Monthly Archives: April 2012

Interview with Doug Harris

Reflections of a former Northwest President

Reflecting back on your involvement with Northwest over the years, what are some highlights for you in terms of Northwest’s role in the preparation/development of leaders for the Fellowship?

Doug and Mary HarrisMy relationship with Northwest has covered a span of sixty years. It began when my new bride and I returned from our honeymoon in September of 1952 and continues to this day.

There are numerous highlights in our perception of Northwest’s leadership preparation/development process during those years.

  1. In the early years College ministry teams were sent far and wide across western Canada, providing music and preaching ministries to our churches and developmental opportunities for our students.
  2. Over the years Northwest has provided senior and associate pastors for new and existing Fellowship churches (formerly called “Regular Baptist Churches”). Western Baptist Bible College, the Calgary-based pastoral training school out of which Northwest arose, was started by Rev. Morley Hall because of the deep and desperate need to provide competent, committed Baptist pastors for the new Baptist churches springing up in Western Canada. At one stage of Northwest’s history over fifty percent of Fellowship Baptist Churches in Western Canada were pastored by Northwest grads.
  3. Northwest has made a significant impact in foreign missions and parachurch ministries over the years. It has provided mission teams, short and long term missionaries and mission leaders for Fellowship Missions and for the missionary cause as a whole.
  4. In the near past, Northwest provided a ministry of top quality chorales and quartets which, with accompanying faculty, provided first class inspiration and teaching throughout Western Canada to Fellowship and non-Fellowship churches.
  5. Participation in the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest’s move to the campus of Trinity Western University were key steps in the leadership preparation/development process. ACTS was unique in that its participating seminaries were controlled by their specific denominations. Practical theology was to become the unique mission of ACTS. The goal of the consortium was to train competent effective pastors and Christian workers within the framework of sound doctrine and academic credibility.
  6. One of Northwest’s key contributions to its leadership preparation/development process has been its ongoing care for and help to its grads after their entrance into ministry. It has been an ongoing resource where grads were welcomed to return to the “nest” and receive sympathetic and understanding care, nurture and practical instruction.

As you reflect on the challenges in the process of discerning and developing leaders are there some valuable principles you have observed/learned that are crucial for us to keep in mind today?

  1. Leadership development is the responsibility of the local church
  2. The role of the College or Seminary is to provide a venue where local churches can cooperate in providing elements in the leadership training process that cannot be adequately provided by a single local church. Local churches are responsible to train local church leaders. Churches need to delegate the more specialized aspects of leadership training by creating institutions that will enable them to do cooperatively what they cannot do individually.
  3. Ministry training institutions should exist to serve the Lord and serve local churches. It is not the other way around. They should be owned and operated by the cooperating churches. Northwest was born through two sponsoring denominations. It owes its continued existence to them. As long as its services are needed by the churches, it has a continuing role and should be generously supported. When its churches no longer require the kind of services it provides, it will be time to phase out what exists and develop a more effective leadership development process.
  4. In order to fulfil its leadership development mandate, Northwest must do far more than simply provide credible theological and practical education. It must be a center for spiritual life and development. This means that the agape principle must become the paramount priority in terms of attitudes and relationships. Students must see faculty, administrators and staff continually modeling this principle in every aspect of their relationship with God, students, each other, churches, other consortium members and other theological educators whoever and wherever they may be.

Looking ahead, what do you see? What excites you and what concerns you? What do you pray when you pray for the Fellowship?

  1. What excites me?

a. I am excited about the ministry of our new President, Kent Anderson. He links the values of the past to the challenges and complexities of the future. Building on the outstanding ministry of his predecessor, Dr. Perkins, he is positioned to lead Northwest to higher heights of ministry effectiveness and deeper depths of spiritual devotion than it or its students have ever known.

b. I am excited about the relationship I see between Northwest and its sponsoring denominations in BC and on the Prairies. It appears that church and denominational leaders are working hand-in-hand and heart-with-heart in leading our churches in fulfilling their respective roles in the fulfilling of our Lord’s Great Commission.

c. I am excited about calibre of students I see in our Seminary and coming from it. The bar of pastoral competency is set much higher today than ever before. Students that I meet seem to manifest potential for extremely significant ministry in the days ahead.

  1. What concerns me?

a. I am concerned that everyone who has anything to do with Northwest will remain true to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It really does matter what we believe. The Convention of Regular Baptists of BC (now our Pacific Fellowship) was formed in 1927 over the issue of truth. It put together a sound and credible doctrinal statement that deals with important issues of faith and practice. Our doctrinal statement is the foundation upon which the ministry of our churches and seminary is built. Any variance or compromise on those key doctrines which have marked us and supported us in years gone by will eventually set in motion a process of deterioration and decay that will mean that neither our seminary nor our churches will be in the future what we have been in the past or are today.

b. I am concerned the Northwest will experience and be known for its true and genuine godliness and spirituality. According to 1 Corinthians 13 the agape principle is the paramount priority of the Christian life. If we maintain cognitive doctrinal orthodoxy and fail in the understanding and manifestation of the agape principle, we will sell our birthright for a mess of pottage.

c. I am concerned that the motto “by prayer” will not simply be another cute Christian cliché, but will be a powerful reality in the lives of faculty, administrators, staff, students, Board members and denominational leaders. May God help us all to actually practice what we profess when we identify with the Apostle Paul when he admonished us to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”. If this ceases to be a reality, our power will evaporate and our ministry and institution will disintegrate.

