First Words

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Evangel – Summer 2015


Stan & Pat HeltonFirst words, like first impressions, can be long lasting. So I’m mindful these are my first words in the Evangel as the incoming president.

My first word, carefully chosen, is Christ.

To echo Paul, “I want to know Christ …” (Phil. 3:10). A Christ-ian, by designation, then, is a person committed to Jesus Christ. When we accepted Jesus as the Christ (Messiah, King, Chosen One), we accepted a certain way of being, thinking, feeling, and doing. In the same way, since ABC is a Christian institution, we exist to serve Christ.

Now three other words: Community, Discipleship, and Mission.

Throughout the story of the Bible, God formed Communities (e.g., the people of Israel, the church, the disciples, Paul’s ministry teams, etc.) to participate in his mission. ABC is a community committed to serving God by equipping people for effective service. When God raised leaders, those leaders lived and worked for the benefit of the community, as the community lived and worked for God.

Discipleship is about becoming (better) disciples of Jesus. Discipleship is the process God uses to (re)shape us to become more like Christ. Conversely, as Christians, we have invited God to reorder our lives. All Christians, then, have submitted to be students in the school of Jesus.

God always had a Mission for his people. We don’t have to invent the mission. Jesus said this this way: “Go, make disciples!” Just as God sent Jesus, Jesus sent his Spirit, and now God sends us.

ABC is all about Community, Discipleship, and Mission. So I’m looking forward to joining the ABC team because I know that together we will participate in God’s mission by equipping people for effective service and witness for Jesus Christ.

But above all things, may Christ be our first word … and our last.

Stan is the current president of ABC, and has recently joined us with his wife, Pat Helton. They have one daughter Rachel, who is married. She and her husband just finished a short-term mission trip to Zambia. Rachel is completing her Masters in Theology through Abilene Christian University. Stan has earned degrees from Oklahoma Christian University (BA), Abilene Christian University (MS, MDiv, DMin), and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (ThM, PhD). He has served in a variety of ministry settings including New Orleans and Chicago; he taught for six years at Western Christian College in Regina, Saskatchewan where he also served as Dean. Pat is a teacher whose specialty is Adapted Physical Education. She has served people with special needs most of her career, most recently among the urban poor of New Orleans. Stan and Pat are excited to have returned to Canada and seeing what God will do with them next in this mission.