An introduction from our founder, Dr. RC Sproul Jr.
I was six years old when my family arrived in the Ligonier valley in southwest Pennsylvania. My family moved from suburban Cincinnati where my father served at a large church so that he could start the Ligonier Valley Study Center. The idea at first was that the center would be a place of training for those involved in para-church ministries. It would be a sort of seminary for laymen, teaching them the things of God so that they in turn could instruct those under their care on high school and college campuses around the nation. Students stayed in the homes of the staff, and ate their meals with us. My theological education was forged through table talk, conversations set in the context of food and fellowship.
In time the Ligonier Valley Study Center became Ligonier Ministries. Teaching moved from conversations around the table to outreach through the media, and Ligonier enjoyed explosive growth, awakening hundreds of thousands of Christians to the holiness of God in all its fullness. Through radio, conferencing, video and print, Ligonier became the leading Reformed ministry in the country.
I began working at Ligonier in 1989. It was a delight to be a part of a burgeoning ministry. I was, and am grateful to God for how He has worked through Ligonier. For all His blessings, however, I knew we had lost something. The blessing of growth cost us the opportunity to teach in a more personal setting, face to face, through conversation.
In 1996 I moved with my family to the mountains of southwest Virginia to begin the work of the Highlands Study Center (now Highlands Ministries) and to plant Saint Peter Presbyterian Church. Our goal was to recover the work of discipleship through personal interaction.
Finding the church awash in worldliness, we set about helping Christians live more simple, separate, and deliberate lives for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom. Since that time we have kept to our vision, teaching principally in small group settings. Our Couples Camps, held several times each year, are restricted to ten couples at a time as we spend three days together considering the nature and calling of the family, the sovereignty of God and the kingdom of God. Our Pastors Camps, wherein we spend three days considering together the nature and calling of the church, are likewise limited to ten church leaders at a time. All these endeavors fit into our philosophy of teaching which is simply this—education is conversation. Even our popular Basement Tapes are education given in the context of conversation.
For seventeen years we have labored in this vineyard. We have been blessed to witness a bounty of fruit. Lives have been changed, for generations to come. We are a small ministry, with low overhead, and rather simple goals. We want to continue to speak with the people of God about the things of God. Despite our small stature, we have been blessed with a hearty faith, one that believes we can make known the reign of Christ, one conversation at a time.
In the King’s service,
R.C. Sproul Jr.