Defining Success

“Success” is one of those wonderful contemporary words that everyone bends to their own service. We use it to judge others and when it is convenient, we grab hold of it to bolster our own sense of worth and accomplishment. Within Northwest our Board recently has chosen the Carver Policy Governance model to organize and discipline their work. Basic to this model are three questions that the Board in exercising its leadership must continually ask about the Seminary – what outcomes, for whose benefit, at what cost? As it answers these questions, it seeks to define whether the Seminary is being successful in achieving its mission and vision.

As President, I am always wondering about our “success”. Are we developing enough good ministry leaders, are we doing it with excellence, are we making a difference in and for the Kingdom, are we investing our resources in the right way so that we are accomplishing our ends? What makes this so challenging is that my success as President is constantly dependent on the success of others. The Board holds me accountable for the success of the Seminary, but I am always delegating to others the means by which that success must occur. Of course, I am not entirely without recourse to facilitate this success.

Our success as a Seminary depends upon people – board members, faculty, staff, supporters, students, networked leaders. When each person achieves success in their personal lives and in their Seminary roles, then the Seminary succeeds. What I thank God for is the high degree of success that people in these various roles consistently achieve.

  • board members speak with Spirit-led discernment;
  • faculty teach and publish with incredible competence;
  • staff work with deep commitment to quality and mission;
  • students develop in ways we never imagined;
  • supporters in their stewardship contribute beyond our expectations;
  • leaders in our larger networks demonstrate godly, creative leadership that enables our Seminary to flourish.

But for each of these individuals to contribute to Northwest’s success, God must be involved too. Our Christian understanding persuades us that God generates any success that Northwest may enjoy through his very personal, individual work to create success in the life of each individual within our community.  As President I have to put a lot of faith in the people around me, but especially in God Himself. I am only able to guide Northwest to success as all of these various people, assisted by God, are themselves successful. To be President is to be in a wonderful place of grateful, daily dependence.

Was 2008 a successful year for Northwest?

  • We directly impacted 22 churches through Best Practice Workshops for Church Boards and Church Mission Committees.
  • We worked with 70 different students within Northwest and another 300 students in the larger ACTS community.
  • We provided financial aid to 49 different students.
  • We placed about 8 new ministry leaders in our churches.
  • We essentially balanced our budget.
  • Our faculty submitted, read or published 10 articles/papers, prepared two book-length manuscripts, advised and examined theses, taught, consulted, and preached in many churches, and provided mentoring for our students.
  • We redeveloped our relationship with the Fellowship Ministry Centre, creating the Fellowship Leadership Development Centre, led by Dr. Schrag.
  • We implemented The Journey: A Graduate Christian Leadership Development Centre located in Edmonton.
  • The Board adopted the Carver Policy Governance model.

I am sure there are many other advances I could mention. These lead me to conclude that we were successful.

The success of one year, however, does not guarantee the success of a new year. So Northwest’s work begins a fresh cycle in January, as we pray, plan and work together to forge another successful year in Northwest’s significant history of ministry among our churches. I look forward to discerning the hand of God in this success and how He will incorporate your life and service into this success.

For those of you located in the Langley area, I have extended an invitation to join with us February 13, 2009 and consider “The State of the Seminary.” You should be receiving that in the mail shortly, and I trust you will be able to join us. If you live outside of this area, but will be visiting during that period, please let me know so that we can include in this evening of celebration and prayer.