Author Archives: Kajle Radbourne

Notice of Upcoming ATS site visit

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is the accrediting agency for Theological Schools in Canada and the US. Northwest Baptist Seminary holds both an accreditation with ATS for its programs offered through the ACTS consortium and an accreditation independently for our Immerse and Korean-language programming. As part of maintaining this accreditation, Northwest is currently preparing a self-study report in advance of an evaluation visit by the accrediting agency. One of our requirements is to let all our constituents know that this site visit will be happening in early Spring and invite your comments or concerns regarding our qualification for accreditation.

We are open to receiving your comments and concerns. If you have any comments or questions about this process, please let us know by e-mailing dianne@nbseminary.ca. Please send any comments prior to the New Year.

Thank you for working with us.

3rd Annual Immerse Graduation

This fall, Northwest hosted its 3rd Immerse graduation in partnership with Fellowship Pacific. Immerse graduations are a particularly special time because they represent the culmination of not only the graduate’s journey but also the cumulative work of Northwest, Fellowship Pacific and local church mentors. To steal a phrase, it takes a village to raise a leader. At graduation, the village comes together to celebrate. So congratulations to the villages of Garry Firth (Meeting Place), Luis Orjuela (Okanagan Hispanic Baptist Church), Jeffrey Scott (Ladner Baptist Church), Steve Vandop (Departure Bay Baptist Church), and Tommy Wong (Oakridge Baptist Church).

This year’s convocation was particularly special as two students from partner networks also walked the stage. Mark Evans became the first graduate from Fellowship Prairies, completing his training at Fellowship Baptist Church in Edmonton. Lindsay Myers is the 7th graduate through the 17:6 Network in Fort Worth, TX. She completed her studies at Church in the Valley in Alhambra, CA. She is the first 17:6 Network graduate to travel north to come and celebrate the occasion with us.

To date, there have been 22 Immerse graduates from four different partner networks. Nearly all of those graduates are currently serving in the roles or ministries for which they trained.  Northwest now offers Immerse in partnership with 11 different networks and this fall has 60 students enrolled in the program. 109 mentors guide those students who are serving in 34 different churches or ministry contexts.

It does take a village to raise a leader, and we are so thankful to all of those who are partnering in this work. 

CBTE 2018 A Success

For two days in November, Northwest played host to the first ever International Conference on Competency-Based Theological Education (CBTE 2018). Thanks to a grant awarded to Northwest by the Association of Theological Schools as part of the Educational Models and Practices Forum, supported by the Lily Endowment, Northwest was able to draw in a broad range of experts from the wider world of competency-based education and from theological education in particular.

In 2011 Northwest became the first seminary in North America to begin experimenting with Competency-Based Theological Education (CBTE), only we didn’t know it at the time. While it took some time to identify the language and relationship to the Competency-Based Education movement occurring elsewhere in higher education, Northwest’s Immerse program has been centred around the values that have become core to the emerging CBTE movement, right from the start. The central values are that students train for ministry by being involved in ministry in the context of the local church, students utilize the learning opportunities their ministry presents at a pace that works for them, students are overseen by mentors in a program that is individually designed, and the program is delivered in partnership between the school, the church, and the denomination. When Northwest began to partner with Fellowship Pacific to outline what would eventually become the Immerse program, we had no idea that this would be the beginning of something completely new and significant in theological education. We just knew we needed to be better at serving our churches.

Jump forward seven years. The ideas behind the Immerse program have been rapidly gaining credence in the broader world of theological education. Northwest, Fellowship Pacific, and their program have garnered significant interest from a wide variety of groups who felt a similar need to serve their ministries better. It was clear that there was a broad-based interest in CBTE throughout North America. When the opportunity arose to pursue a grant that would fund a conference, we knew we had to try to provide something that would shepherd this emerging movement well. 

The landscape has changed since 2011. First of all, Northwest isn’t the only school with an active CBTE program. For a number of years, we have recognized a kindred institution in Sioux Falls Seminary, based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Their CBTE-based “Kairos” program launched In 2014. Additionally, Grace College and Seminary in Indiana consulted with both Northwest and Sioux Falls when designing their “Deploy” program which launched in January of this year. 

