Twenty years ago this very week the doors of West Coast Baptist College swung open to the first group of forty-three students.
Today, WCBC’s doors swing open for the twentieth opening day of a new academic year of training laborers for His harvest.
As I look back over the past twenty years, there have been plenty of burdens that are a direct result of opening WCBC. There have been financial needs, criticism we would not have received if we didn’t have the college, an administrative load, and many extra hours of prayer, planning, and labor.
Has it been worth it? I say yes! This week I jotted down a quick list—in no particular order—of reasons I’m glad we started WCBC:
- Missionaries serving on foreign fields—Today, WCBC graduates are serving the Lord in twenty-three countries, with more on deputation and on their way to new mission fields.
- Pastors serving churches in America—Last Sunday, scores of churches across America had faithful, soulwinning, Christ-exalting, people-loving pastors, who are WCBC graduates, stand before them and rightly divide God’s Word.
- Christian school teachers investing in students—Hundreds of WCBC alumni are standing in front of classrooms this very morning pouring themselves into the lives of a future generation.
- Staff supporting churches—In local churches around the nation, WCBC graduates are serving this morning as assistant pastors, music directors, secretaries, and support staff to serve a church congregation as an extension of the ministry of a senior pastor.
- Churches around the country that may have closed encouraged with new pastors—The Lord has directed several of our alumni to revitalize churches that were ready to close their doors. There are such churches around the country this very day that are now vibrant, restored, and fervently reaching their communities with the gospel.
- New church plants around the country started—From the very beginning of WCBC, planting new churches in unreached areas has been one of our desires. Over recent years, the Lord has led several of our graduates to do just that, and we rejoice in the fruit they are seeing.
- Barnabas teams and extension teams helping and encouraging churches throughout Southern California—Each weekend, teams of WCBC upperclassman travel to churches within a couple hundred mile radius to serve, help, and encourage. They go soulwinning, teach, preach, sing, and help in any way they can. Their investments have made a difference in the churches where they have served.
- Students who have received a biblical worldview—Some students come to WCBC for a one-year Bible certificate before following with other schooling for a secular field. Each of them receives a biblical worldview with solid biblical grounding in the core truths and doctrines of God’s Word. I’m thankful for every young adult serving in a secular field with solid moorings in biblical truth.
- Students experiencing Bible college life—Whether students came for a One Year Bible Certificate or a four year diploma, they learn biblical principles and spiritual disciplines that serve them throughout their entire lives.
- Seeing the faith and convictions of students become stronger and biblically grounded—It is a joy to watch young people soak in the preaching and teaching of God’s Word as they develop and strengthen life convictions and ministry principles.
- Laborers around the world committed to absolute truth and to reaching their communities for Christ—WCBC exists to develop leaders with hearts for God who are committed to the Word, compassionate toward the lost, and compelled to change communities for Christ. Graduates around the world are seeing lives changed with the gospel while maintaining a commitment to biblical truth.
- The way beginning and continuing WCBC has stretched my faith and the faith of Lancaster Baptist Church—From the first day we opened the doors of WCBC—and every day since—a project of this magnitude has stretched our faith! Over and over, we’ve seen God provide, and our awe of Him and faith in His promises has grown with every passing year.
- The joy of co-laboring with faculty, staff, and administration—The servants who I get to serve alongside in leading and training our students are godly, dedicated, humble, fruitful servants of God. It is a privilege to serve in the trenches with them.
- The joy of entering into the labors of pastors across America—Every student who comes to WCBC comes with the recommendation of his or her home pastor. It is a privilege to enter into the labor of pastors who have already greatly invested into these young lives.
- Lancaster Baptist Church members having the opportunity to invest in future servants of God—The privilege for our church family of hosting WCBC as a ministry of our church is enormous. Church members have the opportunity to invest in young people who just a few months or years later will be serving the Lord on the front lines of ministry.
- Students meeting and marrying their future spouses—This one is huge! It’s a thrill to see young adults with a passion for God and a calling for ministry meet, marry, and serve Christ together.
- Opening day and graduation day—These two days—and the week surrounding both—are highlights of every year. It’s a blessing to see hundreds of students arriving on opening day with open hearts and a desire to be trained for the ministry. It’s a thrill four years later to graduate these same students who are now trained and equipped and eager to put their hand to the plow and serve in the Lord’s harvest fields.
- Campus spirit—From the “Birdcage” at basketball games to a spiritual intensity in daily chapel to the spontaneous prayer meetings that crop up around campus, it is a joy to be around students who love fun, have a passion for Christ, a heart for ministry, and a determination to make a difference in their generation.
- Joy of investing in a new generation of Christian servants—Twenty years ago, I couldn’t have understood what this would mean. But to look back today and see nineteen graduating classes of WCBC students—and to have the privilege to begin again this week—is an honor.
- Laborers in the harvest—Our goal at WCBC has never been students—but graduates. And to the glory of God, there are now eighteen hundred faithful, soulwinning, WCBC alumni serving in various harvest fields throughout forty-eight states and twenty-three countries. Every week, we hear reports of souls saved, lives touched, the gospel preached, opportunities opening, and servant leaders putting into practice what they were taught at WCBC.
Am I glad we started West Coast Baptist College twenty years ago? Yes! Twenty yeses! No, make that twenty multiplied by eighteen hundred. I’m thankful for every student and every graduate God has given us the privilege to train and invest in.
Would you pray with us this year as we continue to train laborers for the Lord’s harvest? And would you pray with us that the Lord of the harvest would raise up more laborers for the ripe fields around the world?
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.—Matthew 9:37–39