FC: Lessons I Learned from Dr. Gordon K. Franklin Vanguard College Faculty
1: "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching" (1Timothy 5:17)
2: What Gordon Taught Me Although I’ve known Dr. Franklin for 20 years & have heard him preach many times, I’ve never had the pleasure of sitting in one of his classes. So while I cannot claim to have had any “formal” education from the man, he has taught me so much! In fact, I have learned a great many things “informally” through his life & example. Aside from timeless “Franklinisms” like “That went over like pork chops at a bar mitzvah” or “Leave them longing, not loathing” or “Thank God & Greyhound he’s gone,” probably the top three would be:
3: 1. Whatever you do, do it with excellence. This could be Gordon’s life motto. I have seen him serve in so many roles around the school Professor, Academic Dean, President, Dean of Students, Program Director and he has done them all so well! Anything he has touched has literally “turned to gold.” And not just because he is such a talented & gifted individual (which he is) but because he has worked so hard on them! Because he is constantly tweaking, constantly improving, constantly upgrading. Because resting on your laurels is not an option for him. The lesson from his life is clear: good is not good enough always strive for excellence. Gordon was into continuous growth & learning long before the ABHE came around & told us we had to be! He has truly exemplified the Scripture: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col.3:23)
4: 2 .Sometimes in life, you need to step up to the plate. Of all the things Gordon has taught & modeled for me, this is perhaps the most impacting. Gordon became a legend in my mind (& in this district) when, in the late 80’s, he single-handedly kept the school alive. Of course the 80’s were a very rough time in Alberta economically. As a result, enrollment & finances were down. . After the resignation of the President, the District Executive voted to recommend closing the college to District Conference. Gordon, who had been Academic Dean, rallied the district pastors who still believed the college had a future. With their support, he made the District Exec a proposal: make me President & give me a year to turn the institution around. They went for it & District Conference voted to give the school a year reprieve. This was a great sacrifice for Gordon. He hates administration (even though he is so good at it! See lesson #1 above) & never ever wanted to be President. He loves just teaching.
5: But the school needed him, & he put personal preference aside & stepped out of his comfort zone. He stepped up to the plate, brought in our first one year program (HMS), and turned enrollment & finances around. He stayed on as President five years, giving the school momentum again. The rest, as they say, is history. We are still here today, 22 years later, because of this man. I can think of no one to whom we all owe a greater debt. | But I’m not just talking about the generations of students who he has helped launch into ministry. As President Gordon was crazy enough to take a chance on a 31 year old Jewish kid from Montreal & ask him to start teaching at the college first as adjunct & then as full time faculty. What he saw in me I don’t know. But one thing I do know: he always believed in me, encouraged me, & supported me & I would not be where I am today without him. I can think of very few people to whom I personally owe a greater debt. | 3. Believe in young people & in their potential. Of course Gordon believes in young people, you would think.! Why else would he spend 35 years teaching? But I’m not just talking about the generations of students who he has helped launch into ministry.
6: These are the lessons Gordon has taught me. Lessons learned from his words certainly, but even more from his life, his example, and his attitude. Gordon is one of the few guys I know who can genuinely say, along with the Apostle Paul: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (I Cor.11:1) That’s why when I grow up, I want to be like him. Rev. Stephen Hertzog President
7: Honoring Gordon Franklin I have been honored to know Gordon Franklin - a man of God who loves preaching and teaching, in which he has excelled. I have known him from1981, when I came on staff at NBC as a part-time teacher for two years, while pastoring in Edson. He was involved in recommending hiring me as a full-time faculty member in 1983.
8: Over all the years I worked with Gordon till I resigned in 2003, we never had a harsh word or disagreement. I believe this speaks highly of his commitment to working in peace and harmony with his colleagues to honor God. This man has been an excellent model and mentor to many, as he portrays the character of our Lord Jesus Christ. He served as a great academic dean and excellent president as well as a passionate professor. Gordon has always been an encourager who makes one feel special. He used to call me a trophy of God’s grace. He is a great family man who believes in making memories. Moyra and I wish Gordon and Joy a blessed retirement. Rev. Dr. George Feller
9: Following in the Footsteps of Dr. Franklin I have had the privileges of both being taught by Dr. Franklin and now also teaching alongside him at Vanguard College. When I first came to Northwest Bible College as a student in 1995, Dr. Franklin helped me to see Paul, and in fact all of Scripture, in a new light. The journeys of Paul came alive and I began to read the Scriptures in light of the historical context where they are found. I saw that Paul turned the world upside down. Dr. Franklin was instrumental in molding my understanding of the church's integral role in the life of the Christian. His hilarious but incisive 'Just Jesus and me' song and commentary inspired me to have a greater love for the body of Christ.
