Spring Conference is an important tradition of Boise Bible College. Since the very beginning, the college has sponsored a gathering in May to both preach and teach God’s Word and to connect with our alumni, students, and friends. Starting this week, we plan to highlight the twelve alumni speakers for this year’s spring conference. We start with Chuck Sackett (BA ‘72) and Gail (CWC ‘72) his wife of nearly 50 years (August 2020 will be 50).
“In recent years especially, I’ve appreciated the way Boise Bible College has held on to Biblical values and yet moved ahead, seeking to meet the new world of the 21st century. It’s not an easy balance to maintain. But, it appears they are doing it. Scholarship, humility, community, and innovation all resonate with my experiences.”
Chuck grew up in Star, Idaho, and Gail in Emmett, just 15 miles apart but they did not meet until they came to BBC. Gail had grown up in the church, but Chuck became a Christian in high school. They were both influenced by their youth ministers; David (BA ‘68) and Sherry Henry encouraged Gail to attend BBC, and Chuck was encouraged by Garry (BA ‘66) and Gwen Yeager. Bob Ballard (BA ‘55) challenged him at church camp to consider ministry.
He came to BBC to learn some basics about his commitment to Jesus. What he found out was just how ignorant he was! He came back for a second year and in his words, “God tricked me into considering preaching!” While at BBC, Kenny Beckman kept him encouraged and focused.
Chuck remembers meeting in the old church building at 18th and Eastman where classes were held from 7am to 12pm so everyone could work afternoon jobs. He has vivid memories of a “Philosophy” class with Edgar Nichols that met at 6am and a “Speech/Homiletics” class taught by Kenny Beckman. Kenny would go to the back in the cry room and turn off his hearing aids. Then they were expected to preach loud enough for him to hear. One day Chuck was trying to get through a pretty bad sermon and another student (who he refuses to name) had fallen asleep. Kenny stood beside Chuck and told him to preach loud enough and long enough to wake him up! (Chuck says he failed.)
His best memory about Boise Bible College is meeting Gail. And Gail recalls seeing Chuck as mature beyond his years. Chuck remembers: “Life was fun at BBC in many ways: Football games in front of the old dorms, running around in Vickie Bandera’s VW bug, going to Table Rock for impromptu worship services and going to Julia Davis and Ann Morrison parks to try to share Christ with the people there.”
Chuck has great memories of working with his roommate, Steve Shold (BA ‘72). He recalls that it was a spring preaching trip with Bob and Joan Ballard and a singing group was part of his “call” to preach. He and Gail spent his senior year working at Caldwell Christian Church, Gail as secretary and Chuck as the janitor. They also worked with the youth, mostly junior high students that included people like Bobbie (Walker) Post and Bill Krause.
“Listen to what God is calling you to do. Recognize that all careers are ministry when God is present in them. But, if you are called to do something ‘professional’ do it, if not, you’ll never be satisfied. Someone told me early on, ‘If you can do anything but preach, do it.’ I couldn’t. So I preached . . . I still preach!”
After graduation from BBC, the Sacketts went to Garibaldi Church of Christ in Oregon for five years. Their three girls were born there. The church grew and they started a building project but left before it was finished. Then they served at Pontoon Beach Church of Christ in Granite City, IL where they stayed while attending Lincoln Christian Seminary. Chuck taught part-time at St. Louis Christian College for a time. In 1983 he started teaching full-time at Lincoln Christian College. Soon he was Chair of the Ministry Field until moving to the seminary.
During that time, he served in many interim ministries, preached at revivals, taught workshops and did consultations. In 1998 he went to Madison Park Christian Church in Quincy, IL for an interim ministry. He has been serving there ever since while teaching preaching at Lincoln Christian Seminary, much of the time teaching full-time. He is now in transition at Madison Park and shares the preaching. As of this January, Chuck is doing more resource work, theological teaching/equipping, and writing curriculum.
In 1995, Chuck started teaching for TCMI and has taught around 40 courses for various groups from Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. He has taught in a wide variety of countries and done some short-term mission travel. He has spoken at conferences around the world! So much has transpired since BBC for Chuck and Gail. In his words, “So much more than I would have ever expected. I am humbled at the opportunities God has provided!”
Chuck and Gail are proud parents and grandparents. They have three grown daughters. Michelle is a high school English teacher married to Joe Ryan, a financial/insurance advisor. Amy is a nurse practitioner in cardiac care and married to Scott Bates who is on staff at Madison Park. He does community and world outreach and maintenance. Jill is Vice-President of Student Development at Lincoln Christian University. Her husband, Frank Dicken is Vice President of Academics at Lincoln and teaches New Testament. Their grandson Garrett Aeilts will graduate from Lincoln in May; he was married in December to Jorja. He recently set the career 3-point record at LCU. They have a heart for missions.
Chuck often wondered if his BBC education would prepare him for seminary. It did! Not only did he and Gail get together at Boise Bible, but they also developed lifelong friendships. Some of the most important people in their life came during those years. They look forward to reuniting with them at Spring Conference this year. Kenny Beckman, Bob Ballard, and others modeled servant leadership for them as they worked tirelessly in the local church, camps, revivals, and taught extremely difficult loads all while administrating the school. He doesn’t recall anyone ever complaining.
They simply lived out their lives effectively as great examples. All of the faculty and staff spent hours building the new campus. It was literally built on the salaries and sweat of the BBC personnel.
The week of Spring Conference, Chuck will be the speaker for the alumni gathering on Monday, May 11th and the final evening session on Thursday the 14th. In addition, he will also present workshops.