Friday, February 27, 2009

PIBC Objective #2 - Christian Character

I start every class I teach by saying that you should not study the Bible unless you are willing to submit to it and let the Spirit use the Word of God to change you. God holds us accountable for what we know about Him. Thus, it is not enough to know God's Word, we need to live it. So, helping our students build character that reflects growth into the image of Christ is a key objective at PIBC. As Paul said, "If I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge... but have not love, I am nothing."

Christian Character: Through the staff and faculty relationships, as well as the curriculum, we challenge our students to embrace responsible and accountable lifestyles that reflect a passion for the kingdom of God. We emphasize not only personal character development but also a commitment to issues surrounding justice, righteousness, mercy, and grace in culture and society. Toward this end our students are involved in community service activities, discipleship groups, prison ministry, and class work which emphasizes ethics and corporate responsibility --

  • that the student will cultivate a lifestyle that honors Christ and is based on the message of scripture.
  • that the student will internalize a biblical value system that produces Christ-like character, decisions, and actions.
  • that the student will be prepared for life as an individual capable of making well-reasoned and informed choices about values, goals, and careers.
  • that the student will demonstrate responsible service and leadership within the context of clan, family, and culture.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Objectives of PIBC - Relationship With God

At PIBC we believe that education and personal transformational growth begin with the "fear of the Lord." Thus we begin our list of objectives of PIBC with a deepening and growing relationship with God.

Relationship with God: Through the staff and faculty relationships, as well as the curriculum, we nurture the spiritual life of our students. We do this through the dorm activities and devotional rhythm of campus life, times of spiritual emphasis and retreat, discipleship groups, the emphasis on personal application that is a part of all classes, classes that are devoted especially to spiritual formation, school sponsored mission trips, worship, chapel services, and through deans and chaplains whose primary responsibility is spiritual formation --

  • that the student will grow in a loving relationship with God that overflows into Christ-like concern for people and the local and global communities around them.
  • that the student will be exposed to and develop positive habits in the practices of the Christian disciplines including worship, prayer, personal devotions, and giving.
  • that the student will be encouraged to live as a part of the gathered body of Christ by affiliation with a local congregation during and after his or her college experience

Our goal is that our graduates leave PIBC as people who have encountered God and are able to minister Christ to others out of their own experience of Him here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Board Meeting #2 - Vision and Mission

On the second day of the board meeting last week the board moved forward from the preliminary discussions of the first day. Every year the board reviews the mission statement of the school in order to determine if this is still the direction that God is leading us. This year it was especially important, because for the first time PIBC is no longer just a Bible college, with the addition of a seminary offering a graduate degree - Master of Arts in Religion. TRACS, our accrediting agency had already told us that we needed to consider changing our mission and our school name to reflect this widened mission.

Our administrative council and the executive committee of the board had been working for several months on the needed changes. After much reflection, prayer and discussion the board adopted the following vision statement which explains what we desire PIBC to be and mission statement which explains the main thing that we, as PIBC, desire to do......

PIBC exists to provide accessible, excellent, transformational Christian higher education and ministry training to the people of Micronesia, the Pacific islands, and to the ends of the earth. As such, our mission is to prepare men and women with a biblical worldview for leadership and service in life, work, and ministry in the global community and the church.

In future posts I will talk about the objectives the board adopted that explain how we plan to fulfill these vision and mission statements.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

End of February Prayer Requests

It is hard to believe that we are already almost to the end of February. We are already well into the Spring semester at PIBC. We know that many of you who read this blog are praying for Joyce and I regularly, and we appreciate it very much. It seems to me after many years of teaching that February-March are the hardest months to get through for schools. I don't know why, but often it seems that both the faculty and the students lose their focus. So I would appreciate very much your prayers for us as we get through the next couple months and then head into the final leg of the 2008-9 school year. Here are some specific requests you could be praying for us.

  • PIBC is in our accreditation reaffirmation year. We will be receiving a visit from a TRACS team in mid-May. This means we need to complete our Self-Study (a huge undertaking) near the end of February. Please pray that we can do a good job with this and get it done on time.
  • I am working on the self-study, trying to implement the new board directives (more on this in the next post) and teaching one senior undergrad class (Exegesis in Genesis) and one seminary class (OT Survey). Joyce is teaching one PIBC English class, three English classes at the Japanese school and taking three PIBC classes. Please pray that we can get all this done and come out OK at the end of the semester. ;)
  • We need to fill several positions at our various PIBC sites. Please pray that God brings in the right people to fill these ministries for us by this summer. If you are interested in being the answer to one of these prayers please email me.
  1. Academic Vice President
  2. Executive Administrator
  3. Business Manager Guam
  4. Administrator for Tol, Chuuk Teaching Facility
  5. Remedial English Program Teacher/Administrator Chuuk
  6. Weno Teaching Facility Administrator
  • Pray for Joyce and I that we will continue to grow in our relationship to God, to each other and with the people we work with and minister to.
We appreciate your prayers for our ministry. We are thankful that God's work is in God's hands, and they are good hands. As the LORD said to Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Board Meeting Day #1

