Yearly Archives: 2013

New (and not so new) faces at Northwest

Howard AndersenDr. Howard Andersen has been hired to be the new Northwest Academic Dean. He describes this hire as being “the two bookends to my career.” Dr. Andersen began his academic career in 1969 as the Assistant Dean to Dr. Pickford who was then Dean of Northwest Baptist Theological College. The next 10 years saw Dr. Andersen replace Dr. Pickford in the role of Dean and then in 1976 be appointed the first president of both the college and the new seminary division. Howard is also no stranger to ACTS Seminaries as he has served in the past as the Academic Dean for Canadian Baptist Seminary and has taught at ACTS many times as an adjunct professor. He summarized his view of ACTS Seminaries as a consortium of seminaries as “great people, great programs and a great idea”!

Howard comes to us with a wealth of experience both in and out of the academic world. He has years of involvement in the business world, having run his own consulting company and years of teaching in various disciplines.

He is married to Anne and they have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren. He is quite delighted that all of his grandchildren live nearby.

Howard has a keen interest in the training and preparation of pastors. He says, “I got my start in Christian ministry from my pastor at Mission Baptist Church – pastor E.V. Apps. It shows what pastors can do with their young people”. When asked about Immerse Howard’s response was, “For quite a few decades churches and denominations have been looking for a better way to train pastors. …It is talked about everywhere that there needs to be a more “in-situ” way of doing it. … I do have a lot of interest and excitement about the Immerse program.”

One of the things that excites him is the anticipation of working with “great people at Northwest” – people whom he has known for many-many years.

Well, we are excited too, so welcome Dr. Howard Andersen to this new role at Northwest.

We welcomed a Northwest alumnus on staff this summer. Eric Fehr, NBTC BRE grad of 1996 and ACTS Seminaries MTS grad of 2009 has joined us as the Executive Assistant to the Dean where he will be filling the role in the Immerse program that Mark Carroll recently left.

Eric’s roots in the Fellowship began back at Sunnybrae Bible Camp where, in 1986, under the ministry of Bill Clem, he came to put his personal trust in Christ. Eric described how he had grown up in a non-Christian home but that in the year following his own conversion experience his brother and both his father and mother also came to know the Lord Jesus. For the first 10 or so years of his Christian life his family attended Cedar Grove Baptist Church but then in 2006 he and his wife joined Brunette Fellowship where he has had opportunity to participate both in music as well as in an eldership capacity.

Eric married Jill in 2005 and they now have a 4 year old daughter, Evangelina. Commenting on how marriage and family have affected him Eric talked about how he felt that Jill has brought a significant degree of stability to his life and that in his role as a dad he has developed a greater appreciation for the depth of his Heavenly Father’s love and grace.

We are delighted to have Eric on board and believe that God brought him to us at this exciting time in the life and ministry of Northwest.

So, welcome Eric and do pray for him as he comes up to speed on all of his new responsibilities.

Changes

It is a wonderful thing to observe how God leads. When Mark Carroll told me he was leaving Northwest my feelings were mixed. On one hand, I was thrilled to see Mark step up to lead one of our great churches. After all, that is why we are doing this work. On the other hand, I knew that he would leave a giant hole in our ministry. Very quickly, however, the Lord led us to the two people that he had in mind for us.

Eric Fehr is a Northwest alumnus with a wealth of experience in administration and human resource management. We are very pleased that he was available to handle the day to day assignments of the Dean’s office. I am also truly pleased to welcome back, Dr. Howard Andersen to the position of Academic Dean. Howard will fill this role part time. Together Howard and Eric offer a powerful team that will allow us to move forward on several fronts.

It is particularly encouraging to me that we now have three presidents on the team. I benefit greatly in my filling of the current role by the presence of Larry Perkins who served as president from 2000-2010, and also by Howard’s participation on the team. Howard was President of Northwest in the late 1970s when I began as an undergraduate. These two men have been mentors to me for most of my life. Now to be working together in this manner it is a tremendous blessing. I think it speaks to the consistency of vision and mission that we have tried to encourage here at Northwest.

I also have some further good news to report regarding our application for ATS accreditation for Northwest and for Immerse. We have just recently been informed by the Association of Theological Schools that our application for Candidate Status has been approved. This is the second of three major steps in the process, so we have just one left to go. We have always held our accreditation through our ACTS partnership, but for Northwest to be accredited in its own right is very significant. Of course, for ATS to approve the innovations of the Immerse program is ground-breaking. We will be working hard on the final stage of the process which we hope to complete by the spring of next year.

