Monthly Archives: November 2020

Immerse Graduation 2020

I walk into the room and take my place. The room is void of ambiance. There are no flowers or balloons. There is no stage, no podium, no piano player filling the air with music. In fact, with no graduands, the room is eerily quiet. Six feet away from me sits Kajle Radbourne, Associate Director of Operations. Each of us has one ear bud in and one ear bud out, a necessity for hearing the audio stream and our technical cues. President Kent Anderson sits a few feet further away, all of us wired in to the strength of TWU’s bandwidth to ensure a glitch free ceremony. At 5:45 p.m. Kajle launches the stream, and at 6:00 p.m. we go live. Immerse Grad 2020 is under way.

On Friday, September 18, the 2020 Immerse Class gathered online to celebrate their graduation. Each graduate had been sent a “Grad in a Box.” Each box included their diploma and letters of congratulation, along with a gown, hood, and cap. Also included were party essentials like balloons, banners, chocolate, and gift cards.

Grads were encouraged to gather in their physical distancing bubble, put on their regalia, and celebrate their accomplishment. Our Immerse graduates through Fellowship Pacific gathered in small groups in homes or churches. Our grads with Northview Community Church held an “Under 50 People Gathering” celebration and dessert night. Our lone graduate through the 17:6 Network met with family and friends in California. And all of us were joined together through Zoom.

The graduation ceremony included many wonderful aspects. Graduate Kendra Gerbrandt, now Director of Discipleship for Women at Christ City Church in Vancouver, read Psalm 33. She chose it because God’s creative word, power, wisdom, and eternal knowledge are highlighted in this psalm. She said in an email that the psalm served as a reminder that, “In pastoral ministry we need to set our mind with the right perspective of who our God is, and declare that he is worthy of praise because of who he is, not because of any circumstance (good or bad) that we encounter.”

Graduate Zach Yaciw, Online Director with Village Church in Surrey, provided the student testimony. He spoke of his various ministry opportunities, including leading Freedom Sessions and waking up at 4:30 a.m. for a church plant launch set up. He emphasized how “Immerse has set me up Biblically and practically for a life time of church ministry.”

A special feature of this year’s graduation was the awarding of an Honorary Doctor of Ministry to pastor Harold Bullock. Dr. Bullock served as lead pastor at Hope Church in Fort Worth, Texas for 42 years. His church served as the training ground for church planters and cross-cultural missionaries who have planted more than 130 churches in North America and served in 34 countries. Dr. Bullock partners with Northwest in running degree programs through the 17:6 Network and more recently through the Bullock Institute.

We are grateful to everyone who attended our online graduation and supported our students. We gathered from the Philippines, England, the US, and Canada, and it was truly a grand celebration of what our students have accomplished to the glory of God.


Faith, Family and Friends

Discipling kingdom leaders and serving the Fellowship churches have been Northwest’s mission for over 80 years. Our faith, family, and friends keep us focused on this mission.

Our faith

Our heavenly Father has given us The Great Commission. Matthew 28:19-20 describes how we are to go out and make disciples of all nations. All programs at Northwest prepare students to fulfill this Great Commission.

Our family

God has bought us many students who have become a part of our steadily growing Northwest family. Noel Manucduc is one such family member. He has a strong desire to serve churches and organizations across the globe.

Noel recently completed his Master of Divinity in the Immerse program, specializing in chaplaincy. As a chaplain with Baptist Housing, part of our beloved Fellowship family, we wanted to ask Noel about his experiences in Immerse.

What is it like being a chaplain for Baptist Housing? 

Noel: I have made many lifelong friendships and connections. It is very fulfilling work when I can minister to both residents and colleagues. I have learned to walk alongside each and every person. My biggest surprise was learning that my co-workers also needed my pastoral care! I am privileged to share the love of Christ each day.

What do you wish to share with others about Northwest’s Immerse program?

Noel: It is a blessing to connect with residents and co-workers at two former care homes. I have built strong friendships over the past four years. I have grown and developed critical pathways to be a better pastor and leader since completing the Immerse program. I have a deeper understanding, respect, and empathy about the challenges people from all walks of life experience. I strongly encourage anyone to consider the Immerse program—it will make you a better pastor!

Our friends

We give thanks to our many partners and friends for their unwavering generosity and support. We rely on your constant prayers and financial gifts to encourage and assist Northwest’s students. It is your gifts that provide the necessary financial aid, bursaries, and Immerse scholarships.

Six Ways to Give

  1.  E -Transfers
  2. Online
  3.  Cheques
  4.  Recurring Gifts
  5.  Donating Securities Investments
  6.  Planned and Estate Gifts

Information can be found online at or by contacting Ron Sing at [email protected]

Resources for Pastors

Pastoral ministry covers the range of human thought and experience. Seminary graduates may thoroughly imbibe their pastoral training and still be broadsided by challenges brought to them in their first week in a church. Their seminary education is necessary as the foundation for their ministry – yet the learning never stops.

