Rods & Arrows

At the commencement celebration of the class of 1992, our former president Dr. Frank Damazio gave a powerful message to our graduating seniors. The message was titled “The Divine Secret of Ministry” based on Aaron’s Rod, which according to scripture had budded.

Since then, and for many years to come, alumnus Art Johansen who was also an elder, board member and director of facilities at our Portland Campus, would hand-pick branches from our grounds, and fashion them into budding rods. The rods were engraved with each graduate’s name and the Numbers 17:8 scripture. Art Johansen would graduate into Heaven in 2020; yet due to the pandemic, a memorial service was postponed until 2021 whereby our current president, Pastor Marc Estes would present the last rod to his widow, alumna Randi Johansen.

The Aaron’s Rod was officially retired marking a beautiful ending to this great tradition.

In place of the rods, a new tradition was established. The graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 received the first arrows. These authentic wooden arrows are engraved with each graduate’s name along with the Messianic scripture of Isaiah 49:2.

Watch this short clip of President Marc Estes’ Arrow Message

The Significance of the Rod
(an excerpt from our prior Graduation Ceremony description)

The Rod
The rod was a branch that was made of very hard, sun-baked, weather-beaten wood and was gnarled, knotted, and twisted.  A rod got its name from its stretching or extending itself.  A rod or staff was used for walking, sheepherding, chastisement, or snake killing.  It was the scepter of a king, an emblem of power.

The Symbolism
Our calling—our ministry—is a dead piece of wood unless it is touched by the divine power of God.  Aaron’s rod was given supernatural life that resulted in supernatural fruitfulness, the sign of divine approval.  Under the same divine atmosphere, the other rods could not be made alive but remained merely dry, twisted, desert sticks.

The Secret

The secret of becoming a fruitful rod instead of a dry stick is presenting ourselves constantly before His presence.  In ourselves we are dry and barren for our reliance is on God for our fruitfulness. A barren rod is not a personal reflection of the man, but the realization of a ministry limitation set by God’s grace, mercy and wisdom.  Ministry failure is probable when we refuse to come to terms with our limitations. The rod was placed in the Ark of the Covenant to preserve the fruitfulness of the chosen rod.  The fruit was to remain forever ripe, never to fade.  The Ark preserved the rod in never-fading beauty.  When we keep our ministry in the Ark, abiding daily in Christ’s presence, we will be refreshed with the revelation of God’s mind and purpose and endowed with fresh anointing.