Alumna Interview with Jack Taylor ('75 & '82)
Dr. Jack Taylor received the Bachelor of Theology in 1975, and the Master of Theology in 1982 from Northwest. He also has a master's degree and PhD in Counseling. Following his studies at Northwest, he served overseas in ministry, as well as pastor of Faith Baptist Church. He serves together with his wife, Gayle.
Personal website: www.jackataylor.com
What did you appreciate about your time at Northwest and how did it prepare you for ministry?
When I signed up for one year at Northwest I was going out of obedience. I had planned to go into medicine but after a college rugby injury and complications in the hospital I understood that things would have to change. I was a member at Faith Baptist Church in Vancouver and sensed through prayer that I should attend Northwest (which was the only Bible School I knew, down the hill from the church). I ignorantly made a fleece that if someone asked me specifically if I was “going to Northwest this fall” then I would sign up. At the end of a College and Career event on that Sunday night the rowdiest guy stepped out of the group as I was leaving for home and asked if I was “going to Northwest this fall?”
I sent in my application three weeks before opening day and was accepted. I stayed for the Bachelor of Theology Degree and Master of Theology Degree. Classes with faculty members all left their marks of driving me into the Word. Lively debate in the library and around the campus tested the breadth of my knowledge and understanding in the Word.
The relationships I built forged lasting friendships, and the training inside and outside of the classroom proved transformational. Spending a summer as the speaker for a touring quartet group gave me exposure to many of the BC churches. I was married to Gayle Anderson after my second year at Northwest and that changed a lot of things as well.
Describe your ministries since graduating from Northwest?
Bible and Seminary training were crucial since I went to Kenya as a missionary. I taught five Bible classes a day at a boarding school, led a daily chapel and taught some classes at a national Bible School. I became the chaplain, responsible for 32 spiritual life programs with 110 staff and the students who were on site. During the first five years we also looked after 28 grade 9-10 boys in a dorm setting while adding two girls to join their brother.
Due to the need for counseling for missionaries overseas I earned my Masters and PhD in Counseling. Missionary families were often sent home when there was trouble because there were no qualified counselors available. By helping to start a counseling program with qualified individuals many missionaries were able to get the support they needed right where they were.
Work as a missionary dependent in the prayers and financial support of others taught me a lot about trusting God. I have had to trust Him in many unfamiliar situations, and He has been faithful. I am glad I learned so much about His character and compassion from my time at Northwest.
When I returned from Kenya after 18 years I was met at the airport by Doug Harris, my former pastor. He told me that he knew God’s plan for my life. He took me on at Faith Baptist Church to set up a counseling program but soon left to help with another church in crisis. I was voted in as senior pastor where I ministered for 23 years until my retirement at the end of 2022. Again, my training at Northwest and my experience overseas were crucial in reestablishing ministry in BC as I built up a cross-cultural community of believers.
Being called to focus our church on cross-cultural outreach, I worked with others to start New Hope Community Services Society which has now housed over 800 refugees. We launched New Hope Childcare for new Canadians and single parents. We also launched the New Hope International Catering to give hospitality experience to refugees through our Circle of Nation Day. Through these services, ESL, and outreach, Faith grew into a congregation with over 60 nations represented.
What else have you been involved in?
Apart from starting non-profits, spending time on Boards and enjoying 11 grandchildren, I have taken up writing books. So far, I’ve written 15 books, most focused on historical biblical fiction. My book, The Cross-Maker, was awarded the best historical fiction novel for 2020 and the Prince of Persia was awarded Best Canadian Manuscript for 2021. I write weekly short stories and monthly articles for The Light Magazine and often for the Fellowship Thrive magazine. Recently, I’ve taken up writing children’s books for my grandchildren.
The first thing I did after retiring was to join my son in Rwanda to help in the teaching of executive and emerging leaders. I support my daughter’s work among orphans and street boys in Uganda. I’ve joined Northwest as a mentor for their MABL program and I’m taking coaching courses to start my own business helping seasoned leaders in their marriage challenges.
What passions do you still carry into retirement?
I am passionate about the global make-up of the body of Christ as embodied in His church. I am passionate about supporting leaders in ministry and in marriage. I am also still passionate about writing in a way that brings knowledge and a creative glimpse at the world around us.