
Maryland — a two-hour drive from Valley Forge. From the four people in
attendance at the first service, Patterson Assembly of God grew to more than 70
over the next 18 months.
Gary graduated from Valley Forge with a double major in
missions and pastoral studies and a minor in Christian education. While all
students were required to accumulate 36 Christian service credits in a
four-year span, Gary earned 200 credits in only his first two years. By
graduation he had accumulated more credits than any student in the history of
Learning and ministry
Gary and Debbie married in 1981 and soon joined the staff at
Way of Faith Assembly. During the next few years, Gary continued his education,
earning a master’s degree and beginning a doctoral program.
“I always felt God directing me toward some area of missions
that would include a blend of teaching and equipping others as well as a
preaching ministry,” he says. “I thought that would be an ideal combination for
Gary found a way to apply that combination when he and
Debbie began ministry with International Correspondence Institute (now Global
University) in 1995. Global University offers a complete training curriculum
for believers around the world who are serving at all levels of ministry and
leadership in the church.
During his time at Global University, Gary has ministered in
more than 50 countries preaching, teaching and setting up training plans. In
each country, he works with missionaries and national church leaders. They
describe their training needs and goals, and Gary assists them in developing or
implementing a plan using the Global University curriculum.
Gary always encourages a national church to start with
“When a national church focuses only on the upper levels of
education (the degree levels), it begins to stagnate or decline,” he says. “But
when a church emphasizes a well-rounded ministry approach, it will grow,
prosper, multiply and fulfill the ministry God has called it to do.”
The emphasis on learning and ministry was heightened even
further about five years ago when Global University implemented a service
learning requirement in its courses. Each student enrolled in a course must
apply a principle from it through practical ministry to people within their
context. Gary believes this concept sets the stage for more effective ministry.
As an example, he tells of a young student in Ouagadougou,
Burkina Faso, who sensed God’s call to ministry. When the time came to do the service
learning requirement in his New Testament survey class, he prayed about what he
Sensing the Holy Spirit’s leading, he visited a nearby
breakfast kiosk and asked the owner, “If I buy everyone’s breakfast tomorrow,
may I talk to them?”
“Sure,” replied the owner, “you’re buying their breakfast.”
The next day he bought breakfast for those eating in the
kiosk, gave them some tracts and shared the gospel. Seven people accepted
Christ that morning. Over time he discipled them and then strategically placed
them in Assemblies of God churches throughout Ouagadougou.
“The key of the service learning requirement is to take
people from the course to the community,” says Gary. “As a result, many more
people accept Christ and more students develop maturity through experience.
“For 19 years this ministry was based in Brussels, Belgium.
Considering today’s exchange rate of the euro, our ministry budget would be at
least 60 percent higher in order to maintain the same worldwide ministry impact
we’re having right now.”
Because of the present financial challenges in Europe,
missionary leadership’s foresight to move Global University to the United
States has greatly increased its cost-effectiveness. Consequently, its reach
has expanded significantly.
In early 2008, Global University’s enrollment topped 400,000
students from more than 180 countries. Over the years an estimated 2
million-plus people around the world have accepted Christ as a result of their
The passion for souls the Holy Spirit imparted to Gary
Seevers’ heart when he was just a teenager has carried through his life and
ministry for more than three decades. This passion, along with Gary’s deep
belief in and commitment to training national leaders in the Word of God, is
helping bring people in many nations to Christ — truly a global
JANET WALKER is assistant editor of the World Missions
Edition of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.
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