When seeking speakers and topics for the CBTE Conference, Northwest drew from the leaders, experience, and expertise in these schools, as well as our own. In addition, we eagerly welcomed speakers from the Competency-Based Education Network, experts in the field of CBE. We also had the opportunity to expose our conference attendees to the strength of our partnerships with Fellowship Pacific, other network partners, and our students, as representatives from each of these led or participated in breakout sessions and panel discussions. 

The results were as much a success as possible. The 120 conference attendees filled the venue and represented organizations from all over North America and beyond. In total, 70 organizations were represented coming from 5 provinces, 25 states and even Brazil, Guatemala, and Australia. Because one of the values of CBTE is partnership with the ministry organization seeking to train their future leaders, we were excited that only one-third of these organizations were other graduate-level theological institutions. Another twenty-six percent of participating organizations were undergraduate-level schools. Additionally, twenty-nine percent were missional organizations such as churches, denominations, missions or para-church organizations. 

Of the organizations that attended, nearly half indicated they were in the process of developing CBTE programs and nearly a third had just recently heard about CBTE and came to learn more. This suggests to us that, as successful as the first conference was, the groundswell is only just beginning. Something big is happening in theological education and Northwest is at the forefront of it. The excitement at the conference was palpable. It was clear to all those in attendance that this was only the first step towards what is to come. With nearly two-thirds of organizations in attendance being represented by only one conference attendee, we expect that a follow-up conference could easily have double the attendance. 

So what happens next? Throughout the planning and the conference itself, we at Northwest were clear that CBTE was no longer just a Northwest thing. We are now serving the greater Kingdom. At the same time, it is important to us that we remain at the forefront of this wave. Following the conference, Northwest hosted a meeting of those institutions most engaged with CBTE. The aim of this meeting was to organize together to help set the direction for the fledging CBTE movement for the sake of the Kingdom. The result was a commitment to work together in continuing to research, demonstrate, and promote CBTE to both theological education and missional institutions as well as plan to hold more conferences in the future. It was clear that all at the table were as passionate about training leaders in context as we are. Northwest may have been the first out of the blocks, but we are no longer running alone. We are engaging together with other groups, and more are joining the race every day. We feel a responsibility to help however we can and steward this movement for the betterment of the Kingdom.

One way we will do that is through a new venture being undertaken with partners Sioux Falls Seminary and tech company Pathwright. Together with Northwest, these groups will form a new company called Symporus. Powered by the Pathwright technology platform, Symporus will serve schools and missional organizations by providing tech services capable of hosting a CBTE program. Additionally, Symporus will draw on the expertise of both Sioux Falls and Northwest to provide a whole host of CBTE related consulting and services including program design and even customized, credit-bearing degrees. We believe this partnership will enable Northwest to continue to maximize the experience we have gained for the benefit of the Kingdom while allowing us to continue to prioritize our core mission of training leaders for the Fellowship.

As we witnessed over 120 people gather to learn more about CBTE it was clear a lot has changed since 2011. And yet, our heart has not. We are still passionate about training leaders in the best way we can. And we are always grateful to our constituents and partners for not only pushing us to do that better every day but for being fully engaged with us every step of the way. 

Q&A with Association for Biblical Higher Education President

In the lead up to the first International Conference on Competency-Based Theological Education  (CBTE) which Northwest is hosting in November, Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) President Dr. Ralph Enlow has been posting a series of interviews Northwest president Kent Anderson and Director of CBTE Ruth McGillivray.

If you want to learn more about CBTE and the role that Northwest is taking with it, the first two installments of the interview are available on Dr. Enlow’s blog (links below).

Part 1
Part 2

Articles by Northwest Staff Featured by ATS

The pioneering work accomplished in Northwest’s Immerse has given NBS the opportunity to take a leadership role in the emerging field of Competency-Based Theological Education. One such opportunity is hosting the first International Conference in CBTE in November. As interest continues to be generated, articles about CBTE are being written by Northwest staff and featured by other agencies. One such article, written by NBS’ Director of Competency-Based Education Ruth McGillivray was featured in ATS’ online magazine.

