Evangel – Fall 2015
[The following is an excerpt from Dr. Helton’s speech at the installation service. Some of the wording has been slightly adapted for publication here.]
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:1–2).
I have before me the boots of Ed Benoit. I don’t need to tell most of you what these boots represent and how they fit the story of Alberta Bible College. Allow these boots today to represent all who have given their effort, resources, and even their lives to make ABC a present reality and as we often say to new leaders: “those are mighty big boots to fill.” Yes, they are and so it is with great respect that I pick up these boots. To follow in the shoes of Charles H. Phillips, Melvin Breakenridge, Boyd Lammiman, and Ronald Fraser, to name but a few, is daunting.
It may come as a surprise that college presidents cannot do anything they want to do—that is, if they wish to lead well. In fact, I work at the pleasure of your board.
What I plan to do—to the best of my ability—is to fulfill the vision our board has laid out for ABC. Allow me to walk you through some of the basic principles we follow.
Our mission statement is:
To equip people for effective service and witness for Christ.
Our board has sharpened this statement in a very strategic direction:
ABC is committed “to be a leader in quality Christian higher education for the equipping of a broad base of students, for effective service within changing social and cultural contexts.”
This statement excites me because it is exactly what I want to be involved in. Three elements of this statement I think need some comment.
We are first of all an educational institution. We strive to provide Quality Christian Higher Education. We are not only concerned about the content of education, but with the outcome, most specifically, that students are transformed into people who serve and witness for Christ … effectively.
Rooted in the traditions of the Restoration Movement, we seek to serve every student who comes through our doors, whether Regular Program students, PACE students, or even church leaders looking for deeper learning or spiritual refreshment. When we speak in terms of a Broad Base of Students, we have in mind students from all three streams of the Restoration Movement, students from other traditions who
are sympathetic to our common Christian beliefs, as well as students who may be learning about Jesus for the first time in their lives. Furthermore, we welcome students from all over the world, both those coming from abroad and those who are second-generation Canadians who spoke something other than English and French growing up. We truly live in a time when God is bringing the nations to us!
I cannot stress how important it is for us to prepare future leaders for Changing Social and Cultural Contexts. Every year Beloit College publishes a list of characteristics for each incoming class of freshmen. Let me give you a sample from this year’s list (for 18 years old who were born in 1997):
- Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
- They have never licked a postage stamp.
- They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.
- Color photos have always adorned the front page of The New York Times.
- Their parents have gone from encouraging them to use the Internet to begging them to get off it.
- If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”
- Teachers have always insisted that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online.
Our world has changed and needs the gospel as much as ever. We need leaders who can help us navigate both the opportunities of our times and the threats. In short, our students need resources that were unimaginable by our founders in 1932, though our mission remains unchanged: to equip people for effective service and witness for Christ.
Finally, as your president, I cannot be successful without your help. If you want to invest in the future by equipping people for effective service and witness for Christ, then join me in doing the following:
- Champion the College. If you like what you see and hear, tell others; if you don’t, tell us first and give us a chance to make it right.
- Connect us with other people who can champion the College. Perhaps you know others that would love to know more about what we are doing here. Introduce us.
- Continue to invest in the development of leaders. Give to the vision of equipping people for effective service and witness. Our churches need it; our world needs it.
As your president, I will work continuously so that ABC does the one thing that God has called us to do: to equip people to become effective servants and witnesses for Christ. So let’s put on our boots and get to work.
Other articles by Dr. Stan Helton:
- Here to Serve
- ABC is Making a Difference
- Why Alberta Bible College?
- Learning Outcomes
- New Enrolment Initiative 10/10/100
- The Most Important Task
- Equipping People Who Equip People
- Understanding the Times
- Those Boots Again
- Accredited Again!
- Strike When the Iron is Hot
- At the Speed of Trust
- We Do This Together
- The Need for Christian Education
- To Dream Again
- A Letter to Our Supporters
- President’s Speech
- First Words