JobfitMatters and Slavic Gospel Association (Loves Park, IL) announce that Michael Johnson has been selected by the SGA Board to to take on the leadership of the organization’s pioneering work in the former Soviet Union from long-time president Dr. Robert W. Provost.
Michael Johnson, who served as vice president of advancement at the interdenominational ministry from 1996 to 2004, assumed his new role May 1, heading SGA’s support of evangelism and church planting efforts across Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and surrounding countries, along with the Russian-speaking population in Israel. Dr. Provost has been named president emeritus in honor of his service and will become an advisor to his successor.
Founded in 1934 by the late Rev. Peter Deyneka, who came to the United States from Belarus, SGA helped covertly distribute millions of Bibles and Christian books under the Iron Curtain before the collapse of communism and beamed the Gospel via shortwave radio. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, its ministry has broadened to include pastor training and financial aid, compassion projects and support of children and youth ministries.
Michael Johnson said that despite the greater openness to the Gospel since 1989, there remains great need across the former Soviet countries, populated by roughly 300 million, with many parts still with little or no Christian presence and challenges for those working there.
“I am utterly humbled that God has called me to this role,” he said, paying tribute to the near-23 years Dr. Provost led SGA. “And I feel privileged to even carry the bags of those we support and serve, based on what they have gone through and their incredible faithfulness to God’s Word through a very difficult time.”
Tommy Thomas and Laura Coverstone of JobfitMatters assisted SGA with this important search. SGA Board Chairman Warner Tillman expressed thankfulness for God’s direction in the transition, “For Michael and SGA, this is truly coming full circle for the glory of Christ,” he said. “Through his ministry and business experiences, our Lord has been equipping and preparing Michael to return to SGA for such a time and place as this,”
Michael returned to the business world for family reasons, most recently as senior vice president of Naperville, Ill.-based nonprofit fundraising specialists, Douglas Shaw and Associates. With their children grown and graduated, Michael and his wife, Erin, began last year to feel God’s leading back into ministry service.
“It is a great joy to be part of such an important ministry again,” Michael said. “Bob has done a remarkable job in establishing a very sound ministry strategy on which I hope we can continue to build. Much has been achieved for God’s glory in the former Soviet Union, but great needs remain with many people yet to hear the good news of Christ.”