It is encouraging to see how positively ATS has been looking at these innovations. “Most schools are looking to make their programs easier,” they said to us. “You are actually trying to make the program more challenging!” I think they are correct in that assessment. This past May I was asked to present what we are doing to a meeting of seminary presidents and deans from across Canada. Now, ATS has asked me to present the program to a group of seminary presidents from across North America in San Antonio this January. People are noticing what we are doing. Our influence is spreading.

Speaking of Immerse, we recently completed our first formal assessment process for potential new students and churches in the program. Eleven men and women, selected by their churches came together for two days of intense testing and evaluation. The assessment was done by a team of fifteen faculty, pastors, and Fellowship staff. In the end, ten students were approved for admission into the program. We now have twenty people and churches engaged in this process, and we are still only just getting started. Imagine the impact this will have on our churches down the road.

Clearly, the Lord does lead and we are excited to be in the stream of what he is doing through church-based ministry leadership development. Thanks for all the ways you serve with us in this mission.

From Immerse to total Imersion

Mark & Stephanie Carroll have left Northwest to take up a new position as lead pastor couple at Whitehorse Baptist Church. Just before they left I caught up with Mark for an interview.

Tell me about your personal and spiritual journey:

Mark_and_Steph_CarrollI think the best summary of my spiritual journey would be running, then submitting, then running, then submitting, and on and on. It’s happened over and over again in my life where I would know what God was asking, but I would run away, then he’d correct me and I’d submit again. Eventually I realized that the “running” part isn’t very good and I needed to do more of the “submitting.” I’ve sensed a call to ministry in my life since I was young, whether it was academic, or pastoral, or whatever else. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to flee in fear of that call because of the sacrifices it requires—I’ve seen lots of pastors get hurt, and I didn’t want to put myself in the position to feel the same hurt. But I’ve realized through failure that running away is worse than submitting to God’s call, and ultimately his call leads directly to my joy.

Tell me a little about your family:

My family is amazing. My wife, Stephanie and I have been married for 11 years now. Theo is 7, Gavin just turned 5 and Amelia is going to be 2 in a month. So our house is busy, exciting, loud, noisy – all of those. I’m learning about the differences between girls and boys: My daughter, for example, loves shoes. She will go to the store, and go to the shoe section and she will start pulling shoes off the rack – trying to get them on her feet. She’ll get mad when she has to leave the shoe section because she has found all these beautiful shoes for herself. It’s so weird! Who taught her that?

You recently completed your master’s degree here at Northwest/ACTS. Tell me a little about your education and what brought you to Northwest.

The background story is that after high school I went to Simon Fraser University, again, as part of my running away. I knew I should be pursuing ministry, but decided instead to do a degree in science because it would open doors for me. But at Simon Fraser I realized that just “wanting to do it” didn’t make me try hard and it ultimately wasn’t where I was supposed to be. God brought me something good through my time there—it’s where Steph and I met—but it became clear pretty quickly that I was in the wrong place, so I left.

For about five years I spent time working in the food industry, working up to a management position, but the call wouldn’t go away, and eventually I decided to listen. I finished my BA at Prairie Bible College, and immediately knew that God was calling me into graduate-level education, but, again, I ran. This time I came up with excuses and rationalizations and ended up in pastoral ministry because I figured that God would like that just as much. Again, though, it became clear pretty quickly that I wasn’t following his direction, even though he did some amazing things in that time in spite of my disobedience.

Eventually I wised up and decided to pursue my MTS at Northwest. I’ve been a ‘Fellowship’ guy my whole life and love to be part of Fellowship Pacific, so coming to Northwest was a pretty natural decision. I did the MTS because I wanted to keep my options open for PhD work. I figured that I’d do my MTS, then move onto PhD, then get a job as a professor so that I could just be an academic and not worry about getting involved in people’s lives. Of course, that’s not an accurate picture of the job, but it’s what I was telling myself. Of course my plan wasn’t the way God had planned, so I worked on my degree for a couple of years until the scholarships and savings ran out, then started working in retail full-time to try to find some way to finish the degree. And that’s when Kent approached me and asked me to come and work at Northwest. I only finished my degree because of the opportunity provided to me in this job.

So much of your time at Northwest you have been deeply involved with Immerse. Tell me a little about that experience. What have you personally learned through the process? What does Immerse mean to you?

