Monthly Archives: April 2013

We Love Our Alumni!

We love our alumni. Most schools do. It is deeply encouraging to learn ways by which those who have studied with us have gone on to apply their education in fruitful ways. I thought I would mention three of our alumni from across the years, who have come to our attention in particular ways these past months…

I just finished reading Rubbing Shoulders in Yemen, a travel memoir written by Peter Twele. Peter and I were Northwest students together in the late 1970s and early 80s. Peter went on from Northwest to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Canada Institute of Linguistics. This book describes his experiences, 30 years ago when he was carrying out socio-linguistic research in the back-country of Yemen. Reading his stories, I found myself impressed with Peter’s courage, his tenacity, and his evident love for the people God had called him to serve. To this day, Peter has a desire to build bridges of understanding between the West and the Middle East. You can find the book on amazon.ca.

I was thrilled to hear about another former Northwest student, Melanie Humphreys, who was recently appointed president of The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta. Melanie went on from Northwest to study and serve on staff at Trinity Western. She also held positions at Lithuania Christian College and Wheaton College in Illinois. Bill Diepeveen, chair of King’s Board of Governors said Dr. Humphreys “understands and is excited by King’s vision and mission and has been providing transformational leadership in similar Christian university college environments for years. We are confident she is the strategic and visionary leader and gifted community builder to take us into the next phase of King’s promising future.” King’s serves close to 700 students in Alberta and beyond. We at Northwest are proud to see one of our own have this opportunity to make a difference at this level in Western Canada.

On a different theme, I was saddened to note the death of Northwest alumnus John Affleck. John graduated with a B.Th. in 1983. Along with his wife, Marlene (also an alumnus), John served as a missionary in Pakistan for many years. He also served the poor and disadvantaged in his work with the Union Gospel Mission. At Northwest we are proud of John and of his service to our Lord. He has exemplified everything we have tried to teach and pass along to our students. May many rise up to follow his example.

We are in the business of producing men and women who will have this kind of impact for the glory of our God and for the good of his kingdom. With more than 3,000 such people out there serving, we know that these stories are only representative of the many great things that God is doing through our alumni.

 

Board of Governors Award given to Janet Anderson

The Board of Governors of Northwest Baptist Seminary is pleased to present its first Board of Governors Award to Janet Anderson.

Janet Anderson from PSJanet, it has been said, “was a woman’s woman.” From the time she started her career in nursing until she went home to be with her Lord, Janet never did things in half measures. Her desire to see people come to Christ as well as her conviction that women and men should be treated equal provided the motivation that drove her in the many things that she did. She did these things wholeheartedly and with conviction.

Janet’s life was filled with a variety of experiences. She was a businesswoman, operating a catering business and a gift shop. She received a Master of Christian Studies degree from Regent College and in her last years had begun to work on a Doctor of Ministry degree. Convinced of the importance of lay theology, Janet worked closely with Dr. Paul Stevens in the advancement of “marketplace chaplaincy” as well as assisting in the Vancouver International Airport Chaplaincy program. Janet served as a camp counsellor and program director at Camp Qwanoes for many years. Hundreds of young campers, who knew her as “Thumper,” were exposed to the gospel through her energetic ministry. Later on she expressed this passion by serving for years on the Camp Qwanoes Board of Directors. Throughout her life she was an active and hospitable member of Dunbar Heights Baptist Church.

Of particular interest to Northwest Baptist Seminary was her many years of service on the Northwest Board of Governors, beginning in 1986. She served a number of terms on the board over a span of 20 years. She also served on the Fellowship Pacific Board, serving the larger vision of our Fellowship of Churches. Additionally, Janet served Northwest and its students as the first director of the ACTS Seminaries Chaplaincy program, training and advising many people toward significant careers as hospital, military, and marketplace chaplains.

Long time friend and current Northwest board member, Julia Denis, says, “Janet was a Lydia. Like Lydia the Lord had opened her heart and she served with excellence. She contributed much and we honour her generous gifts of leadership, wisdom, and creative vision.”

Sadly for us, Janet is no longer with us, having gone to be with her Lord on October 14, 2012. Just prior to her death, Northwest Chairman of the Board, Larry Nelson, and President, Kent Anderson were able to be with Janet to pray with her, to thank her for her service and to inform her of her receipt of this award. “I am overwhelmed,” she said repeatedly. “If any of the things I have done have been of use to the Lord, I am grateful.” By this commendation, we are affirming that her life and service has, in fact, been of great use to us and to her Lord. She will be missed.

