Jeff Kahl resigns Project 14 ... Northland deal "seriously impeded"

P14GM ANNOUNCEMENT

It is with great regret that we must announce that, for personal reasons, Jeff Kahl has resigned his position as Executive Director of Project 14 Global Missions. This is effective immediately. Please pray for Jeff and his family as he seeks the Lord’s will for his life. We want to thank Jeff for tirelessly working to promote world missions and the other endeavors of P14GM.

Because of Jeff's departure from P14GM, this seriously impedes our ability to assume control and operation of the Northland campus. We are currently reviewing our options, and the Board of P14GM is working with the current Board of Northland to determine the best course of action. Further announcements will be forthcoming as soon as any decisions are made.

Respectfully, P14GM Board 

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Craig Toliver's picture

http://p14gm.org/savenorthland/endorsements/dr-marty-von

 

“Recently I received a call from Mr. Jeff Kahl expressing his heart for the ministry of Northland. He reminded me of how he came as a student and how his life was transformed by the truths of transparency, obedience, and the “works of God” that he experienced in his own life. I was blessed and encouraged by his testimony as he shared with me what God was doing in his life currently.

He told me about his laboring in prayer and his overwhelming burden and compassion for an empty campus that was used as a camp, conference center, and academic institution. He spoke of how he was stirred by God’s spirit to a calling of rescue and restoration.

TylerR's picture

Editor

A while back, I was a member of a church that closed down. The last Pastor and the deacons tried very hard. I know, because I helped them. Nothing worked. The Pastor eventually left to take another Pastorate because he quite literally couldn't be supported at all. We had to sell the building, and we closed the whole thing down concurrent with the sale.

What I learned through that process is that . . . sometimes the Lord is just finished with a ministry. You can scratch your head until it starts bleeding trying to figure out why. In the case of this church, I know why, but that's not important. The Lord had accomplished what He wanted through that local church and, for a variety of reasons, He didn't want it to continue. As we reflect on what has happened to NIU over the past few years, I wonder if the Lord isn't, well . . . finished with that ministry. People can point fingers (they have done so, and they'll no doubt continue), but the bottom line may be that God is just done with that ministry. 

If so, then praise God for what He accomplished through it, stop looking back with nostalgia, and just press forward. He has other things planned for the future, I'm sure! 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K's picture

The warning signs were there. People just didn't want to see them.

Some wanted to save Northland.

Some wanted to save Fundamentalism.

Jonathan Charles's picture

Amen!  Institutions, like people have a race to run, and when you've run it, it's over.  To not recognize that risks closing down in a way that doesn't honor Christ (unpaid bills).  

mmartin's picture

Jim wrote:

 for personal reasons, Jeff Kahl has resigned his position as Executive Director of Project 14 Global Missions

Like:

  • What personal reasons?
  • Why immediately?
  • What changed and when?
  • What will happen to the funds?

 

Agreed!  I think after all that impassioned plea for support and monetary donations, a deeper explanation would be good.

Why resign now?  What happened between two weeks ago and now?  Did Kahl, PG14, & Northland know about whatever caused this resignation when they were asking for support?

Jay's picture

August 2: 

Northland Camp and Retreat Center will have a full printed annual schedule soon, including family camps, youth camps, and specialty events. Northland is not closed, but very much alive. I invite you to make your summer 2016 plans soon at the recently revived Northland Camp in Dunbar, Wisconsin. Volunteer groups needed as soon as possible.

-Jeff Kahl FB page

Yesterday:

It is with great regret that we must announce that, for personal reasons, Jeff Kahl has resigned his position as Executive Director of Project 14 Global Missions. This is effective immediately. Please pray for Jeff and his family as he seeks the Lord’s will for his life.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, I think.

As for NIU - I don't know what to say anymore.  I'm somewhat happy that the surrender of the property and assets to a board with KJVO leanings (or explicit doctrinal positions) has been temporarily stopped because I would not want to see the school go that route.  But I have to admit that maybe there really is just no way to save it.  Maybe the SBC comes back again or something like that, but...it certainly doesn't look good.

God knows what He's doing, which is good because I certainly don't know myself.

edit - On second glance, Jeff was talking about the summer 2016 schedule.  So why has the P14GM board said that it's in jeopardy already? Appoint an interim director for the camp.  It shouldn't be that hard to keep the ship moving in that direction this early.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

mmartin's picture

Andrew K wrote:

The warning signs were there. People just didn't want to see them.

Some wanted to save Northland.

Some wanted to save Fundamentalism.

 

What warning signs do you mean?

Personally, I had my doubts the PG14 option would work because of the cost of maintaining an infrastructure like that and the time and money it would take to gain traction with regional and national churches and organizations.  Certainly our God can provide whatever is needed, just saying it would've been a steep hill to climb.  Never would've expected this though.