The experience of being involved with the designing of Immerse is like nothing I have ever done in my life, ever! I’ve had to play the role of middleman, negotiator, peace-maker, and sometimes even conflict-maker. It was such a unique opportunity to be able to have one foot in the ministry world through the ministry centre and one foot in the academy, but it was great because I realized that we all want the same thing. At the end of the day our mission is the same: we all want healthy churches; we want people to come to know Jesus; we want followers of Jesus trained as disciples; and ultimately we want that to grow and grow. Fellowship Pacific’s mission statement talks about leveraging our collective strengths to see a God-honouring impact in our region, and I feel like that’s what we did with Immerse. That God-honouring impact is more of a reality today than it’s ever been, and I think the process of designing Immerse has played into that.

What have I personally learned? I’ve learned the benefit of what Patrick Lencioni calls “productive ideological conflict.” When you’re all focused on the same mission, disagreement and conflict can be productive because they help you do that mission even better. And the mission that Jesus calls us to is worth conflicting about. A lot has been put on the line in creating this program—relationships have been tested, and friendships have been tried—but the program that’s come out the other side is unique and truly has the potential to transform our region with the gospel.

This is great news for me because I know that this movement that I know and love and these churches that I know and love will be effective well into the future because they’ll be well-led, and my kids and their kids will see the benefit of what we’ve accomplished with God’s help over these past few months.

How did taking a pastoral position come about?

I’ve known ever since I started working on my degree that God was preparing me for something when I was done. I wasn’t sure what that was, and I kept asking God to show me, but his answer was consistently, “no, because you’re going to be a bonehead and try to make it happen yourself, so you’re going to see one step at a time.” As I neared the completion of the program, two opportunities were presenting themselves: to continue into academia or to go back to vocational pastoral ministry. So I investigated both equally—I think I investigated every PhD program in North America and probably most of them in Europe, too—but I didn’t find one that seemed to fit my research interests and my skills. It felt like God was closing the door to the academy, but at the same time he was opening the door into pastoral ministry. And so I took a few tentative steps toward that route, and the doors kept opening, so I kept walking.

I knew from past experience that my next step in vocational ministry was into the role of lead pastor—that was what God had equipped me for and called me to. And I knew that I wanted to go to a place where I could conceive of staying for the rest of my life if that was what God called me to. I had a number of conversations about a number of different places, but none of them seemed to be “the thing.” Then one day, I think at a Fellowship Pacific staff meeting, somebody mentioned Whitehorse Baptist, and I had one of those moments where I knew God was saying, “That’s you!” Why? I’ve never been there! But the more we looked into it, the more God was arranging things to work out for us to go there. In fact, I said to Steph one time, “You know, God could use a 2×4 here and be more subtle.” That’s what I need because I don’t get “subtle” very well. It’s not that the road has been easy—every step along the way has been hard—but we’re settled in our sense of call, and we’ve never regretted it. We’ve never had a moment where we’ve said, “Oh, why did we do this? Now we’re in trouble.” Not once. It’s pretty amazing what happens when you let God work and just get out of the way.

What excites and what scares you about this new venture?

What excites me is the potential that I see in the city of Whitehorse. Young families like us are seeking out Whitehorse for its quality of life, and many of them are Christians who want to be on mission but there hasn’t been a place for them to connect. So I know of people who have been starting their own small groups, using video sermons from Village Church [where Mark previously attended] and the community group discussion questions—that’s how motivated they are! So right now there’s a whole group of people who want to get on mission for Jesus, but they need to be mobilized.

At the same time, many of the people moving to Whitehorse are moving there because they want a fresh start—a new beginning. To be able to step into that environment and to tell people that the thing they’re looking for, the fresh start they crave, is found exclusively in Jesus, that’s pretty exciting. There are 26,000 people Whitehorse, but the church attendance on Sunday morning shows me that thousands of those people will spend eternity apart from Jesus if we don’t tell them about him. That’s a massive opportunity for the gospel. I don’t know what God’s going to do, but if it’s anything like what I sense in my spirit then I think it’s going to be something incredible—I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do.

What scares me on the flip side is that I know how badly I can screw up that opportunity, especially if I start thinking that it’s all about me or the church. If God starts to work and I think it’s because I did something clever or special, that’s not going to go well. I’m also terrified by the significance of the call to preach the Word of God because I know how many ways my sin can get in the way of that. So this is a situation where I absolutely have to rely on God’s strength and God’s action.