10: His love for the church is obvious, but he teaches in such a way that his attitude is also contagious. He was so effective in his teaching that years later the practical truths he brought out still come back to me in my everyday experience. I currently find myself quoting Dr. Franklin to the students, for I know that just as he has impacted my life, he is currently having such an effect on theirs. I have endeavored to follow in his footsteps of equipping others to dig into the truths of God's word for themselves, to apply it their hearts, and then to pass it on once again. After being away from the college for almost ten years, I was amazed at how he has demonstrated his commitment to teaching. When I took his courses in the nineties, his manuals were always impressive and helpful. However, he has continued to develop and expand them so that they have become a wealth of information that will guide the student long after the course is over.
11: This last year has been very meaningful to me as I have shared an office with Dr. Franklin, and been able to interact with him on a more personal level. He truly does walk the talk, as I have witnessed his humility, caring, and dedication on a day-to-day basis. He inspires the students and faculty alike to live out the truths and not to 'traffic in unlived truth'. Dr. Franklin, thank you for your many years of teaching God's word in both word and example. Love and appreciation, Professor Jonathan Kienzler
12: Lessons I learned from Dr. Gordon K. Franklin My wife Elinor and I first became acquainted with Gordon and Joy Franklin when they were pastoring their first church at Naicam, Saskatchewan, and we were pastoring at nearby Star City. I recall rich times of fellowship, animated discussions, and precious times enjoyed together in that rural setting. These good times continued when they moved to Winnipeg and we were serving in Brandon, Manitoba.
13: I came to appreciate the integrity of character and hospitality that has marked their lives when Elinor and I were called to be Pastor to their parents in Brandon. Gordon and Joy have faithfully lived out (and passed on) the wonderful godly legacy they inherited. Gordon’s life has been marked by godly discipline, hard work, and a passion to correctly analyze and accurately apply the teachings of Scripture. I remember first observing this very practical aspect of his ministry when he conducted a weekend seminar at his home church in the mid-1970’s. That God-given gift to communicate effectively has been sharpened and repeatedly demonstrated, both in the classroom and in the many speaking assignments he has accepted over the years.
14: I was privileged to work with Gordon for seven years at Northwest Bible College. He was a perennial favorite teacher of students. He had an unusual ability to communicate with clarity and brevity. He consistently demonstrated a gracious and caring concern in his interaction with others. I have always appreciated the way Gordon has been able to take a subject, focus upon it, address it from a biblical perspective, and make practical application for personal living. Thank you Gordon for impacting my life by your faithfulness to God, the excellence with which you have sought to instruct others, by your integrity of character, and by the many positive ways you have influenced my life through our personal interactions together. Respectfully submitted, Rev. Marvin O. Dynna Edmonton, Alberta
15: Example of Excellence I have so much appreciated the example of excellence that you have set for me as a professor and a program director. Thanks for taking the time also to share some of your wisdom with me along the way. Sitting in on your class one time was a great joy and an eye opening experience to what the students are always raving about. I have tried to recreate my study guides and my classroom instruction along the lines of what I have seen. One of my goals is to maintain the same focus, passion, discretion, and excellence that I have observed from you over the last eight years! Dr. Ron Powell
16: “A Scholar and Gentlemen!” In the spring of 1989, as Dr. Franklin took over the reins of the President’s Office, he kindly asked me if I might consider becoming the new Academic Dean of the college. During our first one-to-one interview, he indicated “Larry, we have a huge job to do, and some don’t feel we can do itbut, you are one of the men I want to help me see it through!” Needless to say, I was deeply moved and challenged to rise to the occasion and give all that I could to the rebirth of Northwest Bible College.As a result, I accepted the gracious offer without fully comprehending how dramatically the appointment would positively impact my life and ministry forever.
17: Through his leadership and tutorage, he passionately modeled excellence within the sphere of higher Christian education. His “knowledge on fire” was unquestionably demonstrated within the classroom, influencing generations of men and women [students and fellow professors alike]. His intelligent fervor influenced our organizational and administrative structures as well ultimately leading us toward full accreditation status,, | new and enhanced programs options and superb faculty development. Serving along side of him through these exciting times taught me how to create, design, implement and instruct with enthusiasm and joy always looking for the “twist”, for successful achievement of the “plusing principle”. Thank you Gordon, I have taken those same principles and practices into the ministry of the local church since leaving Vanguard. YOU ARE A TRUE SCHOLAR! Yet, Dr. Franklin is more than a first rate leader and teacher, Gordon is an honorable man with a gentle and tender heart. Truly, he proved his unfailing, uncompromising friendship to me while I was at the college, but more important he has continued to bless me with his beautiful spirit since my leaving the ministry of Vanguard.
