For today’s post, I wanted to write a personal note of thanks to our friends. Normally I don’t do this on my site, but I am finding it difficult to adequately respond to the many texts, calls, and emails. The last two and a half weeks have been some of the most challenging yet grace-filled days of our lives. Diane and I want to say thank you to so many of you who have prayed for us and for Northland’s extended family.
On April 25, 2013, several members of our board of directors made a decision to have me step down from my role as president. While the board did not state the reason, I knew the tension points were over cash flow and direction. This was an undesired and unexpected decision, but I took it as from the Lord. I trust in His sovereignty and goodness. The board members have been and continue to be my personal friends.
From April 25 to May 8, I did my best to assist the board in accomplishing their desires. When faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends asked about what they should do if they disagreed with the decision, I encouraged them to respond prayerfully, respectfully, and full of grace. I believe this was done.
On the evening of May 8, the chairman of the board, Howard Patz, clarified for the rest of the board the history of Northland, as well as the direction he believed it should now take. After some discussion, four members of the board graciously and respectfully resigned. Nothing was forced, and it was a grace-filled meeting.
The remaining board then asked if I would return as president. After a discussion over our present challenges as well as our future plans, I agreed to step back in. The works of God convinced us that our assignment remains at Northland.
Over the past seventeen days I have constantly prayed, “God, your will be done.” Here are a few of the things the Lord has been doing:
- Through brokenness He is driving us to greater levels of dependence.
- He is strengthening and blessing our marriage.
- He is reconnecting Northland with its alumni.
- He is moving in spiritual ways among our student body.
- He is unifying our faculty and staff.
- He is bringing to us some incredible new friends.
- He is raising up leaders who want to help.
- He is raising up donors who want to give.
- He has allowed us to connect with many of Paul Patz’s grandchildren.
- He has confirmed the direction we are taking.
- Through our critics He has helped us to see our faults, the things we need to change, and the areas we need to improve.
And the list could go on.
Over 20 years ago I was drawn to Northland by the lives and teaching of Les Ollila and Doug McLachlan. In 1993 “Dr. Mac’s” book, Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism, articulated what many of my generation felt. While not all of our mentors would agree with every present day application, we continue to build on the heart and soul of what we saw and what we were taught. We love these men. And we love Paul Patz – all that he was and stood for. Our prayer is that we will continue to produce future generations of young people whose hearts are touched by God and fueled with the gospel message.