The mentor’s dilemma: tips for assessing “soft” competencies in Competency-Based Theological Education (CBTE)

Kyle is a theology professor at a seminary that has recently implemented a competency-based MDiv program. He has a decade of experience teaching traditional, semester-based courses at the post-secondary level, and another decade taking them. But his role in this new program is different. Instead of teaching courses in his specialty area to a new group of students each term, he’s now the academic advisor on a cross-functional mentor team guiding one student through her whole degree. Not only does he also evaluate how well she

articulates understanding and critical thinking on theological concepts, but he also looks at how she applies them in her daily life and work. In addition, he’s responsible to oversee her development in disciplines outside his specialty and assess whether or not she has mastered competencies like humility, faith, hope, and culture.

This presents a dilemma for Kyle, as well as for the ministry and practitioner mentors on his three-person team. Each has an individual sense of what it means to be humble or have hope, but how do they articulate what mastery of humility or hope looks like for assessment purposes? To complicate things further, Kyle oversees two other students in this new program and, in that capacity, is on three different mentor teams. Even if one team reaches consensus on what mastery looks like, he has to navigate the same waters with the other two teams. How does he assess his three students consistently if each team arrives at a different definition?

(read the rest of the article here)

Kent Anderson, Integrative Preaching

Northwest News: Congratulations on the publication of your new book. What led to you writting this particular book?

Kent: I have been teaching this integrated preaching approach for 25 years and I felt it was time to put it into print. I wanted to produce a full comprehensive statement on this particular approach to preaching and I was given an opportunity to do that.
It goes back to my pastoral days when I started discovering some new thinking around preaching that emphasized things like narrative and the heart instead of the head. I was intrigued by all the things I was reading but felt a sense that it was a bit of a pendulum swing. I knew there was a better way to go about it and embrace some of these new things without having to give up my heritage in expository preaching and handling a text well. This integrative approach seemed to be something that needed to be done. It needed to be written and articulated well and offered to my students and to the world.

Northwest: This is now your fourth book. How does it differ from the other three?

Kent: In some ways, it is just a progression. My last book, called Choosing to Preach, was more of a map of the landscape of preaching as it existed 10 or 12 years ago. The final chapter of that book offered my sense of where things needed to go – which is to integrate all of the various portions of the map. So this is my opportunity to offer a full statement on that particular way of thinking about preaching.

So in Choosing, we focused on these four different possibilities and what I’m suggesting is that we try to integrate all of them.

Northwest: Who did you write this book for?

Kent: It’s obviously written for my students but pastors, leaders – anybody who finds themselves persuasively communicating the word of God to groups of people, whatever that looks like – it could be helpful for them.

Northwest: What do you want readers of the book to walk away with?

Kent: I want them to go away with a couple things. One, a fresh sense of what it actually means to preach. That we’re not the preachers. God is the one who is speaking in the world. He’s making Himself known and His will known. He speaks into the world and we just have the privilege of helping others hear. So I like to think of preaching as leading in listening to God as the one who speaks, while we are the ones who listen, we take a leadership role in that respect. So I’m hoping readers will gain a healthy perspective on what it is to preach.

And then secondly, I’m hoping they will come away with a really solid integrated model. Something they can work with and go to when they are faced with the task of trying to help people hear what God is saying in his word. It is a very practical book. The theology and the theory are at the beginning but then there is an actual methodology being offered.

Northwest Continuing to Step Into New Opportunities

If I have learned anything over the last few years, it is that the world of higher education is changing. The classroom paradigms that trained you and I have changed dramatically and nowhere is that more evident than here at Northwest. Our move to establish the Immerse program a number of years ago has put us in the forefront of a movement in “competency-based theological education.” Northwest is now widely acknowledged as the innovative leader among seminaries looking to do a better job at serving their churches and constituencies.

In witness to this, Northwest was given a grant from the Lilly Endowment to offer the first ever International Conference on Competency-Based Theological Education. We will be welcoming leaders from across North America to downtown Vancouver on November 5-6, 2018 for this ground-breaking event. We see this not only as an opportunity to deepen Northwest’s leadership position in the field, but also to advance the Kingdom through leading others to improve the way by which we develop people for ministry.

One of the exciting areas of recent development for Northwest has been in the area of technology. Our educational vision relies upon sophisticated online tools that allow us to extend our reach and empower students and mentors in their context. God has led us to form relationships with some wonderful like-minded partners in this field who are helping us achieve another level in our work.

Just this past week, we spent a week in Colombia, South America where we were able to move to form our first cohort of Colombian students for the Immerse program. This will be our first major initiative outside of North America and it is very exciting to see how the values and practices we have pioneered at home can be powerful for other parts of the world.