18: With a friend of such integrity, Gordon has taught me to build and nurture friendships, through “thick and thin”! Gordon is no “fair weather friend”! As a result, he has taught me how to conduct myself with dignity and cordiality with others. Blessings to you my good friend! YOU ARE A FOREVER FRIEND Colleen, Lance, Summer and I love you very much, along with Joy! Thank you for beautifying our lives and ministry! From one Irishman to another,,, Sincerely Larry Gordon Lindoff
19: Big Shoes to Fill “Your shoes are too big!” It wasn’t a complaint, and yet much more than just a mere observation. I suppose it was more of a sense of surrender to the daunting task of following someone who I admire so much.
20: Not only was he one of my professors, back in the day at NBC, but I have considered him a model to follow, one of my mentors, even though I spent much of my ministry life provinces away. I would hear his voice, and desired to emulate all that I had seen in him. The truth is, whenever I would speak of him, as I often did, it was always framed as being “one of my heroes!” [I’m not being paid to write this ... it’s the truth] Now I am very aware how both time and distance can allow certain ideas to grow exponentially, and legends are born. | So this brings me to three years ago, as our daughter was leaving to attend Vanguard. I have to be honest, in a quiet moment one day, I wondered to myself, “after 30 some years, I wonder if he still has it?” However, the short, rapid ‘texts’ from my daughter after the first lecture in “Paul” assured me that he still has it! And now to this past year, having the surreal privilege of having an office next to my “hero,” seeing him in action, watching him preparing himself early in the morning, has affirmed everything that I have admired and appreciated of him through the years.
21: Allow me to attempt to define “it.” A passion for handling, applying and teaching the truth of scripture. He set the standard high. A genuine delight and determination to see a younger generation find their place within the body of Christ.. He invested freely. | A consistent demonstration of excellence in absolutely everything that he puts his hand to do [You really should see this duct tape vest ... although I think Joy’s hands were involved as well]. Finally I would have to say that I have and continue to observe an unbridled willingness to serve, to do what needs to be done for the sake of the kingdom. And we have all benefited from that service. I am forever indebted for his investment in my life, in the life and development of my own children and the generations of students who have sat under his ministry and influence. I know that I’m supposed to be able to call him by his first name but ... Thank you Dr. Franklin for who you are, and all you have done. Rev. Mark MacKnight
22: I remember when Gordon and Joy Franklin moved to Edmonton in the 1970s. They were such a sharp young couple. Gordon’s teaching gifts were immediately evident at Northwest Bible College (NBC) and in our church, Central Pentecostal Tabernacle, where I was Youth Pastor at the time. Both Gordon and Joy, along with Rachelle and then young Mark, fit into our church culture and ministry so well. They made a valuable contribution. | Tribute to Dr. Gordon Franklin
23: Our journey took us to Calgary and then to Ontario so we watched the growth and development of the College from a distance. Over the years we heard so much good about Gordon’s teaching, public communication and his service in a variety of college leadership roles. We received a cassette tape with a special vision message for the College, very ‘heady’ stuff for its day and we were impressed. It was a delight to hear of his appointment as President. Under his leadership the College made significant gains in program development, accreditation and student outreach and development. | The accreditation leaders described NBC as a jet gaining altitude upward at a rapid rate. His leadership made us proud to be alumni. When I began service as President in 1994, the College was in high gear. Gordon passed the torch to me in a very professional and Christ like manner. I still have the orientation booklet he prepared, a real treasure of key information I would find very valuable as an ongoing reference. Over almost eight years I had first-hand opportunity to see Gordon’s life and ministry close up and I was never disappointed.
24: NBC Fighting Saints | This man is a very capable preacher and teacher. He is organized, a gifted word-smith and has a strong eye for graphic application. The print materials generated at NBC under his leadership were second to none. His love for hockey and the success of the “Fighting Saints” was a microcosm of who he was as a person and leader. He exudes passion. He loves team effort and is always willing to pay the price in going the distance for any worthwhile venture. He is thoughtful and considerate. Working with him was a real joy and always a stretch to a standard of excellence that brought glory to Christ. | In addition to all this, he is a strong family man and a great example as a husband, father and grandfather. I salute you, Gordon. Thanks for your example, your leadership and friendship. Rev. Gerald Johnson
25: People who lead like that grab your attention and gain your respect. Three years later I met someone else with that same ability. One November morning in 1988, I sat in an Edmonton McDonald’s restaurant with Dr, Gordon Franklin. He was curious about my background in team outreach training and ministry, and in his bright and articulate way presented me with a great challenge. He had a big vision for Northwest Bible College, and part of that vision was to see a discipleship school with a strong missions emphasis birthed at NBC. | Great Leadership The power of letting go I spent some time in Washington D.C. during the height of the Reagan administration. Ronald Reagan was marked by the ability to set broad policy and general ground rules, his ability to communicate to people what he wanted them to do, and then his willingness to let them do it.
