Lessons Learned From a Regent Legacy Family
by Elizabeth Montgomery (CAS ’17)
Justin and I met in 2014 when we were both undergraduate students at Regent. We became close friends and started dating about two years later. Meeting his family was overwhelming at first since they’re 10 strong — I fell in love with them all! Justin and I wed in November 2018.
What I’ve learned from the Montgomerys has been very consistent with what I learned at Regent: Every person serves as a unique part of the body of Christ, and each part is valuable and necessary in the Kingdom of God.
“I prayed that my children would attend Christian schools from preschool through college, and God is answering my prayers.”
Michelle Montgomery (SBL ’89)
The family’s Regent story begins with Eugene Jahn, Justin’s maternal grandfather. When Regent was founded as CBN University in 1978, Jahn was hired as the financial manager — the school’s second employee. He served in this key role for 10 years. He recently had the chance to explore his old stomping grounds when two of his grandsons, Jason (LAW ’19 & CAS ’16) and Noah (CAS ’19), graduated. A decade after his Regent legacy began, it expanded with my in-laws, Ken (SOD ’90) and Michelle (SBL ’89) Montgomery, and their amazing kids.
Michelle homeschooled the family’s eight children until 2013. Education has always been one of her core passions in life. I asked Michelle what she thought about Regent and she answered, “I prayed that my children would attend Christian schools from preschool through college, and God is answering my prayers.”
Regarding her own Regent experience, she said, “I didn’t have to sort through my academic studies to determine what was consistent with my faith and what was not. I mean, if the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then how can education void of God fully grasp truth?”
Both parents experienced Regent for themselves and say they grew in their passions and talents. Michelle even taught for a year at Regent and now runs her own business as a CPA. Ken has done various kinds of ministry outreach for more than 20 years, while also working at Regent and the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) to provide a way for their children to receive a Christian graduate and undergraduate education.
Ken and Michelle’s love of education, teaching, ministry and hard work have been etched into their children’s DNA. As the most recent addition to their family, I’ve watched them pursue their own callings — all with a passion for truth in learning and humility in leadership.
By year’s end, the four eldest Montgomery children and I will have all graduated from Regent. Jason was the first, receiving his bachelor’s in 2016 and his Juris Doctor this year. I graduated in 2017 from the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) and currently serve as Regent’s Office of Alumni Relations & Events marketing manager. Justin graduated last year with his bachelor’s in communication and is working as an electrician’s apprentice.
Noah just graduated with a bachelor’s in government, after interning for several months at the White House this past fall. After completing his student teaching, Nathan will receive his bachelor’s in education from CAS this winter. As for the remaining Montgomery children — Rebecca, Ryan, Caleb and Christopher — we all hope and pray they will experience Regent in their own unique way too.
When I look at my second family, I marvel at their deep history and what it’s taught me about my place in their family, in the body of Christ, and in the Regent community. While each would humbly say, “I’m no one important or special,” their story has made me realize that every person, no matter their position, status or relation to Regent, has played a part in making this great university what it is today.
Even I have a role in fulfilling Regent’s vision to be the most influential, Christian, transformational university in the world. As a student, I poured my heart into this community through spiritual leadership. Now, I have the privilege of serving fellow alumni daily at work. In the grand scheme of things, sometimes I feel so small. But, as my father-in-law says, “We have His treasure in our earthen vessels, as individuals and as an institution. The next generation will do even greater things.”
“Mr. Ken” is the perfect example of a man of service to this school. For 21 years, he’s worked at Regent and CBN in building and HVAC maintenance. He carries the treasure of Jesus with humility and joy. That is his legacy. His life reminds me of what this school and what each of our lives is all about — God’s glory, not our own.
More than 40 years ago, God called Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson, Regent’s founder, chancellor and CEO, to “build a school for God’s glory.” But that’s not only his calling. It’s the calling of everyone affiliated with this university. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (NKJV). Our responsibility is to give the Lord every ounce of glory generated by this university and to pass down that truth to the next generation.
If I’ve learned anything from this personal legacy experience, it’s this: Don’t underestimate the power of family, because it matters — and so do you! There’s a seat at the table that no one else can fill but you. If you need to know where your seat is and how to fill it, Regent can help.