How do you feel that your experience here at Northwest and especially your role in Immerse might influence your ministry there in the local church?

I feel like everything I’ve been doing in the past few years has been preparing me specifically for the task of pastoral ministry. Thinking about Immerse especially, I’ve basically had the opportunity to sit down with a lot of very wise, very experienced people and ask them what makes a good pastor so that we could build it into Immerse. I’ve learned so much through those conversations—more than I could learn through my own investigation—and now I feel like I have a blueprint for pastoral ministry effectiveness that I can use to develop my own skill base, whether it’s in preaching, leading, counseling, or whatever else.

I think this opportunity will influence my ministry primarily because I’ve learned that the number one task of a pastor is to lead the church to accomplish her mission. As a pastor, I don’t have to come up with the most clever plan, I don’t need to have all the skills, and I don’t have to single-handedly make mission come about. Instead, we, together as a community, accomplish the mission. This is pretty subtle, but it’s changed a lot in the way that I see the role of the pastor. I also have every intention of bringing an Immerse student onto the team at Whitehorse Baptist—hopefully soon—because I think it’s a great program and I’d love the opportunity to mentor someone through it and see them develop.

Speak also to the outcomes that are outlined in Immerse. How do you see those impacting even your ministry?

Having those outcomes is incredibly helpful. On the one hand, I’m encouraged when I read some of them because I see areas where God has gifted me and I’m grateful for them. On the other hand, some of them focus on areas where I’m not very skilled—at least not yet—and I’m grateful for the opportunity to develop them. The outcomes give me a clear path toward that improvement—they describe what it would look like for me to say that I’ve really understood the outcome, and they give a clear pathway to guide me down the path to greater mastery. I’ll probably even do a bunch of the assignments, even though I’m not going to get grades for them, because they’ll help me work out what these things look like in the specific context of Whitehorse Baptist and among the people there.

 

God Owns it All, Really!

It’s true. I have bought a lot of things over the years. Some things were small items but I have made a number of significant purchases like the wedding ring for my beautiful wife, Natalie. Other shiny things worth mentioning include golf clubs, tools, kitchen gadgets, cars, iPhones and other electronic devices.

You may likely have a similar list. You may have thought that what you bought belonged to you and to you alone. However, in reality, God really owns it all.

Does God really own it all?

What about the home you live in, the car/truck you drive to church, the clothes you wear each day, the funds in your chequing/savings account and in your RRSP?

Yes, God owns it all, indeed.

We are simply stewards for all that God has richly blessed us with. God also owns every  asset we have – including our bank accounts and our retirement savings. God is the owner.  We are the stewards.

This key biblical perspective of God’s ownership and our stewardship has profound eternal impact for the good of the Kingdom. By definition, a steward is someone who manages the possessions of the owner, on his behalf. If 100 per cent of my possessions and resources including my bank account belong to God, and I am God’s steward, it impacts every decision I make.

Throughout the bible, it is clear that God is the owner of everything.

“The earth is The Lords, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”  Psalm 24:1
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares The Lord  Almighty. “  Haggai 2:18

As a steward of God, we need to seek His wisdom: “Lord,  how can I further your Kingdom with the money and possessions you have entrusted to me?”

At Northwest, we are truly thankful for our many generous supporters who give to the work of equipping men and women for ministry leadership. We will be honoured if you would prayerfully consider becoming one of our Student Sponsorship Partners  and giving to our Scholarship Fund which directly support our students. These students are our future Ministry Leaders.

We are grateful that God is using our Ministry Leadership Development at Northwest to enable the Gospel to be proclaimed and communities around the world impacted for Jesus. For online giving or to invest in our Student Scholarship Fund:  >> click here.

We would be happy to share more about our new Immerse Church Based Ministry Leadership program – a unique collaboration between the Fellowship Pacific and Northwest Baptist Seminary to develop the next generation of Ministry Leaders. For more info call:  250-240-3737.

I would love to hear your comments or questions. Drop me a line or or go for coffee with me. Thanks to God for all our faithful supporters and prayers. God bless.

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We Love Our Alumni!

We love our alumni. Most schools do. It is deeply encouraging to learn ways by which those who have studied with us have gone on to apply their education in fruitful ways. I thought I would mention three of our alumni from across the years, who have come to our attention in particular ways these past months…

I just finished reading Rubbing Shoulders in Yemen, a travel memoir written by Peter Twele. Peter and I were Northwest students together in the late 1970s and early 80s. Peter went on from Northwest to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Canada Institute of Linguistics. This book describes his experiences, 30 years ago when he was carrying out socio-linguistic research in the back-country of Yemen. Reading his stories, I found myself impressed with Peter’s courage, his tenacity, and his evident love for the people God had called him to serve. To this day, Peter has a desire to build bridges of understanding between the West and the Middle East. You can find the book on amazon.ca.

