Not Retiring in Retirement—May 2014
This past May Steven Kuehn graduated from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. He had just retired from a career at IBM, but he was not retiring. He and his wife, Linda, have begun a second career teaching in Bible colleges in developing nations. Let him tell you their story.
Tell us about your background in computers.
I started working with computers when I was in high school. I graduated first from Rochester Community College in Rochester, Minnesota, and I then enrolled in Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University – Mankato) where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. While at Mankato I met my wife, Linda. I then started working at IBM in Rochester, and we stayed there for 37 years! For the last 14 years I have been one of the lead people for IBM Electronic Support Web team. I retired just recently so Linda and I could serve in missionary work.
Where did you attend church?
While on a summer internship at IBM in Rochester, a friend told me about Calvary Baptist Church in the city. I loved the expository preaching at the church, and I became a member that fall. Linda and I have served there over the years.
How did you hear about FBTS?
In late 1970 or early 1980, we started supporting Faith. When we decided to go into missions and teach at Bible colleges in developing nations, I knew that a master's degree would be helpful, and my first choice was FBTS. I really liked the module structure because it allowed me to spread out my education while still working at IBM. I did not have to take a year off work to attend seminary. The goal was to complete my education over seven years. Then a year and half ago I realized that I could complete the work within the next 18 months, which was two years earlier than planned.
What were some of the highlights of your FBTS studies?
When I started at FBTS, I knew I was jumping into the frying pan, but I soon realized that I missed the frying pan and jumped right into the fire. I had no previous knowledge of some of the things I studied. But the Lord helped me, and I did well in the classes. I really enjoyed interacting with the other seminary students. And the module structure not only allowed me to spread out my education, but it also allowed me to spread out the cost. I was able to pay for all the expenses without taking out a loan.
How did the Lord direct you to your new ministry?
This is a long story spanning more than 30 years. Calvary Baptist Church has always been involved in missions. We met many missionaries over the years and had several of them in our home. Through our connections at the church we became involved in several mission projects at Doane Seminary and Bukidnon Seminary in the Philippines.
Seven years ago I went with Pastor Dwight LaPine to visit Bukidnon Seminary. During that trip I fell in love with the Filipino people and the seminary ministry. Then five years ago I realized that there was more to life than my job, which led me to start thinking about retirement. The Lord knew of our love for seminaries in developing nations and showed us that I could help them by teaching Bible and computers. That’s when I realized I needed more Bible training.
While attending the modules at FBTS, I took two other mission trips to the Philippines. I learned that the Bukidnon Seminary library had more than 6,000 books, but it did not even have a manual card catalog, let alone an electronic one. So we took this challenge and developed a missions project to provide the computers for the library. We raised the funds for the computers and took them to Bukidnon on the next trip.
One of the missionaries at Bukidnon Seminary had to go on extended furlough, so we began thinking about teaching there this fall. Then the Lord helped us realize that He could use us in several places to help “plug the holes” left when missionaries have to leave the field for a short time. So we now call our ministry “Plugging the Holes.” Since then we have received an invitation to teach at Doane Seminary for the second semester, another hole to plug. After that we know the Lord will lead us one step at a time.
What will you be doing in the Philippines?
At Bukidnon Seminary I am teaching Major Prophets, Dispensations, and an audio/video class, along with fielding hundreds of computer questions. Linda will be teaching a Christian Education class about designing bulletin boards and crafts for Sunday School or Vacation Bible School.
The second semester at Doane Seminary I will teach Old Testament Poetry, Baptist Polity (Ecclesiology), and Bible and Science—and again answer many computer questions. I will also be speaking at evangelistic meetings that will be held at the public universities. The Filipino culture will allow the speaker to change the subject at the end of the lecture, allowing me to speak on a subject of interest to the students and then give a gospel message. These meetings will be supported by the local churches that will follow up with anyone who believes the gospel.
How did FBTS prepare you for the work you are undertaking?
Faith went beyond basic Bible teaching and provided a Biblical and ministerial background that I never knew about. I was able to tailor my education to take Theology of Missions, Ministry of Teaching, and Preaching Seminar—all of which help me in my teaching ministry.
What counsel do you have for other believers who are nearing retirement?
Be open to what the Lord might have in store for you. Continue to learn, take opportunities to go on mission trips, expose yourself to new situations, and extend yourself to do something you have never done before. And you will be surprised what the Lord might do! You will be scared the first few times, but the more you expose yourself to the opportunities to do God’s will, the more He will strengthen you.
Church Plant Planting a Church—April 2014
Willi and Heidi (Kendall) Slischewski met at Faith (they actually got married in the Student Center) and returned to Willi’s native Germany to begin a church plant. They have been in the United States for a few months on a short deputation trip. The Faith Alumni Assocation wishes Willi and Heidi God's best in their new ministry in Germany.