Keep praying with us around our desire to purchase and develop property for our home offices. As you know, this has been a major challenge for us, as we are severely squeezed in our current offices. While we are making progress on this item, we still require your prayers. I am hopeful that we will be able to report something very soon.

Thanks again for your interest and your support. Your prayers make these good things possible. We are deeply grateful.

Immerse Influence Rising Like A Flood

One year ago, we celebrated the first graduate from our Immerse program along with our partners in Fellowship Pacific. Last month, 7 more Immerse graduates crossed the stage. And these graduates are not mere numbers, they are trained and dedicated servants of our King who are already placed and serving full-time as leaders in our churches. We are so excited to see this program take root in our core constituency. Our Fellowship Pacific iteration of the Immerse program is nearing capacity and we have 28 students serving in 21 ministries being served by a group of 50 mentors.
But as proud as we are of our work with our closest partner; the Fellowship Pacific iteration of Immerse represents just the tip of the iceberg. The revolution in theological education that Immerse represents has catapulted our little seminary into a position to influence and serve a much wider group.
By the end of this calendar year, President Anderson will have traveled to graduations in California, Columbia, Montreal and here in the Lower Mainland. Combined, the various Immerse iterations have graduated 16 students – each of these fully equipped for ministry leadership. These 16 represent the first-fruits of what appears to be a bountiful harvest.
As of this Fall, there are now 11 iterations of the Immerse program running and we are working closely with a number of other groups in anticipation of launching with them soon. Additionally, your seminary has had the opportunity to take a leadership role in helping other seminaries, churches, and networks move toward a more effective and efficient way of developing leaders.

7 students graduated from the Antioch Program iteration of Immerse. This iteration is a partnership with the 17:6 network of churches in Texas and California

To help step into this growing opportunity, NBS has applied for and received a grant from ATS to host a conference for innovators in Competency-Based Theological Education. We are also mobilizing members of our team to develop tools and expertise in order to be more intentional in cultivating the consulting relationships that have been developed. Currently, we are consulting with several U.S. based seminaries and a major denomination’s accrediting division to help them realize their vision for integrated content and leadership development. We are working with multiple partners to begin to develop undergrad versions of Immerse as well as an international version that our missionaries can utilize in training national workers to lead indigenous churches. But these opportunities to bear fruit from what we have learned and developed in Immerse transcend schools and denominations. In addition to all of these, we are regularly being contacted by new groups interested in learning from the work that we have been doing. These conversations have led to some very interesting opportunities with a wide range of organizations.

Andrés Rincón will graduate from Immerse in October in Columbia.

We recently helped the Colson Center (founded and named after Chuck Colson) redevelop the program and tech platform they use as part of their Colson Fellows program. The Colson Fellows is a national program that trains mid-career professionals in worldview and cultural studies to help them be more intentional in their professional environments and in the political sphere. We are looking to offer this type of service to many groups involved in adult education and discipleship through partnership with others. This work with Colson Fellows was the first of many we hope to make building on both our technology platform and the Immerse methodology.
While we are excited to move into new areas and have a wider influence, the core of our mission at Northwest is not the breadth of our work, but the depth. With each new partnership we enter, we are encouraged to see how we can assist in helping other organizations accomplish the mission that God has given them.
Northwest Baptist Seminary exists to serve the Church – whether here in B.C., across the continent or across the world. We are both excited and humbled to have these opportunities to enable others to launch into mentor-based, on-the-ground leadership development. But even more so, we are fortunate to have such a strong base of support allowing us to pursue our mission of creating “context-based solutions for ministry applications.” Thank you for supporting your seminary and please pray for us as we continue to press toward where God is calling us in equipping others.