Questions such as these continually arise: I am preaching in Mark. Does Jesus refer to the “produce of the vine” in Mark to prophesy that after his death and resurrection he will “drink it new” to celebrate his ownership and victory? As people come into my church, people move on. Is numerical growth the measure of a church? Awareness is about inclusiveness. Is my church a safe place for all people? I am not sure I am prepared to knowledgeably address social issues. What can churches do about the effects of contemporary pornography on dating and families? I don’t have a youth pastor. How can we be sure our youth will be trained to become the future leaders of our churches? I understand Northwest has transformed its paradigm for training pastors. Where can I learn more about that?

To provide seminary professors and church leaders of evangelical denominations a forum for research and a resource for lifelong learning, Northwest offers the Northwest Institute for Ministry Education Research (NIMER). The answers to the above questions, and more, can be found at

The website is structured according to the components of a seminary education: Bible and Theology, History and Culture, and Leadership and Ministry Skills. The articles in these sections meet academic requirements and are peer reviewed. The articles in the Resources section cover specific aspects of church life. Less formal discussions are carried on through blogs. Currently professors and pastors are conversing on the NIMER site about the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite you to explore the website and participate: comment or read the Author Guidelines to learn how you can share your expertise with others.

Northwest in the Time of Covid

God is good, even in the time of Covid. Since our inception, Northwest has expressed confidence in the sovereignty of God and in his good purposes. In a time like this, we have the opportunity to prove we truly mean it. This year has challenged us in ways we could not have imagined. This is not news. We all could say the same. Neither is it news that God has proved himself worthy of our trust.

We know that you care about Northwest and are praying with us. Here is a snapshot of our progress in this moment of global pandemic.

It has been more than eight months since our team has been in the same room together. For all this time, we have been operating our ministry remotely via Zoom. We are unable to open our offices due to government regulation and Trinity Western’s Covid policy. This means that we have to offer all our courses either online or through contextual programs like Immerse. While not ideal, and we trust not long term, we have discovered we can still be effective in our work, even though we are all working from home. By God’s grace, we continue to prosper in our mission.

We are deeply grateful for Immerse and our other competency-based programs. When we began to develop these innovations, we could not have imagined a pandemic. But if we could have, we might have built our programs just like this. It has been exciting to watch our students utilize the challenge of doing ministry under Covid as a powerful learning opportunity. Our approach allows students and mentors to customize the ministry experience to the unique challenges of the moment.

I could tell you about Peter, for example. Peter is a youth pastoral student on Vancouver Island that I am mentoring. Peter has had to learn to adapt his entire ministry around a remote leadership strategy. Watching him struggle to discern new and unforeseen approaches to serving his students has been powerful for his own development. Through it all, God has been gracious and Peter has found encouragement.

Where we have really felt the Covid pain is with our Korean programs. While local Korean students are able to continue their studies with us, we have seen a significant reduction in enrolment for these programs due to a clampdown on international student visas. When the airplanes from Seoul stopped flying, we felt the hurt. Recent announcements from the government are encouraging. While student visa opportunities are opening up, the time required to obtain these visas has increased dramatically. It will take a while for us to overcome this problem.

For this reason, we are very grateful for the government support we have been able to receive. We have made good use of the CEWS program which has been a helpful buttress to our budget challenges. Even so, we have had to make some hard choices, delaying program launches, and reducing staff. We are hoping supporters like you will be able to help us so that we can avoid a loss this year. Given that we cannot count on the same level of government support for 2021, we will have further difficult choices to make for the coming year. But as we have often heard, “we are all in this together.” Our challenges are no worse than those felt by so many of our churches and individuals. Through it all, we have been able to trace God’s sovereign hand.

A bright spot this fall has been our ACTS Seminaries partnerships. As Covid hit we began to adjust our budget, bracing for a major hit that never came. Our ACTS students responded well to online learning, such that we are on track to meet budget on that side of our operation. Along with our ACTS and TWU partners, we are grateful that we have been able to continue to operate effectively to the benefit of our students, despite the limitations we must contend with.

Of course, the highlight of the year, so far, has been our Immerse graduation, celebrated online this past September. In this case, the problem offered opportunity. The online opportunity meant that we were able to welcome people from many parts of the world. The uniqueness of the event allowed for a sense of celebration as we all accommodated to a different form. Again, God showed his goodness to us and to our graduates.

Our building project is progressing, despite these challenges. Our work-from-home scenario has given our contractor full range to get to work on our new building. Completion has been delayed till late spring or early summer. However, given the pandemic, we would not be able to occupy the space before then anyway. Again, God is good.

Thank you for your continuing support. Your prayers and financial gifts are valued more now than ever. We are not in despair. We live in the hope of the gospel, and in the goodness of the God who is greater than Covid or anything else the world might bring.