I agree about some wanted to save Northland, but disagree about some wanted to save Fundamentalism.

I think Tyler has a point that sometimes the Lord is finished with a ministry, or maybe He has another plan in the works to be unveiled later.  I do not believe it was the Lord's plan for Northland to behave like it did over the last several year's. But for now with the PG14/Kahl situation, this appears to be the case.

Bert Perry's picture

My take regarding Jim's questions is that if they hadn't clued in to what a firestorm a KJVO-leaning school in the northwoods would cause, they were definitely not looking close enough to figure out that Mr. Kahl had some issues.  I could be wrong, but that's my gut here.

And really, that's the core of what they've got to take a look at; did they all get so excited about the prospects that they didn't mind their ps & qs?  Did they have a profile of the Baptist churches within 100, 200, 500 miles of Northland?  Did they know how many young people were going to camp, and how far they were going?  Did they have a profile of the camps available to these churches, and what they offer?  Do they have a description of what kind of churches might feed Northland--are they evangelical, evangelical leading into fundamental, mainline fundamental, Hyles/SOTL/KJVO fundamental, or what, broadly speaking?

.....and so on and so forth.  Not that (per Tyler's comment) human planning always gets God's blessings, but..... Proverbs 21:5 again, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

My take regarding Jim's questions is that if they hadn't clued in to what a firestorm a KJVO-leaning school in the northwoods would cause, they were definitely not looking close enough to figure out that Mr. Kahl had some issues.  I could be wrong, but that's my gut here.

And really, that's the core of what they've got to take a look at; did they all get so excited about the prospects that they didn't mind their ps & qs?  Did they have a profile of the Baptist churches within 100, 200, 500 miles of Northland?  Did they know how many young people were going to camp, and how far they were going?  Did they have a profile of the camps available to these churches, and what they offer?  Do they have a description of what kind of churches might feed Northland--are they evangelical, evangelical leading into fundamental, mainline fundamental, Hyles/SOTL/KJVO fundamental, or what, broadly speaking?

.....and so on and so forth.  Not that (per Tyler's comment) human planning always gets God's blessings, but..... Proverbs 21:5 again, no?

Bert, I have no dog in this fight but could you possibly be more ignorantly speculative here? Do you think it just might make some sense to know what you are talking about before you judge what happened here? How do you know about the due diligence behind this deal? How do you know what is behind the Kahl thing and how do you know they should have found it out? Do you think it is just possible that there are people that know more about the feasibility of a camp there than you do?

MOD NOTE: A moderator edited this post

Bert Perry's picture

Greg, I'm flattered by the attention you give my comment, but you might do well to take a good look at the comments around the original post.  Numerous commenters here--including multiple friends and graduates of Northland--raised their eyebrows at the SOTL/KJVO flavor that seemed to inhabit part of the board of directors.  This point is clearly from evidence.

Regarding the other point about due diligence, it flows from the first--if you don't consider how the community will react to SOTL/KJVO tendencies, five will get you ten that you're missing other key parameters.  And voila--a read through the business plan (which seems to have disappeared) tells us that they were going to take possession of the camp and THEN decide what buildings to mothball, and THEN figure out how many campers they would be likely to have, etc..  Fact is that their business plan was really a draft marketing plan, and multiple commenters in the previous thread made comments to that effect   This is buttressed by the fact that Jeff Kahl's departure ended the deal--usually you design an enterprise to be robust vs. the departure of one person when you do it right (google "single point of failure" in quality engineering and management).  

Again, point clearly from evidence.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

No speculation at all - one has to marvel at the weirdness:

  • Project 14 has an open enough  doctrinal statement (I would call it opaque or vague) to raise questions (eg about versions)
  • Their board has a decidedly more conservative orientation (speaking charitably) or right wing fundamentalism (more pejoratively) with the likes of Mark Monte
  • Kudos to Jeff Kahl's raising half a million in three weeks
  • But then his abrupt departure less than 1 week after the acquisition announcement  .... 
  • followed by the announcement that the deal probably is off

On top of all the drama surrounding Northland in the past ... we haven't changed ... yes we have ... against CCM ... Big Daddy Weave .... gifted to Southern ... that's off ... closing ... must raise $ 1.2 in 3 weeks ... and the rest. 

All this makes one's head spin. One would have to be crazy to see this as less than bizarre. 

Barry L.'s picture

 Why is there so much emotion invested in bricks and dirt?

Bert Perry's picture

Barry, point well taken, and if I had to bet a nickel, I am guessing that the Northland grads and other lovers of Northland would tell you that it holds a special place in their hearts--it's just real estate, yes, but it's a bit of real estate close to their hearts.  They want what was good about Northland to continue.  Hey, I've got not much of a dog in this hunt, too, and I'd concur.  What's good....hey, I'd love that to continue, too.

