Conversation: Gary Denbow
Gary Denbow, D. Min. (AGTS), assumed the presidency of Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo., with the advent of the fall 2005 semester. He is the ninth president of CBC, the ministry training college of the Assemblies of God since 1922. Denbow has been a church planter, senior pastor (most recently concluding 24 years at Christian Chapel in Columbia, Mo.), missionary, educator, district youth director and assistant superintendent of the Northern Missouri District. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, associate editor.
tpe: How did God lead you into education ministry?
DENBOW: I was 12 and at youth camp when a missionary speaker from Saipan challenged us to lay our lives down for the Lord. In college, I began to sense that I would pastor a church and lead a Christian school. I pursued an education degree before continuing my studies at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. My first missions assignment was as the dean of a Bible college in the Philippines. IÕve served on adjunct faculties at several schools and as a public school teacher. Our school at Christian Chapel has grown steadily through the years.
tpe: Talk about your transition to Central Bible College.
DENBOW: I have prayed many times that God would use me to raise up ministers and missionaries. During my 17 years in leadership in the Northern Missouri District I served in ministerial enrichment and church revitalization. This is a natural transition.
tpe: Having ministered as a district leader, you know the value of a young minister building relationships with the district office.
DENBOW: District officials are there to call on not only in time of trouble, but for encouragement and comfort. TheyÕre the Barnabases of our Fellowship. IÕll tell our students their first job should be to link up with local officials.
tpe: CBC has been preparing students for ministry in our Fellowship for more than 80 years. What are your dreams for this generation?
DENBOW: More than 28,000 alums have come through this institution. We have a wonderful history. We, as a church, continue to need the energy and the inspiration that come from young ministers. I want to link our ministry majors with districts to assure that they get credentials, to assure that they are settled in places of ministry so that they can begin to contribute to the Fellowship their energy, their creativity, all the things that they have to offer. This generation can bring new life into our Fellowship.
tpe: What is your overarching goal for CBC?
DENBOW: We need to create a safe place for young men and women to come and study for the ministry. More than half of our students come from broken homes. Many come to know the Lord before their parents come to Christ. They come to this campus as new Christians. Many have gone through secular high schools where they have been battered for their testimony. They have faced the world in a way that my generation never faced it.
My vision is that this campus would become a place that is safe. SAFE is also an acronym: S, Supportive; A, Affirming; F, Facilitating; E, Encouraging and Exhorting and Endorsing.
We want to put students through a strenuous learning experience and highlight spiritual formation throughout their college career. But our whole stance will be that this is a place where a parent can safely invest their student, where a student can come and invest his or her time fully confident that we are preparing him or her to answer GodÕs call. tpe
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