Giese takes the helm at Oak Hills

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

By Joe Bowen - The Bemidji Pioneer

About 200 students, academics, and other community members formally welcomed a new leader to the Oak Hills Christian College fold.

Martin Giese was named the small college’s 10th president last summer, and was formally inaugurated to that job Friday night by a series of school officials and faith leaders, who clustered around Giese and his wife Marcia to pray for them.

“You have called them to a great task, Father,” said Jeff Vogel, the vice chairman of the school’s board of directors. “You have, we believe, prepared Marty and Marcia both for the challenges, for the opportunities. You've given Marty skills, understanding, insight. We just pray that you would give them strength, bind them together, give them strength from one another and from You.”

The inauguration wasn’t all serious business, though: Giese’s brother Douglas used some of his time at the podium to rag on the new president’s headwear preferences.

“Marty thinks that dressing in layers is fashionable,” Douglas Giese joked as he put on a floppy, blaze orange winter hat over a second, black one with ear flaps. “He does not want to have drafts on his head.”

Giese said that God is not committed to the survival of humans or their institutions; but He is committed to upholding His glory and, therefore, it’s in the best interest of any institution to share that commitment.

“As we do that, we can expect to experience the grace of God and the guidance of God and the provision of God and the glory of God through all of the time that He has appointed to us,” he said. “And that, loved ones, I submit to you, as my friends, is worth giving our lives to. That matters forever.”

Giese attended Oak Hills himself in the mid-70s, and spent the past 20-plus years as a senior pastor at Faithbridge Church in Park Rapids. In a late August interview with the Pioneer, he said his priorities will include expanding the school’s ministry department, making Camp Oak Hills year-round, building the Center for Indian Ministries, and adding a “fast track” program for mid-career professionals who want to become pastors.