I was thrilled to hear about another former Northwest student, Melanie Humphreys, who was recently appointed president of The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta. Melanie went on from Northwest to study and serve on staff at Trinity Western. She also held positions at Lithuania Christian College and Wheaton College in Illinois. Bill Diepeveen, chair of King’s Board of Governors said Dr. Humphreys “understands and is excited by King’s vision and mission and has been providing transformational leadership in similar Christian university college environments for years. We are confident she is the strategic and visionary leader and gifted community builder to take us into the next phase of King’s promising future.” King’s serves close to 700 students in Alberta and beyond. We at Northwest are proud to see one of our own have this opportunity to make a difference at this level in Western Canada.

On a different theme, I was saddened to note the death of Northwest alumnus John Affleck. John graduated with a B.Th. in 1983. Along with his wife, Marlene (also an alumnus), John served as a missionary in Pakistan for many years. He also served the poor and disadvantaged in his work with the Union Gospel Mission. At Northwest we are proud of John and of his service to our Lord. He has exemplified everything we have tried to teach and pass along to our students. May many rise up to follow his example.

We are in the business of producing men and women who will have this kind of impact for the glory of our God and for the good of his kingdom. With more than 3,000 such people out there serving, we know that these stories are only representative of the many great things that God is doing through our alumni.

 

Board of Governors Award given to Janet Anderson

The Board of Governors of Northwest Baptist Seminary is pleased to present its first Board of Governors Award to Janet Anderson.

Janet Anderson from PSJanet, it has been said, “was a woman’s woman.” From the time she started her career in nursing until she went home to be with her Lord, Janet never did things in half measures. Her desire to see people come to Christ as well as her conviction that women and men should be treated equal provided the motivation that drove her in the many things that she did. She did these things wholeheartedly and with conviction.

Janet’s life was filled with a variety of experiences. She was a businesswoman, operating a catering business and a gift shop. She received a Master of Christian Studies degree from Regent College and in her last years had begun to work on a Doctor of Ministry degree. Convinced of the importance of lay theology, Janet worked closely with Dr. Paul Stevens in the advancement of “marketplace chaplaincy” as well as assisting in the Vancouver International Airport Chaplaincy program. Janet served as a camp counsellor and program director at Camp Qwanoes for many years. Hundreds of young campers, who knew her as “Thumper,” were exposed to the gospel through her energetic ministry. Later on she expressed this passion by serving for years on the Camp Qwanoes Board of Directors. Throughout her life she was an active and hospitable member of Dunbar Heights Baptist Church.

Of particular interest to Northwest Baptist Seminary was her many years of service on the Northwest Board of Governors, beginning in 1986. She served a number of terms on the board over a span of 20 years. She also served on the Fellowship Pacific Board, serving the larger vision of our Fellowship of Churches. Additionally, Janet served Northwest and its students as the first director of the ACTS Seminaries Chaplaincy program, training and advising many people toward significant careers as hospital, military, and marketplace chaplains.

Long time friend and current Northwest board member, Julia Denis, says, “Janet was a Lydia. Like Lydia the Lord had opened her heart and she served with excellence. She contributed much and we honour her generous gifts of leadership, wisdom, and creative vision.”

Sadly for us, Janet is no longer with us, having gone to be with her Lord on October 14, 2012. Just prior to her death, Northwest Chairman of the Board, Larry Nelson, and President, Kent Anderson were able to be with Janet to pray with her, to thank her for her service and to inform her of her receipt of this award. “I am overwhelmed,” she said repeatedly. “If any of the things I have done have been of use to the Lord, I am grateful.” By this commendation, we are affirming that her life and service has, in fact, been of great use to us and to her Lord. She will be missed.

 

Reflections on 10 Years of Leadership Development

For the last ten years, Lyle Schrag has served on the Northwest faculty and as Director of the Fellowship Center for Leadership Development. Lyle is concluding his full-time service with Northwest, but will continue to be involved with us in a number of ways, including serving as an Immerse faculty mentor. Northwest President, Kent Anderson recently sat down with Lyle to share the following conversation.