Tell us what you have done and where you have been since you graduated from Faith.
Heidi and I moved back to Germany in December of 2009. There we got involved at Freie Baptistengemeinde Ingolstadt (Independent Baptist Church of Ingolstadt). Heidi had to learn the language and I started to work a full-time job in retail.
We both started to have different responsibilities at church. Heidi was involved in children’s ministries, playing piano, and women’s ministries. I had opportunities to teach, preach, plan church events, and write lesson plans.
Heidi, share with us your thoughts about living in Germany the past couple years.
It has been an interesting and exciting time adjusting to the German culture. The biggest adjustments came in the beginning in getting used to hearing German spoken all the time! God has blessed and I have been able to see His hand in so many aspects. I was able to learn the language rather quickly with the help of my German husband and his family. Another big adjustment is being away from home and my own family. Of course, I miss them, but I know God’s plan for me is bigger than what I can imagine. I still have lots to learn and am looking forward to what God will teach me in Germany in the coming years.
Tell us about your children.
Sophia Grace (03/02/2011) loves to sing and look at books, go to children’s church, mix up German and English when she speaks, and play with Daddy.
Olivia Joy (03/23/2013) is a smiling, happy little girl who loves to wave hello, goodbye, and clap. She cannot get enough time with Mommy.
Why did you come to the United States for a few months?
We are in the States for three months to visit churches and present our ministry in Germany. Willi took something like “maternity leave” that allowed him to be away from his job so long. Our goal is to raise enough support from churches and individuals to be able to have to work only part-time when we return to Germany.
Trace the background of the church in Ingolstadt.
In 1987 Charles Ellis started our church along with Virgil Bunjer. In 2004 the church called a national pastor, Christoph Ruttgers, who was a convert of the ministry there and trained by the missionaries in the church. The church became independent of missionaries in 2005. Willi has been chosen as team leader of a church plant about 30 minutes away from the current location of the church.
Give us an approximate timeline for your church planting plans.
Upon our return to Germany, we will search for an apartment and relocate to the city where the church will be started. From there we will reach out to students as well as the older and younger generations. We anticipate meeting in our home in the years to come until there is a solid group and we are able to afford a building. Another goal is to gather a core group from our church in Ingolstadt to help with the church plant.
For both of you, please share how your time at Faith helped to shape you and prepare you for your ministry.
Heidi: It was amazing to see how God worked during my time at Faith. At the time I did not know He was preparing me for exactly what I would need for our future ministry in Germany. I changed majors multiple times and was still not sure what I wanted to do. Little did I know that the “overview” I received in several programs at Faith was the perfect combination of women’s ministries, counseling, and local church ministries I would need. I had the privilege of being a part of the South Africa team in 2009. This trip was instrumental in helping me to see that God had a plan for me in Germany. The atmosphere at Faith was so conducive to spiritual growth. Not only are the professors willing to help you and encourage you, but the students and staff are wonderful too. I am still thankful for the friends I made in college and the way God used them in my life.
Willi: My time at Faith has impacted my life in tremendous ways—friends, theology and ministry mindset are just a few. When I came to Faith I wanted to get a deeper insight into theology. Faith was recommended by a variety of people because of three main aspects: a solid Bible foundation with great professors, local church mindset, and a family flair with personal relationships with the teachers. I found that to be true after only being there for a couple of months. I appreciate those qualities even more today, five years after graduation.
Faith has impacted my life and ministry by helping me to shape my doctrine and philosophy. Two classes and teachers had a remarkable influence on me: Systematic Theology with Dr. Paul Hartog who challenged me to think through theology and know why I believe certain doctrines. That helped me to have a doctrinal foundation for the church plant. The second class was Church Music Administration with Dr. Van Hooser. There Doc made me think about the meaning of music from a Biblical stand and actually write a philosophy of church music. This exercise shaped my thinking about music in a great way and has helped me to know what we will do in our church plant.
Another impact that Faith had in an indirect way was through the surrounding churches. No matter which church I visited, a staff member from Faith was an active member at that church. There I was able to see how important the local church is to the teachers and see them practice what they preach (teach). The churches also helped me to broaden my horizon for the church plant in Germany. Even though there are certain differences in culture, language, and history in churches in Germany and the U.S., there are still foundational things to observe and learn. I have the privilege now to take what I have seen at the local churches (especially Ankeny Baptist Church where I was a member) and use it in the church plant in Eichstätt.
The Blessings of Adoption—December 2013
During this Thanksgiving/Christmas season of the year, we bring to you two stories of alumni who have adopted children. These stories show the blessings of adoption.
