April was a month of firsts:
I made my first trip to Canada on behalf of IBC and established and strengthened relationships with a very like-minded ministry (North American Indigenous Ministries). I attended this ministry’s men’s retreat and was able to connect with all the key leaders. IBC needs to be in active relationships with other ministries like this, for we exist to train future Native leaders for their local Native churches!
After 20 years of using discussion-based methods to teach the Bible I am training others how to teach the Bible in a conversational way for the first time. The Western way of preaching and teaching is usually monologue (i.e. I talk at/to you for 20-40 minutes) but Jesus (and the apostles) used a highly interactive method of teaching. Native culture is naturally very conversational (i.e. relational) in its instructive methods but the early missionaries did not teach this way, so most Native churches only use a monologue approach. Training these Native men (Larry, Efrain, James, and Curtis) to use a dialogue approach has been a tremendously rewarding experience. The first day of class one student said: “I am going to laminate these notes!” Now I need to teach our staff and faculty the same things!
We compiled and edited our first IBC journal of original student work. Thanks to a grant from another ministry, 500 copies of the full-color work will be printed and distributed. What a joy to be able to share some of the best of the students’ creative and scholarly work! It is currently at the print shop; let me know if you would like a copy of this mailed to you.
Daniel Esplin (Navajo Director of Admissions and IBC graduate) gave the first public teaching from our Native Masculinity Collaborative at a Native youth workers retreat and the response was tremendous. Daniel has led the way in developing this content for about three years now and to be in a place to share it publicly is tremendous. A sample of the materials is in the journal mentioned above.
We hired our first Director of Development, which is our last vacant VP role! Doug Hanson has been a missionary in Papua New Guinea for the last 15 years and is highly educated (three masters degrees and a doctorate). As many of you know, for five years I was doing three jobs: President, Academic Dean, and Director of Development. By God’s grace we added an Academic Dean (Kevin Newman) two years ago and I received the assistance of a staff Administrative Assistant (Julie Reynolds) last summer. I have been so thrilled that these two people came and I assumed that I would continue to cover the Director of Development role the rest of my presidency. So I am absolutely amazed at God’s provision of a seasoned leader and educator to help develop the relationships that will help grow the school. Doug and his wife Jan arrive at IBC the first of July.
Praise God for all these “firsts”! What an exciting month it has been! And praise Him that we are ending the school year well with little drama or student sin issues.
Please pray for the end of the school year. We have many events as we finish the school year and we are anticipating 17 students receiving a certificate or diploma!
Thank you for your prayers and support,
Jason and the Koppen family