  1. How do I pray when I think of Northwest?

a. I praise Him for the things that excite me.

b. I pray over the things that concern me.

Finally, how can we pray for you and Mary?

Please pray that we will fight a good fight, finish well and keep the faith.

 

Sowing Seeds for His Kingdom

In 2 Corinthians 9 Paul encourages giving and generosity:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.2 Corinthians 9:6

Gardening is part of my heritage. My grandfather built a successful greenhouse business growing tomatoes and cucumbers. My Dad was an avid gardener as well. He turned our backyard into an oasis of tomatoes, beans, and yes, zucchinis too! My Dad understood the concept of sowing and reaping. Food was plentiful and there was lots of it!

A few summers ago, my family started a small garden and we had great results. This year, however, was a different story. Our May felt like January so we chose to take a break from planting one. Now, we settle for tomatoes from Costco or our local markets.

Here are some facts:

1.) Without a generous sowing you will never experience a generous harvest.

2.) A successful farmer does not reap the exact amount that he sows. His harvest generally produces proportionately more.

So it is with Christian giving navigate to this web-site. When we give generously we receive far more in return in proportion to the amount of the gift we have given.

As everything belongs to God ultimately, when we give our time, talents, and money, God promises to “increase the fruit of your righteousness” (verse 10).

Currently, we are sowing the seeds of our new “Immerse” Church Based Training Program in order to bring new ministry leaders for kingdom work. This innovative program will develop Christ centered ministry leaders for our Fellowship Churches in BC, Alberta and the Yukon. We are sowing generously so that we may also reap generously.

Your gifts to Northwest are indeed sowing the seeds for an eternal impact. Thank you for choosing to make a Kingdom difference with your financial gifts to this ministry.

You can contact Ron via this form:
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Share in the Work

Share in the Work of ‘Church-Based’ Ministry Leadership Development

Northwest has a big vision for the future of its ministry. While we are not a large seminary, we have a large sense of what God can do through us as we pioneer innovative ways of pursuing ministry leadership development in partnership with our churches. We are all about developing Christ-centred ministry leaders in the church, for the church, and in partnership with the church.

In our vision, Northwest is preparing significant numbers of students who are committed to their Bible and who know their theology, having forged these commitments in the context of real-time, ground-level ministry in the church under the close scrutiny of seasoned and caring pastoral and academic mentors. We see Northwest, in the fore-front of a new wave of integrated learning structures that ensure we have leaders who not only know their stuff, but who can live it out in relationship with actual people.

To see this vision through, we rely upon our friends. We appreciate that not everyone can join our faculty or staff. We also understand that the passion for this ministry does not exist only among our employees. Many of you are looking for ways by which you can participate meaningfully in this work of Church Based Ministry Leadership Development.

Compelling Reasons to Participate

There are several reasons a person might feel compelled to get involved…

If you are an Alumnus and God has used Northwest to shape you personally, you will want to give back so that Northwest can continue to work to shape the next generation of leaders like yourself.

If you love the Fellowship and you are committed to the work of this particular group of churches, you will want to join us as we own the responsibility for the next generation of leaders for our movement.
Perhaps you are an innovator, and you value creativity. You, then, might want to seed the next great direction in ministry leadership development – our Church-Based Training Program.

It may be that you simply love the gospel and you want to see it preached. If so, you will want to support those whom God is calling to give their lives to this great work.

Opportunities for Involvement

In the desire to develop new teams of people who are willing to get behind this compelling vision, we have identified a number of levels at which you could participate.

If you have received this newsletter, you are a part of The Northwest Network. Members of the Network are alumni and others who have reason to be interested in the work that we are doing.

Many of you have gone beyond simple interest, to participate in some significant way. We call this group The Friends of Northwest. These “Friends” are anyone who has recently given to Northwest, volunteered for Northwest, or demonstrated potential as one who might show commitment to the ministry of the Seminary. We look forward to welcoming our “Friends” to a series of free “Friends of Northwest Barbeques” to be held later in this year.

Some of our “Friends” will want to become Student Sponsorship Partners. These Partners are donors who commit to give on a monthly or annual basis due to their interest in supporting a particular student. For example, if we can find ten people who would give $50 per month, we could completely cover the academic costs of one student in the Church-Based Training program.

