Yellowstone Theological Institute is blessed to have William Fowler on board as Provost. He joins YTI from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. The following interview highlights YTI’s endeavors in theological work, as well as some of Bill’s interests and joys.
How has your history of studying and teaching religion influenced your decision to move forward with YTI?
My earliest teaching experience was at the Canadian Baptist Theological College. The CBTC was an effort to provide theological training for Canadian students to minister in a Canadian culture with a distinct Baptist flavor. We provided theological training for the region so that ministers could both stay with their congregations and still be equipped to do ministry in their setting. At YTI, we are intentionally culturally conscious and regionally focused so that we can apply the same concept to our teaching, with a focus in the Rocky Mountain Northwest that will equip them to do ministry in a variety of settings.
YTI is also intentionally relational. We believe that the Gospel moves most quickly and powerfully through relationships, and that churches grow best when people are connected by strong, healthy relationships. Hinder or block healthy relationships and you hinder the flow of the Gospel and its redemptive power in our world. As our faculty and staff live out relationships that reflect respect, care, appreciation, humility, inter-dependence, freedom, support, understanding, love, and vulnerability, students will grow in that environment and learn how to foster healthy relationships in Christian community as well.
At YTI, I sense the importance of what we were doing at the CBTC, the wealth of relationships we enjoyed at HPU, and the quality of education that I received both at HPU and at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary where I completed my M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees. YTI excites and delights me. I am blessed to be part of it.
What are you looking forward to most about working with YTI? About living in Montana?
For starters, I look at the team of people, faculty and staff, that God has put together for this new seminary and my heart swells with anticipation! I am ready to rock with this band of brothers and sisters. Then, I want to get to know the pastors and other missional leaders in the Rocky Mountain Northwest. They have so much to teach me, and I want them to sense that YTI is there to support them too. Additionally, I can’t wait to meet and work with the men and women who will trust us and come to YTI to be trained.
As far as Montana goes, there was, years ago, a commercial for Pontiac with the tagline “Life’s better in Montana.” I’ve never doubted it. Some people have expressed concern about the cold, but I lived 14 Saskatchewan winters, which are like dog years. You get seven years credit for every winter in Saskatchewan. My only concern is that if I ever want to venture away from the Gallatin Valley in the winter, I’ll need 4WD.
You’ve just had an addition to your family, a grandson. Would you tell us a little about him?
His name is William Fowler, born 8 days after my birthday in March. Greeting my new (and so far only) grandchild and then leaving him is one of the most difficult aspects of this transition, but God has given Dianne (my wife) and I peace.
If you find some free time in the chaos of moving, what might we find you doing?
I have a fly rod for Northern Pike fishing in Saskatchewan, but I’ll need to learn the finesse of stream fishing for trout. It’s a whole new world to explore. I also love to play basketball. There is a retired pastor who plays regularly at the gym near my new home, and he’s even older than I am (I’m 62). I’m working on the theory that you don’t quit playing because you get old, you get old because you quit playing. The fact that they have a hot-water whirlpool at the gym sounds good too. I may be able to survive.