Monthly Archives: April 2014

Alumni in Ministry

It is always exciting to hear about alumni who are doing well in the ministries for which they are called. I was amazed to see a picture of Northwest alum, Geordan Rendle on a giant video screen in New York City’s Times Square as he was being announced for this role as president of Youth for Christ International. I congratulated Geordan recently and he spoke very warmly of his time with Northwest.

A former police officer, Geordan brings a tremendous amount of experience to this role. Having spent much of his youth in Colombia, Geordan brings a particular passion for the international side of YFC. I can’t wait to hear what happens as this iconic evangelical ministry responds to Geordan’s creative and energetic leadership. Geordan is only the 7th president of YFC. Billy Graham was the first!

On a different matter, I would like to call you to prayer for a very specific item pop over to this website. I have recently returned from Montreal where our dean, Howard Andersen, and our board chair, Dennis Wasyliw, travelled with me to meet with the leadership of SemBEQ, our Fellowship Baptist seminary in the province of Quebec. The purpose of our visit was to finalize arrangements such that Northwest could assist SemBEQ by granting its degrees under our charter. This will require an “order in council” from the Quebec government cabinet, something which our lawyer believes is possible, but something that will require our prayer.

You may not know that Quebec is one of the most un-evangelized places in the world, with fewer evangelicals per capita than you would find in a country like Japan. Within that environment, our Fellowship has actually done pretty well. We have 89 healthy churches in the region, largely due to the development of a great number of effective leaders through the ministry of SemBEQ. Unfortunately, our friends have had to work without appropriate authority as there is no way by which they will be allowed to continue to grant their own degrees.

We are working to see this negative become a positive. It is exciting to see how we are coming together – east-west, French-English – around a mutual vision for church-based ministry leadership development. We think that this collaboration could result in something even more positive for the Kingdom than what we have so far seen. Please pray with us.

These continue to be exciting times for Northwest as we see increasing numbers of churches and networks get involved in our Immerse program. I can hardly wait to see what God will do through all of us owning together this great work.

Practising Faith in the Home

I don’t anticipate my children will concoct scientific learning labs in the kitchen to reinforce the Bible passage they’ve read for the day. Nor do I expect that one will stack couch cushions to build the walls of Jericho while the other unearths Dad’s trumpet from his ’80s glory days to blow the wall down. As parents, we desire creative ideas for bringing faith into the home; however only the most imaginative thinkers (with similarly gifted children) will have the time or mental energy to do this.

Children need to know that practising faith is often quiet, reflective, and expressive. But parents and mentors need to make it happen.

On Jan. 17/18, 2014, Northwest hosted the Transform Conference, with Awana Canada and FamilyLife Canada joining as title sponsors. Keynote speaker Mark Holmen, of Faith@Home, shared some distressing statistics.

Although teens say by far the greatest spiritual influencers in their life are their parents,

  • only 27% have experienced either family devotions, prayer or Bible reading within the home,
  • only 28% have talked about faith with their mom,
  • and only 13% with their dad.

Deuteronomy 6:1–25 stresses the importance of remembering the loving commands and provision of the Lord, and impressing them on your children. What does that look like with children? Here are some keep-it-simple strategies.

Read the Bible. Devotionals are great, but they often don’t go beyond morals-based teaching. Reading full Bible passages plants the stories into the child’s mind, allowing children to gain an understanding of the narrative of Scripture, and more importantly, the character, actions, and person of God.

Pray. Prayer should be heartfelt and honest. Teach your children ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. When life is far from simple and we don’t know what to pray for, let your child know the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans (Romans 8:26). Demonstrate that you can write your prayers, draw your prayers, walk or dance your prayers, and pray through music or poetry.

Give. Teach children about tithes and offerings. My sister-in-law has three piggy banks for each of her children labelled “God,” “Savings” and “Spending.” For every dollar earned, each jar gets its designated percentage. If you’re grocery shopping with young children, buy something for the sole purpose of putting it in the food bank box after checking out. From your example, children will learn generosity and that everything they have comes from God.

Memorize Scripture. For some this is easy; others break out in hives at the thought of it! My eldest son can memorize after simply reading a verse, but with my youngest, we make up actions or put the words to a familiar melody. Even if the words aren’t learned perfectly, the truth of the passage will stay in the child’s heart and mind (Proverbs 22:6). God will bring these words to mind when the child needs a particular truth in his or her life.

There are many simple ideas. Do what makes sense to the children you love, and don’t burden yourself with guilt. Join the parents who attended the conference and have already implemented strategies to bring faith into the home. Be relieved to know as one mother commented, “That it’s okay if faith talks occur while driving in the car instead of when eating at the dinner table.” As a pastor I once spoke with stated, “The one thing you do this week is better than the nothing you did last week.”

