How many times have you remarked, “Who would have thought…?” For me, I never would have dreamed that one day God would allow me the privilege of serving Him as the president of MBC.  28 years ago, when MBC held its very first commencement, I was a teenager still dreaming of a basketball career in the proud (and very limited) tradition of short white guys!  Today, it’s my passionate desire and prayer to guide this institution in a God-honoring mission of equipping followers of Jesus to be disciple-makers for the advancement of the kingdom of God in this dark world. At a time when everything glorious is ascribed to everything but God, it was our goal on May 7th to have the graduation ceremony be a celebration of God’s glory with a focus on His transforming work in lives.  (If you missed it, you can still watch on YouTube at this link.)

Here are a few highlights of a very meaningful event.

Many of you may remember Harlan Durgan who served on the college board for over 30 years.  Harlan stepped into glory earlier this year.  His was a life exemplifying fruitful ministry, not only as a valued board member, but as a father, husband, pastor, and community member as well.  Because Harlan loved growing things and always supplied family and friends with plants to make things beautiful and fruitful, each graduate presented Alma (Harlan’s wife) with colorful, potted flowers.  An apple tree will also be planted in his memory at the Living Hope Church in Livingston where Harlan pastored for so many years.  God is glorified through individuals like Harlan who serve Christ faithfully for a lifetime!

Seventeen scholarships were awarded on graduation day for a total of $24,500, all provided by generous benefactors.  Maybe you are one of those who makes sacrifices financially to help ensure that these young men and women—whom we love so much—will be able to continue their education and the process of spiritual growth in which they are involved.  Thank you for helping to build the body of Christ in this way – certainly a God-honoring investment!

We are continually thankful that God allowed Dave Hockman’s path to cross with MBC’s!  Dave just finished his first year as our most recent full-time faculty member and has been such an asset and blessing to everyone at the college. During his commencement address he encouraged the graduates “To Stay the Path.”  Using James 3:13-18 as his text, he compared the path of wisdom and the path of folly.  By consistently seeking the wisdom that is from above, a believer’s life will always bear the beautiful harvest of righteousness.  However, he acknowledged what we all know—we are weak, and we fail many times.  Yet, Praise God, He continues to pour out more and more grace upon us (James 4:6).  Dave gently and lovingly directed the graduates to keep a realistic view of this world, to fear life lived without God, and to be broken over sin! “You can be as close to God as you want to be” was his final exhortation.

Here is a final highlight.  Hattie Hackwith concluded her heartfelt speech to fellow graduates, family, and friends by quoting Jude 24.  It seems a fitting conclusion for this school year and to move this Mission Moment toward a close as well.  “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen!”

We would appreciate your prayers for a full enrollment in the fall (after our numbers were hit hard by COVID last year) so that we can train disciple-makers to our full capacity!  Please pray as well that God would make up the difference in our budget to His glory.  We expect an $80K hit to our reserves by our June 30 fiscal year end due to those lower student numbers, in spite of holding our expenses below budget and seeing a record year of financial partner contributions.

We eagerly press on with you “to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus”!

With love in Jesus,

Ryan Ward Signature

Ryan Ward – President