By Jason Cremeen
The Resident Director (RD) is a position that many admire. One RD, Jake Ebner, gives insight into how he came to this role and its impact on him and his family, along with the men of his dorm.
Ebner is currently attending The Master’s Seminary, and is husband to Meredith and father of Karis. Ebner has been challenged and has grown in his past three years of service as RD. He looks forward to the years ahead, and the place the Lord is leading him and his family.
How did you come to The Master’s College?
Ebner: I heard of Master’s from my uncle, and it was the only school I applied for. I was told that I did get in, but the money was a lot less than what I needed to come. WOW week went by, the first two days of school went by, and I was still up in Washington. I came home from a camping trip, and got a letter saying I was accepted, and money was about three times the amount I was originally given. I got the letter and almost chucked it, but I ended up going. That was a Friday, and on Sunday I left, and on Monday afternoon I showed up. On the way down I was scheduling classes, so the whole trip was a whirlwind.
How was your relationship with the RD when you attended Master’s?
Ebner: My first year it was good. His name was Caleb Hagan, and I was Oak Manor. I didn’t really know what an RD was supposed to do, or who he really was. A couple times I went into his apartment just to visit and get to know him a little bit. My second year, Siona was my RD. I didn’t have a deep relationship with him, but I knew he was the authority figure, and I had a deep respect for him. At one point I went to him asking him for council in some issues I had been struggling with. I knew they were the authority, and were put in that place for us, but I really didn’t take advantage of it.
How did you become RD?
Ebner: By default, essentially. My wife always wanted to be an RD. We moved away when we first got married, and moved to Northern California for two years. She wanted to come back down and become RD; meanwhile the college wanted a four-year commitment. It was really hard; because you can’t have kids in that four years, so we actually said no the first year. But the second year, we talked and prayed about it, and said let’s do it. I had not finished my undergrad yet, so we came down. She was the RD in C-Dub, and I actually finished my undergrad that same year. In her second year as RD, I got my teaching credential. We found out that she was pregnant in that same year. This was in 2008 when the financial crisis hit, so we were freaking out. But I talked to Gunner Gunderson, who was the dean of men before Dave Hulet, he asked me to apply for an open position as a guy’s RD. In God’s timing and sovereignty, I ended up getting the position. So we ended up moving like 200 feet down the hill.
What is the best thing about being an RD?
Ebner: There are many things that serve as a huge blessing. As far as what I get to be a part of, I get to be involved with guys’ lives in a real crucial, formable time. Where they are going through different issues, different struggles, or thinking through what they really believe, and where they’re wanting to head in their life, in their goals and aspirations. Being able to have those conversations has been really encouraging. It’s encouraging to have a bunch of guys that really want to pursue the Lord. The ability to have those conversations, it really is a huge blessing and benefit.
What is the hardest part of being an RD?
Ebner: Faithfully balancing everything in life. It’s an intrusive job; you don’t have a lot of privacy, especially in Slight. Trying to be a husband and a Father, and in the midst of it to be faithful to the job, to the guys who have been entrusted to me, to the administrative side of it, to being faithful to the church, faithful in my studies in seminary, faithful to wife in regards to time, and thoughtfulness in planning for the future and communication, and faithfulness to my daughter, my parents, and my In-Laws. Sometimes I just feel stretched thin by all the responsibilities. I used to put a lot of stock in me, and my abilities to do something, more and more the Lord is showing me that it is Him working through people, not necessarily what I’m doing, but I get to be a part of what He is doing.
How have you grown since becoming RD?
Ebner: The Lord has grown and stretched me so much in this position. The first two years, there is so much I just saw more and more selfishness with time, and false expectations I was placing on myself in what I thought the guys wanted me to do and to be. And when I just wouldn’t meet those expectations, I just would feel down about it. So the Lord has just stretched, pulled, pushed, and prodded me in the position. It has been a very sanctifying job. It has been a huge blessing to see guys turn from sin, to be brought out from it, to be walking closer to the Lord. It has been encouraging to see guys grow in their faithfulness and commitment to Christ.
If there is one thing you would like to get across to your dorm, what would that be?
Ebner: The patterns and habits that are set up in your life now, characterize your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with people, and the habits being formed now are going to be the same things that you are going to have when you are 30, 40, 50, or 60 years old. You set patterns in your life now, and it becomes 100 times harder to break a bad habit, or to start a new good habit. “If today is the day of salvation,” like it says in Hebrews, in the same way today is the day of sanctification. You can’t put off, and say, “Well, I’ll grow in that area later.” You are going to have an excuse later as to why you are the way you are. If you start to try and work on things in your life then, it’s going to be that much harder. It is going to be that much more engrained with who you are. It is essential to ask, “Lord what do you want my life to be characterized by, what direction do you want me to go in and towards, and how am I going to draw near to you now, so that the rest of my life I will be a sharpened and useful tool in your hand, ready to be used.”