GREETINGS, I trust all is well with you and you are enjoying the sunny weather, as summer is nearing.
With this edition of ALUMNI NEWS, we are including the first Alumni Interview, along with our Alumni Connect article, and information on the plans of the Alumni Association for 2023-2024. Northwest Graduation will be held October 14th, 2023, at 1:30 pm at South Delta Baptist Church and we encourage all Northwest Alumni to attend this ceremony. Further details on the program will be available in the next Alumni News.
Looking ahead, the Alumni Connect Team would like to see Alumni Reunions of graduates from various decades. We would appreciate connecting with alumni members who would like to work on a committee to plan an event for their decade. It would be wonderful to host 80’s and 90’s decade reunions in 2024. Please connect with me if you are an alumnus from either decade and would like to work on a reunion event for your decade.
Another feature we would like to include in Alumni News is an “In Memoriam” section. We are asking alumni who become aware of the passing of a Northwest alumnus to inform us and we will contact their family about including their information in this new “In Memoriam” section. You can email me with this information, and I will follow up on connecting with the family.
Just a reminder if you have not yet completed the online alumni questionnaire , we would like to hear from you. We wish you a wonderful summer and look forward to connecting with many of you.
Intentional Christian Grandparenting
Bob Dobson came to Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in August 1989 following an administrative career with the City of Toronto Board of Education. He cherished his time on the Marine Drive Campus before transiting to the Trinity Western location.
He had the role of Vice President of Public Relations with specific responsibilities for enrolment management, gift income, and capital building projects. It was during this time that Northwest was awarded the Christianity Today Annual Award for the fastest growing Bible College in North America.
He completed his role at Northwest in August 1996 answering the call of God for pastoral leadership at Cloverdale Baptist Church.
My wife Denise and I were introduced to the importance of being intentional with our grandparenting five years ago. We attended a Grandparenting Summit at Chuck Swindoll’s Church in Plano, Texas.
We love caring for our grandchildren and want to be involved in their lives at every opportunity. However, it did not occur to us to be intentional Christian grandparents. Following our time in Texas we realized our role with them was far more important and needed some realigning. We got a clearer picture of the active role of grandparenting as regularly implied in God’s Word.
Looking at the last part of Deuteronomy 4:9, it states: “teach them (commands of the Lord) to your children and your grandchildren.” We began to realize that we were to be spiritual influencers in their lives. We further realized that we were responsible to teach two generations, not just one.
We knew our role needed some adjustments. Scripture repeatedly mentions the phrase “from one generation to another.” Our prayer life became more targeted; our stories became our “God stories” in order to speak about God’s faithfulness in our lives. Our vision changed to becoming more intentional in “teaching” our grandchildren principles that take root in their lives – for a time in our future we cannot see. We love our intentional Christian grandparenting role. It is an important role and we treasure it.
Beyond that, we have become Board Members with Legacy Coalition Canada. Legacy Coalition opened a new chapter in Canada on January 1, 2023. At its’ roots is the belief that now is the time to harness the wisdom, energy, and passion of Christian grandparents in Canada – for the sake of our grandchildren. It can be summed up as: “Writing the signature of God across the souls of our grandchildren.”
There is incredible potential for us as grandparents to influence our youngest generation. We are important to our grandkids and are in a unique position to influence them spiritually. Psalm 78:5b-7 sums it perfectly: “He commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
As Board Members of Legacy Coalition Canada, our vision and passion, is that Canadian Christian grandparents see the model in scripture, consider their role, and connect their faith journey by sharing it with their grandkids.
LCC is here to help churches and grandparents in this endeavour. Our website provides resources, seminars, webinars, studies, and materials that will encourage and equip grandparents to fulfill their role of becoming intentional Christian grandparents. May God guide, strengthen, give wisdom, and bless grandparents as they prayerfully consider their role in the lives of their grandchildren.
We want more than anything to have our grandchildren in heaven with us. Our desire is to build a legacy that outlives ourselves. I’m sure the same is true for you.
Our website is: https://legacycoalition.ca
Alumna Interview with Pam Pilkey ('88)
Pamela Pilkey (Verba) received the One Year Bible Certificate from Northwest in 1988. She attended Northwest from 1986-1988. She attends Prairie Chapel in Abbotsford and is mother to 5 married children, and grandmother to 15 grandchildren. They are all serving the Lord in various capacities.