What a wonderful experience we had with the first Antioch Immerse graduation last month. The time we had with the management team was also very encouraging. Your vision and dedication to training the next generation of leaders is inspiring and I’m honored to be part of it.
As you know, I have participated in scores of Masters hooding ceremonies in my 26 years of teaching in multiple graduate degree programs. I have personally hooded hundreds of students earning degrees related to the professional practice of counseling and ministry. In none of those instances did it enter my mind as I placed the hood on a student that they were indeed now ready to actually do what their degree supposedly equipped them to do. To be honest, many of them I hooded with my fingers crossed.
I had the opposite experience hooding the graduates of Antioch Immerse. With each student, I was very confident that the degree matched their readiness to do ministry. And I actually felt that as we were hooding them and thought this is as it should be!
Nathan Lewis, Ed.D.
Professor of Psychology, California Baptist University
Lead Academic Mentor, Antioch Project Immerse

I want to add my appreciation for the quality of the platform, the way you have captured the best ways to facilitate our needs, and now the way you are serving and equipping the Fellows. Your expertise is clear but your servant hearts and actions are the biggest blessings of all.
Many thanks for your ministry to us!
Bill Brown, Ph.D
Head Fellow, Colson Fellows Program

Integrative Preaching – Dr. Kent Anderson

For many years, Dr. Anderson has been developing his Integrative preaching model and has been using it to teach homiletics to his students at ACTS and Northwest Baptist Seminary. Now that model forms the basis of Dr. Anderson’s fourth book, Integrative Preaching.

Integrative Preaching offers a compelling conceptual model of biblical preaching that helps preachers better understand what they are doing when they step into the pulpit. Kenton Anderson, an experienced preacher and professor, explicates the integrative preaching model he has been honing for a lifetime. His fresh, holistic approach aims at whole-person transformation and is well suited for contemporary listeners. The book includes theoretical underpinnings and practical guidance to both instruct students and motivate working preachers. Sample sermons show how the model unfolds in actual sermons.

For more information please visit Baker Publishing Group or Dr. Anderson’s website, preaching.org.

What people are saying about Integrative Preaching:

“Integration is all about bringing things together. In his book Integrative Preaching, Kent Anderson brings together fascinating insights, drawn from years of experience as a preacher and teacher, in crafting a sermon model that is both cross-centered and transformative in nature. This is a book that will be of value to both novice preachers and veteran communicators.”

Michael Duduit, executive editor, Preaching magazine; dean, Clamp Divinity School, Anderson University

“Anderson has found the right balance between proclamation that is bold and proclamation that is appropriately humble. The world lacks both, and in his person as well as his homiletical theory, Anderson models for us a manner of proclamation that is ripe for our current age. The wisdom contained in these pages will not only strengthen those of us who preach, but more importantly make the message of the One we proclaim more accessible and livable.”

Javier A. Viera, dean and professor of pastoral theology, Drew University Theological School

“Kent Anderson reminds preachers of an intentional cross-shaped approach to understanding and implementing integrative preaching–and application. God the Preacher speaks through us as we communicate his Word to others, and Anderson widens the lens of sermon preparation for us, enabling preachers to take in a richer appreciation for this important task.”

Scott M. Gibson, Haddon W. Robinson Professor of Preaching and Ministry, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“Too many books on preaching force us to choose between unhelpful binaries: head or heart, reason or imagination, theory or practice, divine or human agency. Not so with Integrative Preaching.Kenton Anderson sets us free from these homiletical entrapments. This book informs and inspires. It is theoretical and practical. It presses preachers to engage the mind and touch the heart. It challenges us to grow in the task of preaching and to rest in the divine assurance that God is the real Preacher who promises to be with us as we preach.”

Jared E. Alcántara, associate professor of homiletics, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; author of Learning from a Legend: What Gardner C. Taylor Can Teach Us about Preaching

“In this new resource for preaching, Kent Anderson speaks to those of us who want to give the best of Holy Scripture–and of movemental change now–to our congregations. We are reminded that our learning outcome is formation and true discipleship–preaching is one important means and not the end. Let us all pray for the impact of this powerful new book!”

Graham Singh, executive director, Church Planting Canada; rector, St. Jax Montreal

“Integration brings wholeness to fragmented parts. That’s what Kent Anderson’s new book does for preaching. Most importantly, he connects preaching to God’s great purposes: “God is at work. There is a trajectory to history. The world and all that is within is moving toward God’s eternal purpose. That purpose has culminated in the cross. When we preach, we embrace that purpose. Our proclamation places us within the flow of movement God has propelled.” If that were the only uplifting and renewing truth, it would make this book worthwhile. But he thoughtfully connects each of the multiple parts of sermon preparation and delivery to this ultimate goal. The result is a hope-filled and energizing tutorial for all who seek to refresh and renew their calling to preach more effectively.”