Northwest Baptist Seminary FacultyKent: One thing a lot of people won’t know about you is that you continue to serve with the US Coast Guard. What have you learned from your experience that is helpful for thinking about ministry leadership?

Lyle: The Coast Guard is very much like the church in that most of the people involve themselves voluntarily. I recognize the necessity for an organization’s leaders to have tight boundaries around its work with volunteers. There needs to be a distinct set of parameters, different from what you might find when working with professional staff. I have seen a good convergence here in the area of governance and church boards. It is a good idea to describe distinct job descriptions for every position in the church including volunteers so everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and who they are accountable to and how it relates to the mission of the church. For example, what are the required times, the duration of the commitment, is any training required? All of those elements are reinforced in the Coast Guard.

Kent: You have had a big impact helping our churches develop better patterns of governance. What is one thing you would say to churches that might help them in this area?

Lyle: The key discovery is that governance is a critical spiritual ministry. Many churches don’t view governance as spiritual, but more a management concern. But I would say that the church board is the primary spiritual community of the church.

Kent: So governance could be pastoral.

Lyle: It is. The quality of fellowship within the congregation is defined by the quality of fellowship within the leadership. If the board cannot approach their relationship together as a spiritual community it is difficult to assume that the rest of the congregation is experiencing what their board is not experiencing. On the other hand if a church board is able to approach their relationship together as if they are defining what it means to be a spiritual community and approach their work that way, it begins to resound itself out to the rest of the body. I have found that many students and pastors, understand their role as the primary leader of their church, while viewing the board as a competitor to their dreams. They don’t realize that the key spiritual and pastoral relationship in the church is between the pastor and the board chairperson. This is where a lot of the health issues fall apart.

Kent: You spend a lot of time working on student care and it really shows. Students love the impact you’ve had on their lives. What gives you hope for the church as you think about the students who are aspiring to leadership these days?

Lyle: One is their maturity. A lot of the students we have here are experienced and they come out of a working area already with a real sense of focus. They’re doing this because they believe that God is calling them to ministry. I am seeing that sense of calling and momentum more and more. The second thing I see is a growing affection for the church. I’ve been here ten years and I would say that the first five years I was seeing the attitude of “I love Jesus, but I hate the church.” That’s shifting and I’m seeing now a number of students determining adamantly to love and serve within the church. I kind of despaired a couple of years ago hearing students talk about doing ministry in any other area but the church, but now they’re saying, “I want to impact the church.”

Kent: You mentioned 10 years. Are there a couple of highlights?

Lyle: Working with the students and being here 10 years means I’ve had a chance to see God work with them and through them over time. I have been able to leverage my experience into their lives, continuing that relationship as they move on and continue in ministry. That has been pretty profound. Alumni contact me consistently so that I feel that I’ve not only made an initial investment but I can continue the relationship with them. The same thing happens with churches. I think particularly of the Best Practices for Church Boards seminars, and through them, the relationship with pastors, similar to the relationship I have with students and alumni. I contact them and pray for them regularly and let them know that I am thinking about them and praying for them. Of course, the teaching opportunity has been great as well. I really thrive in that environment.

Kent: What is something hopeful that you are trusting the Lord for in the future?

Lyle: I would use the word “satisfying” more than “hopeful.” The satisfaction I’m taking now is being able to leverage my experience and skill. I’m doing transitional pastoring, preaching and consulting with churches, having the opportunity of mentoring a new generation of leadership. It’s not a future I’m creating for myself, but a future I’m creating for others.

 

Sowing Seeds for His Kingdom

“You give them something to eat” Luke 9:13

Jesus loves us and takes care of all our needs, both spiritual and physical. He also shows us that if we honour Him with our gifts, He is able to multiply it and use it for good. In Luke 9, the feeding the five thousand we see how Jesus wants us to live. It all begins when He says to His disciples: “ You give them something to eat “.

I love all Asian food. So when we were invited to a large Chinese banquet recently, we agreed to attend. My daughter, naturally asked me questions, including: “ What are they REALLY going to serve there, Dad? “. Over the course of several hours, 180 hungry people talked and ate. Plates of food kept coming and filling our tables. 180 plates of food, 180 pairs of chopsticks, and endless pots of tea later. We came away happy, full and content.

Food for everyone.

The feeding of the five thousand men (plus women and children) shows the unlimited resources of our Lord Jesus. And like our Chinese banquet for 180, the five thousand plus hungry people were well fed.