What did you appreciate about your time at Northwest and how did it prepare you for ministry?
When I initially enrolled into a One-Year Bible program with Northwest in the Fall of 1986, I had one goal in mind: to immerse myself fully in God’s Word. As a brand-new believer in the redeeming work of Christ, I was determined to leave the world’s distractions (for a time) and focus solely on discerning what God’s Word would reveal to be his will for my life going forward.
I will always be grateful for my time studying at Northwest. It set in motion the foundational building blocks that I would need to navigate and to respond biblically to life’s always unpredictable circumstances. While studying for a New Testament exam, the Lord brought me to my knees (quite literally) at a moment where I think, for the very first time, I fully comprehended the great sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross so that I could live in eternity. It was during Theology class where I learned about all of God’s attributes and his complete sovereignty over every aspect of my life. Old Testament studies gave me hope and reinforced that God’s promises were true, culminating in the New Testament fulfillment of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Describe your ministries since graduating from Northwest.
In 1988, during my last year at Northwest, I met my husband, Glenn. We married and moved to White Rock where we started a computer training/consulting business which we later expanded to Surrey and Langley. During those first several years, the Lord also blessed us with 5 precious children. Our ministry had become two-fold: showing God’s grace and the love of Christ in the marketplace by using the gifts and talents God had bestowed on us, and lovingly ministering to these precious children God had gifted us with.
Music was a very important part of our daily routine. Whether it was singing hymns at bedtime or dancing with our children around the living room singing to Gaither gospel videos, it had the unintended outcome of eventually turning into a family music ministry. Glenn especially loved gospel music, and so in the late 1990’s, he volunteered for us to sing at various local churches, as well as a weekly Sunday night dinner at Peace Arch Fellowship Church, which hosted an outreach ministry to the less fortunate in our White Rock community. After a few years of singing as The Pilkey Family, our group downsized to the three youngest girls - Harmony, Destiny, and Britteny - and they became The Pilkey Sisters. After several more years and countless hours of practice, The Pilkey Sisters came to be known for their tight-knit, 3-part harmony, and eventually they became called upon more and more to minister the gospel through song at larger events.
What is a way you have seen God bring good from a bad situation in your life?
God is not against us – He is for us. Our circumstances may cloud our ability to see that, but we can cling to that truth. At no time in my life was that so evident as when my husband, Glenn, suddenly passed away on July 25, 2011. Yet as the days wore on and the shock lessened for the children and I, we began to see God more clearly. God’s Word says that the widow and the fatherless will be blessed, and we know that to be true. We are forever grateful to a community of loving Christian believers who supported us and took us into their hearts, as we clung to each other and mourned our loss.
After a few more months had passed, The Pilkey Sisters felt they had reached a crossroads, and asked the question, ‘would they continue their gospel music ministry or disband?’ After much prayer and seeking the Lord’s guidance, the girls felt that now more than ever they had a passion to reach broader audiences with their gospel message in song. Soon after, the Lord began to open doors for The Pilkey Sisters to perform not just locally, but across Canada, alongside some of the more well-known Gaither groups from the U.S.
In 2017, my daughter, Harmony, wrote an article called “Hope Through Tragedy” for Canada’s Gospel Music Celebration. In it she wrote:
We learned more about God’s character and dove deeper into His Word than ever before. Two songs that lifted us up during this time were “The Promise” by the Martins and “Through” by the Gaither Vocal Band. (‘When I saw what lay before me, Lord, I cried, what will you do? I thought He would just remove it; But He gently led me through. Without fire there’s no refining, without pain there’s no relief, without flood there’s no rescue, without testing no belief.’) These messages reminded us that while God did not promise we wouldn’t experience hurt or trying times, He would be right by our side, through it all. We could be refined and conformed to the image of His Son, and through our struggle, God’s glory would be revealed.”
How have you found rest in God?
It has been nearly 12 years since my husband Glenn’s passing. The Lord has blessed our family abundantly. He has provided godly spouses for all five of our children, and so far, we have been richly blessed with 16 grandchildren (one in heaven).
We may not always understand God’s plan, but we can always trust Him. God gave us hope, not that we could forget the pain, but that we could draw closer to Him, hope that we can be a blessing to others, and hope that we will one day see His face and those of our loved ones, because He sacrificed His only Son to save us.
I rest in knowing that one day all that has been lost will be restored.