Key player in Canadian leadership returns to his Saskatchewan roots

Posted: April 7, 2008

Dr. Paul Magnus, one of Canada's most sought-after minds in Christian leadership, is making a much-anticipated return to Briercrest Seminary as Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Management.

Briercrest Seminary already stands out in the Canadian evangelical landscape as a school with a distinct concern for developing excellent Christian leaders for ministry and for the marketplace. According to the school's administration, having Magnus back on board will enable the seminary to go to new heights in leadership development.

"For many years, the M.A. Leadership and Management program [at Briercrest] has been in need of a more full-time faculty presence, but like many other schools, it has not been easy to identify a candidate for such a position," said David Guretzki, Dean of Briercrest Seminary. "We knew that in terms of expertise of matters of leadership in the Canadian evangelical scene, Dr. Magnus is viewed as being a foremost authority. Given his long ties to Briercrest, the call to have him return...made perfect sense.

"Briercrest has for some time been identified as a premier place to study leadership and management," he continued. "Dr. Magnus' return will signal to our constituency and potential students that we are committed, now more than ever, to the ongoing need for leadership development."

Briercrest College and Seminary's present reputation may have something to do with Magnus' 38-year administrative and educational history with them. He helped build the little Bible school in the Prairies into the thriving, respected Christian post-secondary and graduate institution that it is. Furthermore, he was the original visionary for the seminary and its leadership program.

He stepped down as President in 2004 and has been engaged in a variety of leadership and teaching roles. He has chaired the boards of both the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (a post that he passed on to Bruce Clemenger only recently) and the Canadian Christian Higher Education Council, developed leadership curriculum, lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada, and assisted and coached churches in transition.

He also owns and operates his own leadership consulting business, PJ Magnus Coaching and Consulting Ltd. "I like to help people discover what could be, especially when the situation is difficult," he told Christian Week in 2005. "Life can be purposeful, and the future can be brighter than the past."

Clemenger echoes the voices who commend Magnus for this kind of outlook. "[He] provides a wonderful blending of organizational leadership experience and teaching excellence that makes him uniquely qualified to teach leadership and management," he said. "He has walked the walk and has a proven track record of helping others excel in their leadership."

In 2006, Magnus was appointed to the R.J. Bernando Chair of Leadership and Management at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, ON. He also began to lay the groundwork for a Doctor of Ministry program, and he left his mark.

"Dr. Magnus has a long and distinguished record as an outstanding Christian leader," said Dr. Janet Clark, Academic Dean of Tyndale Seminary, when he was appointed to the position. "We [were] delighted to have him join the Tyndale community."

In response to his decision to return to his roots, she said, "[He] has made an excellent contribution to leadership education at Tyndale during his two years with us. We wish God's blessing on him and on Briercrest as he returns to the community he has served and loved for so many years."

Magnus is accepting an invitation to return to Briercrest that has stood since he left in 2005 to allow the new leadership team at Briercrest to establish itself. Now, after two years at Tyndale, he and his wife, Jane, have the sense that their major goals have been accomplished and they would like to return west. "It [is] only natural that we would gravitate back to where we [have] served and built connections for so long," he said.

The institution's administration is in full agreement. "It is a delight to welcome Paul back to our campus to give direction to the Master of Arts in Leadership and Management program that he began," said Dr. Dwayne Uglem, President of Briercrest College and Seminary. "Paul understands the demands of leadership and he appreciates the realities of the prairies and the uniqueness of national leadership. Our students will be blessed with the opportunity to have Dr. Magnus facilitate their leadership development."