26: I was honoured that he would consider me the one who could help him fulfill the vision, and I immediately went to work creating the template for what would become, "His Majesty’s Service" (HMS). For the five years of Dr. Frankin’s presidency, I directed HMS. Working with this remarkable man, I came away with one primary lesson from his leadership example. It must be said that there were many lessons that were wonderfully taught, but this particular lesson was easily caught.. The lesson is this: Appoint a person you believe in to do a job and then fully release that person to do that job.
27: HMS Team 1989-1990 | Dr. Franklin greeted me recently by saying, “Let me shake the hand that shook the world”. None of that—a direct presentation of the Gospel to a half a million people on 5 continents—would have happened without that full release. --Craig Eagle | HMS Team 2010-2011
28: Dr. Franklin A Man of Passion My story about Dr Franklin starts in 1987 but doesn’t end until this year. I was a brand new worship leader at Evangel Assembly and getting my feet wet in the PAOC credentialing process. I was encouraged by Pastor Keith Smith to take some Bible College courses in pursuit of my credentials. I asked which ones I should take first and, without hesitation, I was told not what course to take, but what teacher to be under. Dr Franklin was the hands down recommendation so with high hopes I enrolled in Paul’s Life and quickly realized I was being taught by no ordinary teacher.
29: Dr Franklin, you came to every class with passion, energy, colourful verbs and nouns, you were lively and of course knowledgeable. I was not just receiving information, but a reason to be passionate about this subject and ultimately was shown what a good teacher should be like. Over the next couple of years, I enrolled in whatever course you taught knowing that I would never be disappointed. There was one thing, however, that always grabbed my attention and moved me more than you will ever know. It was when you would tear up or become emotional as you would talk in a reverent manner about the power and awe of the Word of God. I know this was not an act because over the years I have watched you preach and teach from the Word with the same reverence and respect that you said it should have.
30: This has played no small roll in my own life that as I prepare to talk, teach or preach from the Word of God, that I will also one day give an account for my treatment of it. I said that my story doesn’t end until this year. Over the last three years, I have had the joy of seeing my two daughters come to Vanguard for one year. They inevitably have come to me and said, “Dad, what courses do you recommend?” I guess you know what my response was. “Since you are only going to the college for one year, take as many courses that you can with Dr. Franklin.” | They haven’t been disappointed either. In their own words, your classes are their favorites because you have passion for what you teach and a reverence for the Word of God. I would like to add one more thing. As a worship leader, I have seen over the years the tension that can come in a pastor/worship leader relationship when their rolls are not defined. When you were President of the college, I never sensed a tension from you at all and in fact I felt there was a partnership that I have tried to instill in the students with the saying you have said many times, “Worship in song and worship in the Word.” It is a marriage of two God ordained elements, working together for the glory and honour of the Lord. Dr Franklin it has been a privilege to work along side you and to have learnt what I have from you.. God bless you in this new phase of your journey with the Lord. Rev Gerry Paulson
31: I'll Never Forget We have had so many laughs and talks together since 2005. I will never forget the deep belly laughs, where we laughed so hard that we felt like we were going to crack off a rib. I will never forget the deep talks about ministry: the kind of talks where the soul is laid bare, and the kind, encouraging words that you poured into me. I will never forget the birthday gifts and cards, that you gave me, my wife, and each of my children, every year. I will never forget the things you taught me about ministry along the way, such as, “it is all about function” and, “is Jesus in the boat?”
32: Gordon, you have been a great example to me and taught me much about how to cope with difficult situations, and how to live in the midst of them. Jesus said, in Luke 6:40, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” Many of the lessons you taught me have become internalized and they are, now, my own values. Thank-you for being my teacher. Love in Christ, Rev. Mark Wall
33: Trusted with Much It would be virtually impossible to sum up the experiences of over thirty years of personal and ministry experience with Dr. Franklin. Heaven will reveal the unseen, unknown and often unacknowledged contributions of this man's life to so many that had the privilege of having his acquaintance. His life was a testament to the highest ideals of a Christian. He strove for excellence in all his endeavors.
34: I found through the highs and lows of our years together that Dr. Franklin brooked no paltry attempts at any mediocrity. He was an example of how to approach arduous tasks and difficult challenges with ensuing success. With him there was no reserve. He gave his everything to that which he was entrusted with. When he studied he studied; when he preached he preached with passion; when he sang, well he sang with abandon; but when he prayed he prayed with an experienced intimacy. When you live your life like this there are no regrets. There are no second thoughts or pauses. He gave his life openly and freely. There was no retreat on the non-negotiables of life. When I came to the College so many years ago Gordon and Joy embraced me as more than colleagues. We were friends. Rev. Brad Fawcett
35: The faculty at Vanguard College Thank you for 35 wonderful years!