Take some time to read Luke 9: 10-17.

What can we learn from Jesus?

First, Jesus loves and cares for us and is more than able to supply our current needs. After all, the five thousand ate and there were plenty of leftovers. Twelve full baskets to be exact! Christ is more than sufficient and His provisions overflow.

Secondly, I believe our Lord is reminding us to trust him more with all our resources. Our resources are really His resources. There are times that he may allow us to give five loaves and two fish. At other times, he has blessed us richly and we have baskets of extras to give to others. As Jesus grabs a hold of your heart, allow Him to surprise you with what He can do with your gifts. How amazing that this little boy was willing to give up his lunch for Jesus. With the 5 loaves and 2 fish being multiplied to feed the five thousand hungry men, it must have been quite something to see!

How do you see your gifts being multiplied for Jesus?

How is The Lord directing your loaves and fishes to further His Kingdom?

Want to Give to Northwest? “The Student Sponsorship Fund“ for student scholarships financially supports our students in our Immerse (Church Based Training) program. Call me at (250) 240-3737 or fill out the form below for more informaton. For online giving to invest in our Student Scholarship Fund:  >> click here.

It’s simple and easy to be a Monthly Financial Partner. Call Dianne at Northwest to start today (604) 888-7592!

Many thanks to all our financial partners and sponsors for their consistent and generous gifts to our ministry. Your generosity and prayers enables us to accomplish our mission: “To thoroughly equip and prepare future Pastoral Ministry Leaders for all our Fellowship churches and to impact our communities for His glory”.

“A generous person will prosper. Whoever refreshes others, will be refreshed.” (Proverb 11:25 NIV.)

I would love to hear your comments or questions.

 

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Interview with Larry Nelson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALarry Nelson has served Northwest for the past five years in the capacity of chair of the Board of Governors. Larry is stepping down from that role this year and Northwest News along with the faculty and staff would like to thank him for his service. We took this opportunity to chat with Larry about his involvement with Northwest:

How did you first get connected with Northwest? Could you describe a little of your history with us?

My familiarity with Northwest goes back to when the school was still in Port Coquitlam and my oldest brother started school there. Eventually both of my older brothers (one 12 years older and one 8 years older than I) graduated from Northwest and so when I completed high school it was natural for me to consider Northwest. At the time the school offered a one-one year program and I enrolled in that.

In later years, when I had my own accounting practice, and a couple of years before Northwest moved to the Trinity Western University Campus, my accounting firm did all the financial accounting and financial management for Northwest. I did that until the school moved here to the TWU campus and so I also did all the accounting for the construction costs for the Northwest building. Then, five years ago I was invited to come onto the Northwest board as the board chair. I have served in that capacity for the past 5 years.

Looking back over your many experiences both in the corporate world as well as in the church, how do you feel God uniquely prepared you for this role?

Over the past number of years I have served on over 10 boards and on at least six of those I have served as the board chair. So I came to the Northwest board with considerable previous board experience. Over the years I have been very interested in what comprises good board governance and good board practices and so I have read extensively and attended a number of workshops on the subject. Currently I do board governance consulting for non profit organizations. So, all of that has given me a good background in preparing to serve as chair the Northwest board.

What are you passionate about?

Well, I am passionate about Northwest. I am also passionate about good governance and I am passionate about training great pastors and leaders for the local church.

What do you believe has been your most significant contribution to Northwest and to the Board over the years you have served there?

One of the reasons I was encouraged to come on to the Northwest board was to transition the board into the policy governance model that it now uses. I had previous experience transitioning three other boards into that model and so that is what we have done with the Northwest board as well. I think that governance model has, and will continue to serve Northwest very well. As a result I think one of my most significant contributions was ensuring that Northwest was well governed and that the board clearly understood its governance role.

When Dr. Perkins retired as president of Northwest, one of the other interesting things I did was to chair the search committee for the new president.

What would you identify as being some highlights of your time on the Board?

Several things come to mind. Board retreats were always great experiences for me. It was also a privilege to honour Dr. Perkins on his retirement. I thought we did a great job of that. Then hiring our new president, Dr. Anderson, and seeing him transition into his role so well has been a significant highlight for me.

What excites you about Northwest’s future?

I think the new Immerse program really positions the school well for the future. It is leading edge. It is a creative and unique approach in training pastors. I am encouraged because I think Immerse actually follows the model of how other professions train their leaders; the medical profession, the legal profession, the accounting profession. It is all about making sure that those new professionals have great practical experience that is combined with the theoretical.