This past week we just completed the annual PIBC board of trustees meeting. This year it was held at the Guam United Methodist Church which is just a short drive down Route 15 (the back road to Andersen Air Force Base) from our campus. Our business manager Cheryl Boydston is the secretary there and Fred Agtarap, their pastor is an adjunct teacher in our seminary. The first day of the meeting was mainly discussion of the school's vision and a time to get hold of the big picture. Probably the most important item of business for the first day was the installation of Mary Johnson as a new board member (pictured left). Mary was our English teacher and Academic VP before she took a job with her denomination (the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) and is the wife of the local ELCA church pastor Jeff Johnson. The Guam Lutheran Church has been a very solid supporter of PIBC since the Johnsons arrived about 5 years ago. I am very excited to have Mary on board as a board member. She has a great deal of educational expertise and experience which will be of great benefit to the school. It will also be nice to have another local person on our executive committee for me to go to for advice and bounce ideas off of.

The first day ended with a board, staff, faculty and student bbq on the campus basketball court. Our dean of men, Hiob Ngirachemoi, and several students bbq'd the ribs and chicken and, along with the red rice, potato salad, ice cream and cookies we had an island feast. Each of the board members were introduced, students shared songs and testimonies and we all got a couple hours to relax, meet and greet. It was also nice that the rain held off until well after the program was over.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Joyce and Her Missions Class

This semester one of Joyce's three classes is Micronesian Church History, taught by our Liebenzell Micronesia Regional Director, Harald Gorges. Joyce says that it is one of the most interesting classes she has taken at PIBC. I can see as I sometimes look over her shoulder, (Don't worry Harald, I am not hepling her do her quizzes!) that Harald has done some great research for the course and has the class reading some very interesting primary source reference materials. The class also seems to do a lot of fun things, like watch movies that deal with missions and cultural subjects or go on field trips. They have been studying the Spanish period in Missions history so they are taking advantage of opportunities to visit old Spanish, and other, historical sites all over Guam.

So while I was in the first day of the three-day annual PIBC board meeting, Joyce was out touring Guam with the missions class. (The above left picture is not Spanish - Joyce is standing in front of the first Protestant church building on Guam). As you can see from the pictures they got all around the island. After all why just read about history from a book when you can go out and touch it? To the left the class enjoys the old Spanish bridge.

From the reports of the class, the highlight of the trip was the carabao ride at Fort Soledad in Umatac. This is the site where the Spanish under Magellan made first contact with the indigenous people of Guam. The fort was built much later and is a popular spot for tourists and sometimes for locals - I have been to a couple weddings up there. I am sure the class was very interested in finding out the history of the place, but it seems that most of the pictures were taken of the carabao ride. Joyce enjoyed her ride. You can also see a video of it complete with comments by her classmates on my Facebook page. By the way, you can connect with me on Facebook by clicking the link "My Facebook Profile" below right under "other interesting links." It will be interesting to see what the Missions class does next.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Yap #3 - The Teaching Facility

As I mentioned before, the main purpose for my visit to Yap was checking on how the PIBC facility renovation was going and meeting with the Yap Evangelical Church leadership to discuss the operation and use of the building. I had an enjoyable meeting with YEC leadership and we pretty much agreed about the use of the building. We want to see the facility used by both PIBC and the Yap churches. Outside of PIBC, there really are no theological libraries in Micronesia and we want ours to be accessible throughout Micronesia, so we have been adding books to the TF libraries in Chuuk and Palau in addition to our very full library on the Guam campus. With a new building in Yap we can send more books there. We hope to begin some PIBC courses on Yap in the Fall, even before the building is finished with windows and air conditioning. These classes would probably be "hybrid," with intensive classroom sessions and then homework and on line discussion done through our PIBC distance education web site. Internet access on Yap has improved some since I was there in 2007 with wireless access, but the maximum speed of 64Kbs still limits what we can do with class content delivery. We are hoping and praying that by the time the Gateway team returns to finish the building in 2010 we will also have the fiber optic cable delivering broadband to our TF's in Yap and Palau.

Operational costs for the Yap Teaching Facility will also be a challenge. The Yap church has agreed to provide some volunteer labor and staffing for the facility, but we figure that we will need about 12-15, 1/2 time, program students each semester there to cover PIBC's operating costs. Before the typhoon in 2004 we normally had about 7-10 students in Yap taking one course. The situation has changed somewhat in Yap so the YEC leadership was confident that we would have the numbers to operate. Please pray along with us that the PIBC Yap Teaching Facility becomes a learning and discipleship center for the churches of Yap and an academic launching pad for Yapese desiring Christian higher education.