By Lanny Hubbard
Portland Bible College was founded 50 years ago to train the young people of City Bible Church (then Bible Temple). It was the vision of the founders to create a school that would train the young people of this church in God’s Word for generations to come. They believed in the vision that God had given them, so much so that they not only financed it but they entrusted their own children to it. Dick Iverson, Bob Stricker, Kevin Conner, Frank Damazio and Ken Malmin all had children that were trained in this school.
PBC has now trained three generations of students: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. The current student body has 13 second generation students, 6 of which are a part of the freshman class.
Heritage: Our Gift From The Past
We talk about having a rich heritage here at Portland Bible College, but what is heritage? It is defined as a tradition, culture, background or roots. It is an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling and doing things. At PBC, we embrace and cherish our heritage that has developed over 50 years of raising up godly leaders.
We believe that things that come from the past are still important. We have qualities, values and objects that we value so highly that we have preserved them in order to pass them on to future generations. This is our heritage, the foundation on which we build. As the psalmist said, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” (16:6)
Legacy: Our Gift To The Future
A legacy is a result of the past handed down by our predecessors. It is the footprint of one generation left behind for the next one. In the natural, we want to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible for the benefit of the future. In the Spirit, we want to leave the largest spiritual footprint that we can for the future.
A legacy is what one generation does not consume themselves, but passes on to those coming after them to enjoy. Heaven knows that at Portland Bible College our legacy is not our buildings. It is not some great endowment of money left for others. Our legacy is in our students.
We have PBC alumni all over the world; pastors planting churches, doctors birthing the next generations, Christians planting schools in Muslim countries, lawyers fighting for justice and human rights, business leaders, mothers, Episcopalian priests, engineers, counselors, and missionaries.
As Billy Graham said, the greatest legacy one can pass on to their children is not material things, but rather character and faith. The most important thing in this life is not the honor we take with us, but the legacy we leave behind.
Success without a successor is a failure. Jesus raised up disciples. He commanded his followers to raise up disciples. It is our great job to make sure that his plan does not stop with our generation.
Connecting Our Heritage & Legacy
Our goal is to connect the past (our heritage) with the future (our legacy). The connector is the present. The past is connected to the future through the present. Our past is our heritage. Our future is our legacy, and how we live each day determines if one will connect with the other.
The Future Of Portland Bible College
Does Portland Bible College have a future? Yes! We are raising up a new generation of teachers; men and women of character. They have done things right and have not sacrificed hard work and humility on the altar of instant gratification and entitlement. And they know what it takes to make a college fun.
What will our school look like in the future? Only God knows. Look at where we have come in the last 50 years. Now, our young ladies wear jeans, already torn up even though they are new. Our young men have facial hair, wear skinny jeans, and wear their mother’s jewelry.
All this was considered Satanic in the 1970’s. Yet, they are on the streets talking to people about Jesus. They are staying up all night praying for direction in the school and in their lives. They are leading worship in chapel that melts the hearts of visitors.
What will they look like in the future? They will look like what they are now:
- They will work hard to spread God’s truth to more people. We started with only live classes and then started offering correspondence courses. Now we have an online program that has expanded from English to Portuguese and Spanish.
- They will be drilling wells for clean water in Africa.
- They will be setting up water purification systems in Asia.
- They will be military chaplains.
- They will be hospital chaplains.
- They will be starting Christian schools in Muslim countries.
That is what they will look like. They will do some things the same, and at the same time, they will find new ways to reach a lost world. They will be new seeds planted in old soil.
Keys To A Successful Future
In order for what we have had for 50 years at Portland Bible College to continue successfully into the future, it will require several things:
- We must build well. As Luke 6:48 says, “it withstood the storms because of how well it was built,” and 1 Corinthians 3:13 says, “every person’s work must pass the test of fire.”
- We must appreciate what has been given us. It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us. We cannot squander the inheritance that was given us.
- We must reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values so that as guardians of that legacy we can reach ahead to our children.
The hope of our legacy is in the strength of our heritage. We need our present and future students to share our heart and catch our vision.
In the end, the words “well done” will not be spoken to the witty, the trendy, the stylish, or the popular. They will be spoken to the “good” and the “faithful.” This is the legacy that we hope to pass on.