Mike ('99) and Kristen (Boyd '99) Myers
Assistant Pastor and Wife
Brown Street Baptist Church
We can think of 10,000 reasons for our hearts to sing this time of the year, and Samuel and Mickie, our wonderful gifts from God, are definitely near the top of the list!
We have chosen to adopt because God has given us a desire to have children. After a miscarriage and not being able to get pregnant again and after a few failed fertility treatments, we were devastated and our savings account was depleted. Two months later we were invited to an adoption conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Through a message from James 1:27, we were challenged to flesh out our faith by caring for orphans. We then were reminded from James 4:17 that if we know to do something and do not do it, it is sin. We both desire to please God and be obedient to His Word, so we committed to fervently pursue adopting children and being advocates for adoption.
The experience so far has been a tremendous spiritual maturing process for us. We have a greater understanding of the truth that God has adopted us through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4–8). We are reminded that when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we became immediate heirs of God and we are now called children of God (Gal. 4:4–7). Adoption has caused us to realize the awesome privilege that we have of being able to imitate God by being a father to the fatherless (Ps. 68:5)! Adoption reminds us God has met our need through Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:12, 13), and we can imitate Him by giving Samuel and Mickie all the rights, privileges, and obligations that come from being our very own children.
Adoption has opened up for us so many more witnessing opportunities. Most of all, adoption has increased our faith In God in an incredible way. For 9 years, 4 months, and 18 days, we prayed every day for a child, and God placed Samuel into our arms. For 3 years, 7 months, and 9 days, we prayed every day for another child and God placed Mickie into our arms. Throughout our entire adoption journeys we have clung to the sovereignty of God so much. We consider it a privilege to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We love watching our children grow and having them hold our hands. We love the hundreds of questions they ask. We cherish those slobbery kisses and big hugs, and it is so special to hear them say, "I love you, Mommy and Daddy!" We continue to pray every day for the salvation of Samuel and Mickie. Lord willing, they will come to know the Lord, love the Lord, and serve the Lord with their lives.
For those considering adoption, we would encourage you to educate yourself as much as possible about adoption by attending conferences, reading books, and getting involved in local adoption communities. But most of all, be sure to commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans (Prov. 16:3). Adoption can be a long, grueling, and expensive journey which requires a complete trust and dependence on God. But always remember that nothing is too difficult for Him (Jer. 32:17).
Mike ('99 and '02) and Liz (Rogers '02) Augsburger
Pastor and Wife
Willow Creek Baptist Church
West Des Moines, Iowa
Very few people understand the pain and frustration of infertility. Yet in our lives we not only understand it but we also are thankful for it!
We were married in May of 2002 after our graduation from Faith. Life seemed to cruise along "as planned" for many years. New house, new ministry, new teaching job for Liz; these were all blessings from God's hand. Starting a family was part of the plan, but in our time and on our schedule.
Well, God wanted to make it clear that we cannot control every part of our lives! Finally, after 8 years of marriage, Elijah made his grand appearance! We had not been strategically pursuing adoption, but after a series of friend connections and phone calls, Liz and I found ourselves chatting with a young 14-year-old girl who was deciding between adoption or abortion. Thankfully, she chose adoption, and amazingly she chose us!
We were able to attend all of her doctor's appointments and see all of the ultrasounds. Elijah Bryce was born on April 6, 2010, and has changed our lives and many things in our church ministry as well. After his birth, the number of families with adopted children exponentially increased in our church, and we have even seen people saved as a result of our story.
Elijah is now a happy 3 year old who loves to play and help dad in the yard. He has no idea the impact his little life has already made for Christ. We are excited to share HIS story with him so that he can also give God the glory for saving his life and placing him in our home!
East Goes North—February 2014
Greg (’10) and Hannah (Alexander ’11) East finished their education at Faith and then headed north to serve as the assistant pastor and wife at Calvary Baptist Church in Ludington, Michigan.
What did you study at Faith?
Greg: I graduated from the Assistant Pastor/Youth program in the college, and I have taken classes toward the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies degree in the seminary.
Hannah: I graduated from the Administrative Assistant program [now called Office Administration].
When did you go to Ludington, Michigan?
We moved here in March of 2012 to begin our ministry. We have been here almost two years, and we are expecting our first child.
What is your ministry at Calvary?
I serve as the associate pastor of youth and Christian education.
How did your time at Faith prepare you for this position?
I believe my time at Faith was instrumental in giving me a sound understanding of the Scriptures. While I don't think any one place could fully prepare someone for the challenges that a pastor faces in ministry, I do believe that my time at Faith gave me the solid foundation I needed to get a good start. I have learned a lot of practical things ever since coming to this church, but the hours of study in the classroom gave me confidence in my teaching and preaching ministries.