 

Reflections on 10 Years of Leadership Development

For the last ten years, Lyle Schrag has served on the Northwest faculty and as Director of the Fellowship Center for Leadership Development. Lyle is concluding his full-time service with Northwest, but will continue to be involved with us in a number of ways, including serving as an Immerse faculty mentor. Northwest President, Kent Anderson recently sat down with Lyle to share the following conversation.

Northwest Baptist Seminary FacultyKent: One thing a lot of people won’t know about you is that you continue to serve with the US Coast Guard. What have you learned from your experience that is helpful for thinking about ministry leadership?

Lyle: The Coast Guard is very much like the church in that most of the people involve themselves voluntarily. I recognize the necessity for an organization’s leaders to have tight boundaries around its work with volunteers. There needs to be a distinct set of parameters, different from what you might find when working with professional staff. I have seen a good convergence here in the area of governance and church boards. It is a good idea to describe distinct job descriptions for every position in the church including volunteers so everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and who they are accountable to and how it relates to the mission of the church. For example, what are the required times, the duration of the commitment, is any training required? All of those elements are reinforced in the Coast Guard.

Kent: You have had a big impact helping our churches develop better patterns of governance. What is one thing you would say to churches that might help them in this area?

Lyle: The key discovery is that governance is a critical spiritual ministry. Many churches don’t view governance as spiritual, but more a management concern. But I would say that the church board is the primary spiritual community of the church.

Kent: So governance could be pastoral.

Lyle: It is. The quality of fellowship within the congregation is defined by the quality of fellowship within the leadership. If the board cannot approach their relationship together as a spiritual community it is difficult to assume that the rest of the congregation is experiencing what their board is not experiencing. On the other hand if a church board is able to approach their relationship together as if they are defining what it means to be a spiritual community and approach their work that way, it begins to resound itself out to the rest of the body. I have found that many students and pastors, understand their role as the primary leader of their church, while viewing the board as a competitor to their dreams. They don’t realize that the key spiritual and pastoral relationship in the church is between the pastor and the board chairperson. This is where a lot of the health issues fall apart.

Kent: You spend a lot of time working on student care and it really shows. Students love the impact you’ve had on their lives. What gives you hope for the church as you think about the students who are aspiring to leadership these days?

Lyle: One is their maturity. A lot of the students we have here are experienced and they come out of a working area already with a real sense of focus. They’re doing this because they believe that God is calling them to ministry. I am seeing that sense of calling and momentum more and more. The second thing I see is a growing affection for the church. I’ve been here ten years and I would say that the first five years I was seeing the attitude of “I love Jesus, but I hate the church.” That’s shifting and I’m seeing now a number of students determining adamantly to love and serve within the church. I kind of despaired a couple of years ago hearing students talk about doing ministry in any other area but the church, but now they’re saying, “I want to impact the church.”

Kent: You mentioned 10 years. Are there a couple of highlights?

Lyle: Working with the students and being here 10 years means I’ve had a chance to see God work with them and through them over time. I have been able to leverage my experience into their lives, continuing that relationship as they move on and continue in ministry. That has been pretty profound. Alumni contact me consistently so that I feel that I’ve not only made an initial investment but I can continue the relationship with them. The same thing happens with churches. I think particularly of the Best Practices for Church Boards seminars, and through them, the relationship with pastors, similar to the relationship I have with students and alumni. I contact them and pray for them regularly and let them know that I am thinking about them and praying for them. Of course, the teaching opportunity has been great as well. I really thrive in that environment.

Kent: What is something hopeful that you are trusting the Lord for in the future?

Lyle: I would use the word “satisfying” more than “hopeful.” The satisfaction I’m taking now is being able to leverage my experience and skill. I’m doing transitional pastoring, preaching and consulting with churches, having the opportunity of mentoring a new generation of leadership. It’s not a future I’m creating for myself, but a future I’m creating for others.

 

Sowing Seeds for His Kingdom

“You give them something to eat” Luke 9:13

Jesus loves us and takes care of all our needs, both spiritual and physical. He also shows us that if we honour Him with our gifts, He is able to multiply it and use it for good. In Luke 9, the feeding the five thousand we see how Jesus wants us to live. It all begins when He says to His disciples: “ You give them something to eat “.

I love all Asian food. So when we were invited to a large Chinese banquet recently, we agreed to attend. My daughter, naturally asked me questions, including: “ What are they REALLY going to serve there, Dad? “. Over the course of several hours, 180 hungry people talked and ate. Plates of food kept coming and filling our tables. 180 plates of food, 180 pairs of chopsticks, and endless pots of tea later. We came away happy, full and content.