Another thing that excites me is that I think you have a great president in Dr. Anderson and I think Northwest also has an excellent board that will govern the school well going forward.

What concerns might you have that you can share with us?

The current challenge in front of all seminaries is just how to deliver what needs to be done in a manner that is effective, affordable and attractive to students. This will be an on-going challenge for Northwest. How do we ensure that our denominational needs are met in terms of well-trained, godly leaders for the future? I am concerned about our aging donor base. I am also concerned about a denominational school in an era where denominational loyalty is waning. So those would be some of my concerns.

As you ponder the role of an institution like Northwest in the preparation of leaders for the church is there anything unique or particular about Northwest’s sense of mission?

I think we are clearly focused on equipping our Fellowship Baptist churches in Western Canada with a particular emphasis on ensuring that our churches have well-prepared pastors to lead them in their ministries.

What are some of the lessons that you personally have learned about leadership development?

What I have observed is that leadership is a unique gift. Effective leadership is a combination of being born with some natural leadership attributes which are then built upon and developed in a training environment like that provided by Northwest… where people with these natural leadership abilities are equipped with leadership tools and solid theological training so that they are going to be effective in ministry. So I think that leadership can be both taught and learned as well as just having some great DNA to make one a great leader. One way leadership is developed is through students interacting with the faculty and seeing how godly leaders live their lives professionally and personally. I believe this is something that Northwest has done well.

How do you think the Board’s understanding of leadership development has been expanded?

I think the Immerse program is the key answer to that. The board has had to really wrap its head around what it takes to develop leaders and has had to be bold and creative and risk takers in terms of initiating something that is truly unique in North America. What Immerse is attempting to do has not been done before within an accredited seminary context. I think it is a bold move and has been an excellent example of great collaboration between a denominational school and the denominational leadership and the local church. This concept has really challenged the board – and expanded the board’s thinking – and I am really pleased to see what has been accomplished. This has been a new road for all of us.

What sage advice would you have for all of us at Northwest as we move forward?

I just think that the board needs to continue to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The board; the staff; our supporters; all need to uphold the seminary in prayer. As a school Northwest needs to be constantly aware of utilizing the latest technology, the latest means to deliver its services in an effective way. I think Northwest has to constantly keep in mind that it is a servant of the denomination and so the task of the board is to keep asking how are we serving our FEB Pacific and Western Canada denominational needs most effectively. We also need to keep an eye on the future and the possibility of serving the needs of the denomination nationally.

One of the observations and accusations against seminaries in the past has been that they have very little relevance to where people are on the ground. I think the Immerse program really addresses that. I think having a good cross mix of professions and gifting on the board of governors helps keep the school in the real world. I think the fact that our faculty are active in our churches is good. I am really pleased that our current president is constantly watching and aware of what other schools are doing and keeping on top of what the needs are in seminary education. So I think looking forward we are ahead of the curve in addressing that very specific issue. Our churches want leaders who can lead. So it’s not just what the pastor might know but how he takes what he knows and effectively uses and delivers it to lead the local congregation. Northwest has been bold in trying to address that issue.

I know you are a busy man with many irons in the fire. What are some other Kingdom ventures in which you are currently involved?

I am really excited about what I do now. I’m involved in an executive search firm that focuses on placing senior leaders in faith-based organizations in Canada. This is quite unique within Canada and I take huge pleasure in moving people from success in their current careers to great significance in a faith based not for profit organization. I have never been so busy in the various careers that I have held in the past but I have also never felt that the work that I’ve done as more rewarding!

How can we pray for you?

Pray that I would be able to find and place the right leaders for these key charitable organizations. I have the privilege of being a mentor to a number of younger leaders. Pray that I would be a godly mentor, that I would be an excellent example and that I would finish well!

I am sure there were also challenges that you and the board had to wrestle with. Are there any significant ones that you could share with us? Could you describe for us how such struggles have shaped Northwest’s understanding of and commitment to its mission?

Seminaries in North America have had huge challenges. Seminary attendance nationally is down dramatically – probably 35% from what it was 6 or 7 years ago. It is also an on-going challenge to operate within the ACTS consortium and to satisfy the needs of all the partners there.

Then there is always the great challenge to discern the best methods for training pastors and church leaders – specifically developing lead pastors who will embody great leadership skills. The challenge is also how to do that effectively and affordably. Those I think are significant challenges that the board has had to continually deal with.