What is your favorite part of your ministry?
I enjoy so many things about the ministry at Calvary.
• I love the pastoral relationship that I have with Pastor Yankee [Tim Yankee, ‘85].
• We have enjoyed building relationships with the people in our church. When we came, these people were just faces in a church directory, but now they are our friends and the people we love.
• We love working with the teens here. When we first came, we had only 3 teens attending Sunday School and youth group. After the first year, we grew to 8 teens who are excited about growing in Christ. One of the most rewarding things that we have been able to experience thus far is seeing one of the teens put into practice something that we have studied. I can echo the Apostle John in saying, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
What is the best advice you were given by a professor at Faith?
I thank God for the influence and impact that certain professors had on me.
• I find myself thankful for Dr. Brown's sermon preparation steps as I go back to them for every message I preach.
• I am thankful for the impact that Doctor Van [Dr. Irv Van Hooser] had on me. There is no one that I can think of that is more passionate about ministry than he is. He taught me a lot, not just vocally, but spiritually. (Don't tell him this, but I always saw him as kind of a grandpa . . . who is in really good shape!)
I also received encouragement from two other places that often go unnoticed.
• The Faith Admissions Office—When I was at school, these were people who encouraged me spiritually and often brightened a very busy, draining day with a lot of laughter and encouraging words. Without people like them in my life, college would have been far less enjoyable.
• Nevada Baptist Church—One of the most important places that helped me spiritually was Nevada Baptist Church [Nevada, Iowa], the church I attended during school. I am so thankful that Faith puts an emphasis on the local church, and I found my home away from home in Nevada. Everything pertaining to the practical side of ministry I learned at Nevada. (For those of you who are not from Iowa, the first “a” in Nevada is long, unlike the state by that name.)
Hannah and I both are so thankful for the role Faith played in our lives. We enjoy serving together at Calvary Baptist.
Paul Hartog Publishes Major Book—November 2013
Dr. Paul Hartog, vice president of academic services and dean of Faith Baptist Bible College, has published a major new academic work titled Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. This title is part of the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Hartog is a leading Polycarpian scholar in international academic circles and spent several years writing this commentary. You will find a description of the book and ordering information through Amazon. Faith is honored to have a man of Dr. Hartog’s standing as a teacher and academic officer. Read on to find out more about the writing of this book.
What made you decide you wanted to write on Polycarp?
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Polycarp’s use of the New Testament, and I have continued to research and write on Polycarpian literature ever since.
When were you first approached to write on Polycarp?
The invitation to write this specific volume came after presenting a paper at an academic conference examining the Apostolic Fathers held at Oxford University. Editors from a series of books on the Apostolic Fathers organized that conference and edited the published proceedings.
How long did it take you to write it?
FOREVER! (according to my sweetheart)! I spent between 15 and 20 hours a week working on the project over the space of four years.
What was your favorite part of the process?
Finishing! Being able to write a full commentary, from introductory matters, through textual issues and translation, to comprehensive exegetical notes.
As you studied Polycarp, what intrigued you most?
Several things struck me: the nature of the moral exhortation in his epistle, the manner in which the martyrdom promoted communal formation, and the difficulties faced in critically analyzing Polycarp’s life history and martyrdom.
For the common reader, what is one fact about Polycarp that would be interesting to know?
His one extant epistle is an early witness to the transmission and use of New Testament documents. He almost certainly employed Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, and 1 John. He probably used Matthew, 2 Corinthians, and 2 Timothy. And he possibly used other books, including Luke, Acts, and 2 Thessalonians.
Why is Polycarp relevant for Christians today?
Polycarp was martyred for his faith in Christ, thus serving as an example of firm Christian commitment.
Where is your book going to be used most?
Most likely, only research libraries and select scholars of early Christianity will purchase volumes in the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series (the high cost of the volumes reflects this limited audience).
Have you started working on another book or do you plan to?
I have other book contracts lined up, as time permits. The projects range from more popular level works to other volumes with academic presses.
Paul Lobb, a former Faith board member and friend of the school, went to be with the Lord on April 16. Read More
Regular Baptist Books has released Dependence in the Wilderness by Dr. Jeff Newman, professor of Biblical Counseling at Faith. This book draws from Psalm 63 to give hope and encouragement for those who are suffering. Read More
The goal of the Search Committee has been to find a highly qualified and dedicated man of vision who can lead Faith onward and forward. We are convinced we have found that man in Rev. James R. Tillotson who has accepted our unanimous invitation to be the next president of FBBC&TS. Read More