For Steve and Malana, the Jesus Revolution isn’t a movie. It’s their backstory. Steve was part of the counter-cultural, drug-fueled hippie movement of the 1960s, until the day Jesus met him and he found the purpose and calling he’d been searching for. Malana grew up in a traditional church but also became a hippie. She was radically impacted by the power of the Spirit and became eager to help others know Him too. The path they began then has led to places they would never have dreamed, from Alaska to Panama to Hawaii.
Steve’s path to PBC started in the summer of 1971. He and a friend and fellow new believer, George Elliot, worked as counselors at a junior high camp. One evening as they patrolled the woods around the camp, George heard a word from God to Steve, “drop everything and go to Oregon.” (For those who know George Elliot, he is no stranger to the prophetic and hearing from the Lord).” The only thing that Steve knew about Oregon was that it was where Portland Bible College was located. He made the trek a year after George did, enrolling in PBC in 1972.
The years at PBC set a foundation upon which the next 50 years of ministry would be built. He started classes the same year that Kevin Conner began teaching. Classes were invaluable, but what most impacted Steve was Kevin’s teaching on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. His favorite Kevin Conner quote is the phrase with which he introduced many ideas, “I’m going to give you some seed thoughts.” Steve’s life was forever changed by Kevin Conner as well as by Bob Stricker, the dean of PBC, whose teaching strongly influenced how Steve and Malana would raise their own family.
Malana got saved in a Pentecostal church. She was much more reserved than Steve but had a passion for the things of God and the move of the Holy Spirit. While Steve was venturing out to Oregon, Malana was part of a ministry based in Seattle which had an outreach home in Portland. Malana eventually moved to Portland to do outreach work in the area.
There she met Steve through a mutual friend. They got married in 1974 and started a family. She audited two classes at PBC while along with taking care of their kids while Steve finished his PBC program. Though not able to attend PBC full-time, she spent hours in the word of God because she knew God was going to use one day. She loved listening to Kevin Connor’s teachings, which impacted her greatly. And both she and Steve developed friendships that remain dear to them to this day.
Eventually, Steve and Malana Ganz, George and Susie Elliot, and a small band of others went back to Michigan. They planted a church in Port Huron together in 1979.
Both Steve and Malana loved their time at PBC and they recognize how impactful it was for both of them. The connection with PBC and Mannahouse (at the time Bible Temple) was a key factor in their vision for building ministries across different borders.
“It provided a seed and a foundation that has never changed. The depth of Word, worship, and Spirit has been carried in every aspect and in every way through every ministry they have been a part of building together. The anointing that was on the church and the school is very precious to us. It taught us so much.”Steve & Malana Ganz
One of Many Favorite Memories at Portland Bible College
Steve: “One morning a group of PBC Students from the Midwest were gearing up to drive back to Michigan for Christmas break (before we were married). George Elliot had bought this 1945 Dodge pickup and was going to drive it back to Michigan with the group, and I was riding with him. George got a check from his dad that morning before they left for the amount of $127.16. He folded it up and put it in his pocket, then we left for our trip. The truck that George had just purchased broke down as we crossed the mountains through Oregon. We urgently needed to find parts. We finally found what we needed at the junkyard. When they finished the work, we went up to the cashier to find out the cost. As the cashier was getting ready to tell him the total, George remembered the check in his pocket that his dad had given him before their trip. He stopped the cashier in mid-sentence and said, “Let me guess, the price is $127.16.” The cashier was shocked and responded back with a “Yes, actually its that exact price!” Both of us knew that the Lord was taking care of us.”
Malana: “Shortly after Steve and I started dating he took me to Valentine’s day event. The school wouldn’t call it that because it was too “worldly.” Coming from a very traditional Pentecostal background, I was nervous. It didn’t help that they were also playing this game that put me way outside my comfort zone. But I survived. I made it to dinner time and all people could talk about was how excited they were for Steve to have a girlfriend finally. Steve had dated many others, but he had never found someone he felt was the right fit. He was just happy to have found me, and his friends were so excited to see Steve happy and no longer mopey.”
One last comment to add. We have been a part of so many church plants and restructures throughout the years that were so different from the rich doctrine and worship we got at what we would call our home base, Mannahouse Church. The greatest initial action you can do is to meet people where they are at. You can’t lead by pushing people, nor being way out in front of people. You need to be a part of the group and learn to lead close by. God keeps sending us into groups of people that are not in a “move of God’s spirit.” We simply desire to be ourselves and nudge people to move along with us. With our current church, we came in a crisis and now they are thriving. We always felt like we haven’t arrived home as we were pastoring different kinds of churches but had a strong foundation and people that loved us who could pour into us in those moments of feeling “homesick.” But we also had such great moments of heavy outpouring of the Spirit and prophetic that we had learned from PBC. (You never wanted to miss church because God might do something.) We also learned to lead out of focused rest, heavy study and waiting on the Holy Spirit. He would drive us with such joy that we would get up and do something, move in order to see his Spirit work in miraculous ways. Our life is and has been beautiful. There has been no lack of challenges. But we did it with the Lord, hand in hand. We have 6 kids and so many grandchildren. PBC helped guide us into the work of the Lord and gave us so much hope and joy that we could do what God asked of us.Steven and Malana