Then watch the Spirit work in the life of your family. Whether life presents joys or tribulations, the value of practicing and teaching faith in the home will be felt as you “soar on wings like eagles” (Is. 40:31) or “take refuge in the shadow of his wings” (Ps. 57:1).

And once you start, you may soon find yourself encouraging another family to likewise bring faith into their home.

A version of this article first appeared in the MB Herald.

Northwest Board of Governors Awards

What makes Northwest the special training institution that it is today? Alongside the grace and provision of God – it is the people that God has directed to be involved with the school throughout its 80 year history. Many men and women have faithfully and passionately served the Fellowship and Northwest over the years, and recently two such people were given special recognition.

This past fall Northwest’s current board chair, Dennis Wasyliw, along with the president, Kent Anderson and the dean, Howard Andersen traveled together to make formal presentations of The Board of Governers Award to two longstanding board members. This award states that it is given in recognition of long service to and interest in the work of ministry leadership development through Northwest.

The two recipients of this award were Anne Thompson and David Fairbrother.

David Fairbrother

David FairbrotherDavid knew his calling to ministry early in life and went on to develop a long list of achievements in his service to God and to the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in British Columbia. Over a period of more than 40 years, David’s life and ministry has been unassuming and quiet, faithful and diligent, assertive and effective in his service of the Gospel. During those years he pastored a number of BC churches including Central Baptist in Prince George, Richmond Baptist in Richmond, and Emmanuel Baptist in Vernon. David also served with distinction as President of the Fellowship, giving effective leadership to the entire movement of churches in this region.

David’s direct service to Northwest was also substantive. A distinguished graduate of the school, he served several terms on the Board of Governors beginning in the late 1970’s through to the late 1990’s.

David’s work was also indispensable in the construction of the Northwest building on the Trinity Western University campus. He had a remarkable gift for fundraising and put this to good use on the Interim Capital Fundraising Committee of the Board of Governors, and also as the Director of Development for the college and seminary. This fruitful effort allowed for the accumulation of the capital necessary for the construction of the building. Since the building was sold, the funds David raised now provide the greater portion of the Northwest endowment funds. Those endowments provide substantially for the ongoing ministry of the seminary and its service to students and churches.

David is also known for his love of wife and family. In the last several years especially, Dave and Virginia have spent countless hours with their children and grandchildren in all kinds of family gatherings. They have spent time on excursions and walks, allowing opportunity to admire God’s great handiwork displayed in creation. Even during these latter years, David has displayed a keen interest and ongoing service to the work of our seminary and our Fellowship.

We are grateful to David for his lifetime of labour for the Lord through which the work of the seminary has been able to flourish. By this commendation, we affirm the ongoing blessing of his service to Northwest Baptist Seminary and to the churches that we together serve. We are thankful to God for his dedication and commitment, trusting that his example might inspire others to the same.

Anne Thompson

Anne ThompsonAnne joined the Northwest Board in 1977. This was an exciting, but challenging time for Northwest. The new seminary division was only two-three years old, enrolment challenges were critical, and leadership changes were occurring. Anne was a wonderful proponent for the Preschool training program that Northwest pioneered. She also had a strong commitment to developing well-trained pastoral leaders.

With only a few years of sabbatical, Anne served as a member of the Northwest Board from 1977 – 2007, often contributing to the board executive committee, and specifically as chairperson from 2000 to 2007.

No matter what challenges Northwest faced, Anne encouraged the leaders, praying faithfully for the staff, students and faculty. Anne expressed her heart-commitments with practical actions and in the case of Northwest this included generous gifts of her wisdom, time and professional skill, as well as significant financial support for Northwest’s ministry.

She knew what leadership required, being a teacher and filling various administrative roles in various elementary schools. She was passionate about developing effective ministry leaders who could galvanize congregations around robust Christian vision. She also insisted upon excellence within the board and within the various educational programs.

As chair Anne led the board to connect with In Trust and through their board mentoring programs she oversaw significant internal board development, which in turn gave great strength to Northwest institutionally. She understood the relationship between a strong board and a vital Seminary.

Anne’s contribution to the Northwest board spanned 30 years. By this commendation, we affirm the blessing of her service on behalf of Northwest Baptist Seminary, a service which continues to bear rich fruit today in the Seminary’s life and ministry. We are thankful to God for her faithful, wise leadership.

Professionally Anne taught and served as principal for many years within the Vancouver School system at Queen Mary Elementary, Carnarvon Elementary and Vancouver Hebrew Academy, a Jewish elementary school.

She and her husband Ken serve as volunteer leaders within Oakridge Fellowship Baptist Church. Through their leadership they have developed and overseen many different aspects of that church’s life and ministry in the community.