Point #2--for the lovers of Northland with green eyeshades--is that there is also a lot of capital on those 640 acres, and a glance at that capital suggests that there aren't too many uses for that property except for "small division 3 college, especially an independent fundamental Baptist Bible college."   So you've got the innate response to sunk costs as well, combined with the desire to honor God with what the Patzes contributed to the enterprise--they sunk how much into this, and the best we can come up with for this property is bupkis?  

Just real estate, yes, but real estate and a legacy that can, and ought to, be mourned since it didn't work out.  Hopefully someone figures out a good use for the property, too.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Barry L. wrote:

 Why is there so much emotion invested in bricks and dirt?

Because those "bricks and dirt" had a staff that changed thousands of lives?  There were 800 students when I was there.  There were probably that many again with faculty and families and community touchpoints. It may look small, but it had a big impact, especially in the 'local' area, especially in Iron Mountain, where a lot of local commerce took place (simply because there wasn't really anywhere else to go).

And finally because whether people want to admit it or not, the atmosphere and spirit of the NIU community was different.  It was a special place, and that's why I miss it.  How much are your memories worth?  Are there any camps or retreats that you went to where you made massive, life-altering decisions like pursuing ministry full time, or where you got saved, or where you finally admitted you needed help to break a bad habit of sin?

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

mmartin's picture

Jay wrote:

 

Barry L. wrote:

 

 Why is there so much emotion invested in bricks and dirt?

 

 

Because those "bricks and dirt" had a staff that changed thousands of lives?  There were 800 students when I was there.  There were probably that many again with faculty and families and community touchpoints. It may look small, but it had a big impact, especially in the 'local' area, especially in Iron Mountain, where a lot of local commerce took place (simply because there wasn't really anywhere else to go).

And finally because whether people want to admit it or not, the atmosphere and spirit of the NIU community was different.  It was a special place, and that's why I miss it.  How much are your memories worth?  Are there any camps or retreats that you went to where you made massive, life-altering decisions like pursuing ministry full time, or where you got saved, or where you finally admitted you needed help to break a bad habit of sin?

 

Jay, well said!

mmartin's picture

Jim wrote:

No speculation at all - one has to marvel at the weirdness:

  • Project 14 has an open enough  doctrinal statement (I would call it opaque or vague) to raise questions (eg about versions)
  • Their board has a decidedly more conservative orientation (speaking charitably) or right wing fundamentalism (more pejoratively) with the likes of Mark Monte
  • Kudos to Jeff Kahl's raising half a million in three weeks
  • But then his abrupt departure less than 1 week after the acquisition announcement  .... 
  • followed by the announcement that the deal probably is off

On top of all the drama surrounding Northland in the past ... we haven't changed ... yes we have ... against CCM ... Big Daddy Weave .... gifted to Southern ... that's off ... closing ... must raise $ 1.2 in 3 weeks ... and the rest. 

All this makes one's head spin. One would have to be crazy to see this as less than bizarre. 

Truth is stranger than fiction, no?  Who could've thought this stuff up in their wildest dreams?

Steve Newman's picture

Yes, but....

Jim wrote:

Maranatha is:

  • Wisconsin based (200 m by road)
  • Doctrinally balanced
  • Fiscally conservative
  • And appears to be very well run

Maranatha has decent facilities, and if they are wise, aren't looking for a money pit. It would be a better fit for a group with people, money, and no facilities.

Rob Fall's picture

you had a friendly attitude towards West Point on the Rock (River) aka MBU.  I wouldn't wish the Northland campus on my friends, my enemies maybe, but not my friends.

'Sides, MBU got its reputation for fiscal fitness by not getting stupid.

Jim wrote:

Maranatha is:

  • Wisconsin based (200 m by road)
  • Doctrinally balanced
  • Fiscally conservative
  • And appears to be very well run

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jay's picture

Well, as an alumnus, I suppose I would rather see NIU in arch-rival MBBC's hands than closed...but it's pretty close. Wink

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Rob Fall's picture

it would be a different ballgame.  But as I understand the situation, we aren't.

Jay wrote:

Well, as an alumnus, I suppose I would rather see NIU in arch-rival MBBC's hands than closed...but it's pretty close. Wink

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Barry L.'s picture

Jay wrote:

 

Barry L. wrote:

 

 Why is there so much emotion invested in bricks and dirt?

 

 

Because those "bricks and dirt" had a staff that changed thousands of lives?  There were 800 students when I was there.  There were probably that many again with faculty and families and community touchpoints. It may look small, but it had a big impact, especially in the 'local' area, especially in Iron Mountain, where a lot of local commerce took place (simply because there wasn't really anywhere else to go).