We trust that some of you will want to take this to another level, becoming members of The President’s Circle. This Circle is a group of patrons who have given significantly to the ministry of Northwest, demonstrated either through a recent large gift, or a committed pattern of giving, or who have shown significant commitment to the ministry of Northwest as a volunteer, advocate, or student mentor. Members of the President’s Circle will receive a complementary invitation to an annual President’s Circle dinner, and will receive regular e-mail communications from the President, through which they will receive current news items, significant invitations to prayer, and the opportunity to advise the President on questions of significance.

In addition, we will be developing a group of Northwest Advocates, who will serve as volunteer “cheerleaders” for the ministry of the Seminary. Made up largely of alumni, board members, and enthusiastic donors, Advocates will work to support the Development Team within their church and geographic region, identifying and encouraging potential supporters for our ministry.

Finally, some of our Friends will want to become Legacy Partners. These partners are distinguished patrons who have shown an exemplary level of commitment as a Friend of Northwest and/or a member of the President’s Circle, either through making Northwest a part of their estate, by giving a significant financial gift toward some special purpose, or by giving extraordinary service to the work of Northwest over a significant period of time.

Gaining Benefit from your Involvement

People that get involved in this ministry find it extremely beneficial on a personal level. One donor and former board member recently told us that, “being involved with Northwest was one of the most meaningful experiences of his life.” When you consider that this comment came from a former high-ranking business executive in a major Canadian corporation, you can appreciate the significance of what he had to say.

Of course, the primary benefit of participation has more to do with the ministry impact on our students and upon those that they will serve. There are, for example, a number of ways that a financial gift can be of help.

$400    – provides financial aid for one course for a student.
$1,000 – provides the development cost for one church-based training course.
$1,250 – provides financial aid for one full-time student for a full semester.
$2,500 – provides for a faculty member to teach in an international mission site.

These are just some of the possible incentives. Donors with a specific interest should speak to Director of Development, Ron Sing, or to our President, Kent Anderson, about other such possibilities – for example funding the Information Technology needs of the Seminary for a year, or paying the costs involved in holding a faculty-taught seminar within a local church.

Significant Work Requires Significant Involvement

This is significant work – of such consequence that some of us have given our lives to it. Please let us know of any interest that you have.

Romans 10:13-15 reminds us that the gospel can’t be heard if there is no one there to preach it, and there will be no one there if no one has been sent. We consider training to be the critical part in sending. We would encourage you to join us as we seek to raise up significant numbers of highly qualified, ministry and pastoral leaders, for the good of our churches, for the good of God’s Kingdom, and for the good of God’s glory.

Thank you for supporting Northwest and our ministry. To make a donation please call our office directly at 604-888-7592 or Toll Free 1-888-402-3477.

Please send your cheques to

Northwest Baptist Seminary
7600 Glover Road
Langley,  BC, V2Y 1Y1,

Please make your cheque  payable to Northwest Baptist Seminary.

For  online giving please visit our “How to Donate to Northwest” page on this website.

Bequests and Other Gifts

An Investment in Christ-Centred Leadership Development

Spring is almost here! My family can’t wait for sunny days and the promise of hot summer temperatures ahead!  For us, it also means spring cleaning around the house and garden. It is also a great time to do some “financial spring cleaning”. This is an ideal opportunity to review all your investments, update your will and ensure your estate plans are current to reflect your wishes.
A Biblical Perspective
In 1 Chronicles 29, King David leaves his wealth to a trustee to ensure the temple could be built after his death. This is a clear example of “planned giving or deferred giving”.  David bequeaths his entire wealth so that his son Solomon, could build the temple. To guarantee David’s plans and to carry out his wishes, he gave his gifts to Jehiel the Gershonite ( 1 Chronicles 29:8 ). Jehiel became the trustee of the gifts to complete the construction of the temple.
Estate Planning
Estate planning and the preparation of a legal will and/or a charitable bequest, is an opportunity to honour God with our gifts. This enables us to give back a portion of the financial growth He has showered us with during our lifetimes.
Types of Bequests
Cash Bequest:  Northwest receives a specific dollar amount from your estate.
Bequest of Property: Northwest receives specific assets (real estate, securities, or other tangible property – art or antiques etc)
Retirement Plan Bequests:  Northwest is designated as a beneficiary of the remainder of your RRSP/RRIF. This is simple to set up. First talk to your plan administrator and complete a “change of beneficiary “ form.
Tax Planning
Many people pay more tax in the year of death than in any other year during their lifetime. Complete estate planning should always include tax planning. Charitable giving upon death is an excellent way to reduce your tax liability.
In addition to your annual gift to Northwest Baptist Seminary, have you considered leaving a gift to Northwest in your will?
Thank you for your involvement in this ministry. It is through the your generous support and your financial gifts that allow us to pursue our ministry in Christ-Centered Leadership Development.
If you would like to discuss how to become a Legacy partner with Northwest please contact Ron Sing, Director of Development.  Direct: 250-821-3777 or toll free : 1-888-402-3477.

Visit Northwest’s web-page on “How to Donate to Northwest”.

This article is for general information only and does not replace consulting with your professional financial and/or legal advisors about your own situation.