Food for everyone.

The feeding of the five thousand men (plus women and children) shows the unlimited resources of our Lord Jesus. And like our Chinese banquet for 180, the five thousand plus hungry people were well fed.

Take some time to read Luke 9: 10-17.

What can we learn from Jesus?

First, Jesus loves and cares for us and is more than able to supply our current needs. After all, the five thousand ate and there were plenty of leftovers. Twelve full baskets to be exact! Christ is more than sufficient and His provisions overflow.

Secondly, I believe our Lord is reminding us to trust him more with all our resources. Our resources are really His resources. There are times that he may allow us to give five loaves and two fish. At other times, he has blessed us richly and we have baskets of extras to give to others. As Jesus grabs a hold of your heart, allow Him to surprise you with what He can do with your gifts. How amazing that this little boy was willing to give up his lunch for Jesus. With the 5 loaves and 2 fish being multiplied to feed the five thousand hungry men, it must have been quite something to see!

How do you see your gifts being multiplied for Jesus?

How is The Lord directing your loaves and fishes to further His Kingdom?

Want to Give to Northwest? “The Student Sponsorship Fund“ for student scholarships financially supports our students in our Immerse (Church Based Training) program. Call me at (250) 240-3737 or fill out the form below for more informaton. For online giving to invest in our Student Scholarship Fund:  >> click here.

It’s simple and easy to be a Monthly Financial Partner. Call Dianne at Northwest to start today (604) 888-7592!

Many thanks to all our financial partners and sponsors for their consistent and generous gifts to our ministry. Your generosity and prayers enables us to accomplish our mission: “To thoroughly equip and prepare future Pastoral Ministry Leaders for all our Fellowship churches and to impact our communities for His glory”.

“A generous person will prosper. Whoever refreshes others, will be refreshed.” (Proverb 11:25 NIV.)

I would love to hear your comments or questions.

 

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Interview with Larry Nelson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALarry Nelson has served Northwest for the past five years in the capacity of chair of the Board of Governors. Larry is stepping down from that role this year and Northwest News along with the faculty and staff would like to thank him for his service. We took this opportunity to chat with Larry about his involvement with Northwest:

How did you first get connected with Northwest? Could you describe a little of your history with us?

My familiarity with Northwest goes back to when the school was still in Port Coquitlam and my oldest brother started school there. Eventually both of my older brothers (one 12 years older and one 8 years older than I) graduated from Northwest and so when I completed high school it was natural for me to consider Northwest. At the time the school offered a one-one year program and I enrolled in that.

In later years, when I had my own accounting practice, and a couple of years before Northwest moved to the Trinity Western University Campus, my accounting firm did all the financial accounting and financial management for Northwest. I did that until the school moved here to the TWU campus and so I also did all the accounting for the construction costs for the Northwest building. Then, five years ago I was invited to come onto the Northwest board as the board chair. I have served in that capacity for the past 5 years.

Looking back over your many experiences both in the corporate world as well as in the church, how do you feel God uniquely prepared you for this role?

Over the past number of years I have served on over 10 boards and on at least six of those I have served as the board chair. So I came to the Northwest board with considerable previous board experience. Over the years I have been very interested in what comprises good board governance and good board practices and so I have read extensively and attended a number of workshops on the subject. Currently I do board governance consulting for non profit organizations. So, all of that has given me a good background in preparing to serve as chair the Northwest board.

What are you passionate about?

Well, I am passionate about Northwest. I am also passionate about good governance and I am passionate about training great pastors and leaders for the local church.

What do you believe has been your most significant contribution to Northwest and to the Board over the years you have served there?

One of the reasons I was encouraged to come on to the Northwest board was to transition the board into the policy governance model that it now uses. I had previous experience transitioning three other boards into that model and so that is what we have done with the Northwest board as well. I think that governance model has, and will continue to serve Northwest very well. As a result I think one of my most significant contributions was ensuring that Northwest was well governed and that the board clearly understood its governance role.

When Dr. Perkins retired as president of Northwest, one of the other interesting things I did was to chair the search committee for the new president.

What would you identify as being some highlights of your time on the Board?

Several things come to mind. Board retreats were always great experiences for me. It was also a privilege to honour Dr. Perkins on his retirement. I thought we did a great job of that. Then hiring our new president, Dr. Anderson, and seeing him transition into his role so well has been a significant highlight for me.

What excites you about Northwest’s future?

