Hi! My name is Trent Erickson and I am the Chief Operating Officer at Northwest Baptist Seminary, a new role implemented to assist the President’s office in managing the operations of Northwest internally, and its growing network of relationships with partners in Canada, the US and abroad.
My wife, Karen, and I live in Abbotsford. We have two boys. Evan is married to Alyssa and has just begun a ministry career in the Fellowship, serving as a pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Maple Ridge. Our other son, Lukas, currently lives with us at home and is preparing to be an elementary school teacher and a husband, getting married in September to his beautiful fiancé, Crystal.
Over 27 years, Karen and I have served in pastoral ministry roles in Victoria (Central Baptist, Youth Pastor), Vernon (Emmanuel Fellowship, Youth and Music), Edmonton (Millwoods Evangelical Free Church, Lead Pastor) and Abbotsford (Immanuel Fellowship Baptist, Senior Associate). I started working at Northwest in January 2015 after completing our ministry at Immanuel earlier in 2014.
One of the questions that I have been asked, and have frequently contemplated, is, “Why the move from the church to the seminary?” It’s a good question, and while I am sure I do not yet have the complete answer, I am encouraged by the one I have – that God is the one who is obviously in control. Just as we have seen His fingerprints in the decisions and direction of our past ministry roles, we are able to see them here as well.
I did not apply for a position at the Seminary for two reasons – first, there wasn’t one to apply for; and second, I am a pastor, and pastors apply for jobs in churches. I did ask for prayer at one of our FEB Pacific board meetings for clarity in God’s direction for the role and placement that He had for me, and God began bringing the understanding of two worlds together. Our Northwest President, Dr. Kent Anderson, was sitting at that table contemplating his unique need for someone to help in furthering the work of Northwest. His question at the time was, “How do I find someone I trust, someone who knows the uniqueness of the Fellowship network, and can quickly learn to understand Immerse and represent Northwest well to potential partners?” After our prayer time, Dr. Anderson caught my eye across the table and whispered, “Trent, I’m hiring. Can I talk to you at the break?”
As I continue to grow my understanding of how a career pastor can contribute to the operation of Northwest, some things are readily obvious. The development of Immerse within the Fellowship, and its potential to spread nationally and internationally through like-minded networks provides an opportunity that must be stewarded well. Having been privileged to be part of the concept and conversation about Immerse almost since its inception, I have experienced its growing pains in the church from the eyes of its potential, its implications in implementation, and its needs in ongoing development.
I also appreciate the importance of our partnerships. Serving in the church, on the Fellowship Board, and now as part of the seminary staff, I am benefiting from the perspective of all three partners in the Immerse concept. It is not a stretch to realize that the identification, development and training of the next generation of pastors, ministry leaders, and effective church leadership is important to the Church, the Fellowship, and the Seminary. In this new role, I am especially learning to appreciate the gifts and passion that our seminary staff and faculty bring to the partnership. I believe it is important that we appreciate each other in our work towards the common goal of real world kingdom and spiritual impact, whether it be through Immerse, or any other partnerships we have, perspectives we bring, or pursuits we engage.
This is an exciting time, and I feel privileged to be part of God’s plan as part of the Northwest team and the broader partners it represents and serves.