It all started last summer with three emphases leaders at the College felt were important for this academic year. President Higashi sensed that we need to focus on “Loving The Bible More and More”; Dean of Academic Development Dr. Mark Kelley sensed we should challenge all our students to “re-listen” and see if God might be calling them to vocational ministry; and newly appointed Dean of Student Services, Gary Matsdorf, sensed the need to encourage the students this year to be more involved in a local church as part of their spiritual formation and ministry experience while studying at NHCC.
All three emphases came together on September 22-23 during the Fall 2015 Spiritual Leadership Conference as the students, staff and faculty gathered in Stewart Chapel to spend “two mornings with God” and hear input from three seasoned pastors.
Dr. Jeremy Wallace, Dean of Canby Bible College (Foursquare) in Canby, OR, shared Tuesday morning as both an academician and pastor. He challenged us with objective bases for what loving the Bible means and why we should love it (including the fact that as Christ-followers we should learn to love what Jesus loves and He loves Scripture) and with subjective bases for loving Scripture (including sharing his personal journey with coming to love the Bible more and more and an openness about his dichotomous struggle that resonated with everyone, “I want to spend time in the Word today…I don’t want to spend time in the Word today”).
Pastor Sol Rexius, College Pastor at University Fellowship, Eugene, OR, began Wednesday morning sharing his personal story of his call from the business world to vocational ministry. He then reminded us that all Christ-followers “are in full-time ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-13), but some are indeed called to “vocational ministry” and every student at NHCC needs to ask God if that’s them. He then gave an in-depth exegesis and application of Psalm 67, noting that God’s heart is to use each member of His Church to influence all peoples to accept Christ and to live to praise God…and that divine desire might mean a “vocational call” for students who at this point aren’t sure.
Pastor Tim Zakarian, Lead Pastor at Waypoint Community Church (Open Bible), Thurston, OR, concluded Wednesday morning with an encouraging and yet challenging exhortation to the students to get involved in ministry NOW through a local Eugene area church and to hear and follow God’s calling on their life NOW. Woven into his input were his personal journey from being an unchurched fourteen year old in Southern California to enrolling at Eugene Bible College to noting highlights of his journey in vocational ministry since graduating.
Each day concluded with students spending thirty minutes “processing” what they’d heard in small groups and another thirty minutes reporting back to everyone what they’d discussed. There is little doubt that God spoke to and challenged hearts. It was all part of the College moving forward through seasoned academicians and ministry practioners so as to help students wed academic development in the classroom with personal spiritual formation and ministry experience through College chapels and involvement and discipleship in the local church.