I think the new Immerse program really positions the school well for the future. It is leading edge. It is a creative and unique approach in training pastors. I am encouraged because I think Immerse actually follows the model of how other professions train their leaders; the medical profession, the legal profession, the accounting profession. It is all about making sure that those new professionals have great practical experience that is combined with the theoretical.

Another thing that excites me is that I think you have a great president in Dr. Anderson and I think Northwest also has an excellent board that will govern the school well going forward.

What concerns might you have that you can share with us?

The current challenge in front of all seminaries is just how to deliver what needs to be done in a manner that is effective, affordable and attractive to students. This will be an on-going challenge for Northwest. How do we ensure that our denominational needs are met in terms of well-trained, godly leaders for the future? I am concerned about our aging donor base. I am also concerned about a denominational school in an era where denominational loyalty is waning. So those would be some of my concerns.

As you ponder the role of an institution like Northwest in the preparation of leaders for the church is there anything unique or particular about Northwest’s sense of mission?

I think we are clearly focused on equipping our Fellowship Baptist churches in Western Canada with a particular emphasis on ensuring that our churches have well-prepared pastors to lead them in their ministries.

What are some of the lessons that you personally have learned about leadership development?

What I have observed is that leadership is a unique gift. Effective leadership is a combination of being born with some natural leadership attributes which are then built upon and developed in a training environment like that provided by Northwest… where people with these natural leadership abilities are equipped with leadership tools and solid theological training so that they are going to be effective in ministry. So I think that leadership can be both taught and learned as well as just having some great DNA to make one a great leader. One way leadership is developed is through students interacting with the faculty and seeing how godly leaders live their lives professionally and personally. I believe this is something that Northwest has done well.

How do you think the Board’s understanding of leadership development has been expanded?

I think the Immerse program is the key answer to that. The board has had to really wrap its head around what it takes to develop leaders and has had to be bold and creative and risk takers in terms of initiating something that is truly unique in North America. What Immerse is attempting to do has not been done before within an accredited seminary context. I think it is a bold move and has been an excellent example of great collaboration between a denominational school and the denominational leadership and the local church. This concept has really challenged the board – and expanded the board’s thinking – and I am really pleased to see what has been accomplished. This has been a new road for all of us.

What sage advice would you have for all of us at Northwest as we move forward?

I just think that the board needs to continue to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The board; the staff; our supporters; all need to uphold the seminary in prayer. As a school Northwest needs to be constantly aware of utilizing the latest technology, the latest means to deliver its services in an effective way. I think Northwest has to constantly keep in mind that it is a servant of the denomination and so the task of the board is to keep asking how are we serving our FEB Pacific and Western Canada denominational needs most effectively. We also need to keep an eye on the future and the possibility of serving the needs of the denomination nationally.

One of the observations and accusations against seminaries in the past has been that they have very little relevance to where people are on the ground. I think the Immerse program really addresses that. I think having a good cross mix of professions and gifting on the board of governors helps keep the school in the real world. I think the fact that our faculty are active in our churches is good. I am really pleased that our current president is constantly watching and aware of what other schools are doing and keeping on top of what the needs are in seminary education. So I think looking forward we are ahead of the curve in addressing that very specific issue. Our churches want leaders who can lead. So it’s not just what the pastor might know but how he takes what he knows and effectively uses and delivers it to lead the local congregation. Northwest has been bold in trying to address that issue.

I know you are a busy man with many irons in the fire. What are some other Kingdom ventures in which you are currently involved?

I am really excited about what I do now. I’m involved in an executive search firm that focuses on placing senior leaders in faith-based organizations in Canada. This is quite unique within Canada and I take huge pleasure in moving people from success in their current careers to great significance in a faith based not for profit organization. I have never been so busy in the various careers that I have held in the past but I have also never felt that the work that I’ve done as more rewarding!

How can we pray for you?

Pray that I would be able to find and place the right leaders for these key charitable organizations. I have the privilege of being a mentor to a number of younger leaders. Pray that I would be a godly mentor, that I would be an excellent example and that I would finish well!

I am sure there were also challenges that you and the board had to wrestle with. Are there any significant ones that you could share with us? Could you describe for us how such struggles have shaped Northwest’s understanding of and commitment to its mission?

Seminaries in North America have had huge challenges. Seminary attendance nationally is down dramatically – probably 35% from what it was 6 or 7 years ago. It is also an on-going challenge to operate within the ACTS consortium and to satisfy the needs of all the partners there.

Then there is always the great challenge to discern the best methods for training pastors and church leaders – specifically developing lead pastors who will embody great leadership skills. The challenge is also how to do that effectively and affordably. Those I think are significant challenges that the board has had to continually deal with.