And finally because whether people want to admit it or not, the atmosphere and spirit of the NIU community was different.  It was a special place, and that's why I miss it.  How much are your memories worth?  Are there any camps or retreats that you went to where you made massive, life-altering decisions like pursuing ministry full time, or where you got saved, or where you finally admitted you needed help to break a bad habit of sin?

 

But it was the people, not the buildings that made it special. The people are not there anymore. God has led them elsewhere. Whatever Christian organization moves in will be a disappointment to the Alumni because it won't be the same people or spirit they remember. Yes, they have memories, but don't the memories live on even when strucutures fade away?

Jim's picture

https://unknowing.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/relatively-silent/

This is the Northland heart, if you will. Northland fires Olson, Northland rehires him and then he is gone. Northland has gone to Southern, Northland is of the North again, Southern gets the guy with a PhD from Oxford who . . . was at Northland. Northland is saved and on the new board you have the glowing face of Monte Pastor, of the bus ministry. IDIOT-G celebrates the recapture, but there are no congratulatory comments (that is weird–weirdest). Then for personal reasons, the six person (three couples) organization raising the 1.2 millions loses one of the captain and . . . prayer is being requested, not money.

Curioser and curioser, isn’t it?

Personal theory of what’s happening: Jeff Kahl used the word “impact” so widely and irresponsibly in his letter of jubilation that all the sensible people immediately asked him to resign on the ground that words matter.

mmartin's picture

Jim wrote:

https://unknowing.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/relatively-silent/

This is the Northland heart, if you will. Northland fires Olson, Northland rehires him and then he is gone. Northland has gone to Southern, Northland is of the North again, Southern gets the guy with a PhD from Oxford who . . . was at Northland. Northland is saved and on the new board you have the glowing face of Monte Pastor, of the bus ministry. IDIOT-G celebrates the recapture, but there are no congratulatory comments (that is weird–weirdest). Then for personal reasons, the six person (three couples) organization raising the 1.2 millions loses one of the captain and . . . prayer is being requested, not money.

Curioser and curioser, isn’t it?

Personal theory of what’s happening: Jeff Kahl used the word “impact” so widely and irresponsibly in his letter of jubilation that all the sensible people immediately asked him to resign on the ground that words matter.

I have no idea what half of this means. What did the writer mean by IDIOT-G & no congratulatory comments, the guy with an Oxford degree, and the comment about Kahl talking about "impact" & "words matter?"

Andrew K's picture

mmartin wrote:

 

Jim wrote:

https://unknowing.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/relatively-silent/

This is the Northland heart, if you will. Northland fires Olson, Northland rehires him and then he is gone. Northland has gone to Southern, Northland is of the North again, Southern gets the guy with a PhD from Oxford who . . . was at Northland. Northland is saved and on the new board you have the glowing face of Monte Pastor, of the bus ministry. IDIOT-G celebrates the recapture, but there are no congratulatory comments (that is weird–weirdest). Then for personal reasons, the six person (three couples) organization raising the 1.2 millions loses one of the captain and . . . prayer is being requested, not money.

Curioser and curioser, isn’t it?

Personal theory of what’s happening: Jeff Kahl used the word “impact” so widely and irresponsibly in his letter of jubilation that all the sensible people immediately asked him to resign on the ground that words matter.

 

 

I have no idea what half of this means. What did the writer mean by IDIOT-G & no congratulatory comments, the guy with an Oxford degree, and the comment about Kahl talking about "impact" & "words matter?"

Yeah, I'm still puzzling over a lot of that myself. Though I think the bit about "impact" was a sarcastic poke at the overuse of the term in the initial announcement.

Jay's picture

Craig Toliver wrote:

IDIOT-G celebrates the recapture, but there are no congratulatory comments (that is weird–weirdest). 

http://indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-failed-niu-to-be-re...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that he's referring to Martuneac's rag as well, although I hadn't seen that article.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

Southern gets the guy with a PhD from Oxford who . . . was at Northland

http://www.boycecollege.com/academics/faculty/jonathan-arnold/

Jonathan Arnold: The University of Oxford; D.Phil. The University of Oxford

...

Most recently, Arnold served as Vice President of Student Services and Professor of Theological Studies at Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisconsin. He has written The Reformed Theology of Benjamin Keach (CBHH, 2013) along with numerous articles, book chapters, and book reviews for various publications. He is a Fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies (SBTS) and a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage (Oxford).

mmartin's picture

OK, thank you to those clarifying the IDIOT-G and Northland/Oxford questions.

Can anybody help with the comment about Kahl using the word "impact" and "sensible people" asking him to resign on the grounds that words matter?

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