 

Theology Boot Camps for Christian Growth

As summertime approaches, many people look forward to camping, fishing trips, and hiking excursions. These retreats into the great outdoors can be enjoyable if you have the proper equipment and training. A simple overnight camping trip can turn into a nightmare if you forget the tent (or the coffee for some). Likewise, if your ‘theological gear’ is a little rusty, or you would rather stay indoors, consider coming to an Instructional Seminar. Northwest Baptist Seminary and Fellowship Pacific offer four instructional seminars per year. Each seminar includes two-days of learning, practical teaching, and group interaction. “You get to hear from the best on certain topics” remarks Glory Destura from Burnett Fellowship. Another benefit is the level “of interaction with students and the presenters,” says Wes Parker from Dunbar Heights.

Going on a canoe trip around Bowron Lake is more physically challenging than sitting in class, but don’t let the lack of a physical challenge fool you. These seminars are challenges for the mind and spirit. They are like theological boot camps for Christian growth. Chris Goodall from Sardis Fellowship is “impressed with the depth of knowledge that each of the professors has shown while teaching us. They listen, correct, encourage, and expand on our attempts at answering questions. I have never been made to feel inadequate no matter how long it takes for the light to go on.” Prepare yourself for a journey into the theology of the Trinity (often spoken of, but rarely explored). Embark on an expedition into the world of prophetic literature. Journey to ancient Israel and learn from their wisdom literature.

To register for an upcoming instructional seminar, go to www.nbseminary.ca/grow. Each seminar is $95 or $295 for a four seminar package. Twelve seminars on various topics are offered on a three-year cycle. The next 4 seminars are listed in the poster below.

Learning theology and its application are significant pieces of gear for the journey of life. “Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives,” says J.I. Packer. He aptly notes, “disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you” (from the book Knowing God). So take your ‘gear’ (flashlight optional) and embark on a two-day theological boot camp and prepare yourself for ministry and personal growth. You will undoubtedly leave a changed person.

 

Interview with an Immerse Student

Two and a half years ago Northwest began a unique way to develop our most promising leaders for the future of our Fellowship, our local churches and for His glory. Currently, we have almost 30 students in Immerse! I had the opportunity to catch up with one of them – Paul Park from Coquitlam, BC. Here is what I discovered…

Tell me a little about yourself…

Paul ParkI was born and raised in a Christian family and my father has been in ministry since before I was born. So, I got to see what ministry looks like from a young age, and I was determined that I would never make that choice. But here I am, in the Immerse program and apprenticing at South Delta Baptist Church to become a pastor! God led me in His typically amazing way and brought me to embrace my calling… or His calling. Before I entered the Immerse program, I was an English teacher teaching both high school students and adults. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, but now I am embarking on a career path that may be even more rewarding that I ever imagined.

You are one of our current Immerse students and being mentored by several people –  what does that mean to you?

I am currently being mentored by Colin van der Kuur, Larry Perkins, Paul Johnson and Jeremy Johnson. I went through a similar multi-dimensional apprenticeship when I was at UBC in the Bachelor of Education program. While I was out at practicum, I worked alongside three mentors who helped me hone my skills as an English teacher. This experience in Immerse feels very similar. I am extremely thankful for the mentors that I have because they all contribute so much in helping me learn to do ministry with excellence. Ministry itself is so multi-dimensional, so it completely makes sense to have multiple mentors. Each mentor brings something different to the table, and this leads to a more wholesome experience.

You and your local church started a new church with the Tsawwassen First Nations about five and half years ago. That’s exciting! Tell me more about this.

The Korean church (GKMC) where I am originally from began helping people in need on the TFN Reservation about six years ago. We were using the old church building on the reserve that was built in 1904 to distribute food from the South Delta Food Bank. When we saw that the church was no longer being used to house worship services, and that there was a community that needed to hear the gospel, we began to pray for something to happen on the TFN reserve. God graciously led us to plant a Sunday evening service five and a half years ago, and I feel like we’re still in the progress of planting a church.

Currently you are the Pastor Apprentice at South Delta Baptist and involved in our Immerse program. How does this partnership work? Tell me about your current role and duties?

I am grateful to be at South Delta Baptist Church as a Pastor Apprentice. Pastor Paul Johnson and Pastor Jeremy Johnson are my mentors for the Immerse program, so SDBC’s involvement in this partnership with NBS to train me as a ministry leader is quite significant. I currently help with the hospitality part of the church and I teach ESL/Bible Study to the Korean community at South Delta. I also continue to serve as a pastor for the church in Tsawwassen First Nations.

Thank you for your financial support for students like Paul. If you would like more information on giving to Northwest or about Immerse, please contact me:  Ron Sing, Director of Development at: 250-240-3737. You can also give directly online to support our students >> click here.

You can contact Ron via this form:
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