Defining Ministry

Volume 7 | Issue 3 | Fall 2011

Ministry Careers

A career in ministry can be defined in many ways. Below is a listing of career profiles that CCU graduates and staff have pursued as ministry. How you define ministry also helps to define who you are.


Abdiel FuentesAbdiel Fuentes (MDiv,’08)
Battalion Chaplain, 19th Engineer Battalion, Fort Knox, Kentucky

Ministries While at CCU:
Enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Cincinnati, Minister to Latino congregation of the Western Hills Church of Christ

In Addition to my Role as a Chaplain:
President of the Board (World-Wide Hispanic Outreach), Hospital Chaplain at Veteran’s Hospital in Louisville, KY

“The Seminary professors who taught me are strong men of faith and I will always be grateful that they dedicated their lives to preparing others for ministry. Having a solid understanding of God’s doctrine has allowed me to work within a pluralistic environment and not waiver. I would not have been better prepared anywhere else, and for that I am proud to be a Golden Eagle!

“I do not minister at a church nor is Chapel the same as a congregational church. Instead I am charged with providing for the religious needs of all 840 solders assigned to my unit. I am assigned one soldier to serve as my assistant, and we form the Unit Ministry Team, charged with assisting the battalion commander in providing for the spiritual needs of soldiers and their families. I often tell others that I am a missionary and the Army is my mission field. At all times I carefully respect the views of those who differ from me. Abiding by this rule can be a hard challenge to any minister, and it is certainly something all Army Chaplains must wrestle with.

“I pray with those who seek prayer, baptize those who surrender their lives to Christ and carry out other ordinances like any other minister. When I think of my career as a ministry I think of it more as that of an evangelist. I develop trustworthy friendships through loving and caring for my soldiers. Then in prayer, when they ask, I share my faith with them. There is no secret formula to what I do. I simply use my position as an Army Officer and a Chaplain to help those in need.”


Josh Burnett Josh Burnett (BS,’06)
Lead Pastor, Revolution Church, Annapolis, Maryland

Ministries While at CCU:
I played intramural sports and spent a lot of time hanging out with my friends.

In Addition to my Role as a Senior Minister:
Revolution spends a lot of time serving in the community, and so I do too. Last year we fed over 2,000 people in Annapolis for a week. We also sent 40,000 meals to Haiti. Most of what I do outside of my “career” really has to do with what we are doing at church; they’re connected.

“CCU gave me the theological training that has helped me stay grounded and point people to Jesus, no matter what their life circumstances are. It has also given me an amazing network of incredible friends all across the country and around the world I can share ministry with and bounce ideas off of. The training that I received at CCU really has been invaluable to me.

“I would define ministry as a person’s entire life. It is how they live in their neighborhood. It is how they interact with people that they see everyday–at home, at the office, at the playground with the kids, hanging out with friends–everything.

“My job as a pastor is really just helping people understand that all of life is ministry. This is what I love to do!”


Ron Thigpen Ron Thigpen (MAC,’05)
Licensed Professional Counselor, New Beginnings Christian Counseling Services, Cincinnati, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
Intern in the Counseling Department

In Addition to my Role as a Counselor:
I serve as a trustee for Cincinnati Christian University, and I am a congregation elder at the Gray Road Church of Christ in Cincinnati.

“To me, ministry would be defined as service to God and to other people with a focus on glorifying God in the process.

“The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program at Cincinnati Christian University provided me the information through classes and practice through internships and supervision to become a licensed counselor.

“As a counselor, I am involved in helping others look at a variety of life situations where they are often having difficulty. My role is to assist them to see options that will help them resolve or be able to live with the situations. Pointing to God and his Word as the ultimate source of direction in life provides a point of stability on which to make decisions.”


Bruce Maxwell Bruce Maxwell (BS,’75)
Business Analyst, Unison Industries, a subsidiary of General Electric, Beavercreek, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
I was employed off campus while I was at CCU. Kathy and I were married at the end of my sophomore year. I was also Senior Class President for the class of 1975.

In Addition to my Role as a Business Analyst:
I have served White Oak Christian Church as Board Chairman in the 80′s and numerous 3 year terms as an elder. I have taught Sunday school for at least 20 of the more than 30 years Kathy and I have attended. Recently, I have begun to assist in the teaching of Financial Peace University at WOCC twice each year. I have also served CCU as a Trustee since 1990.

“My degree from CCU is in Christian Education. I not only learned the Word, but how to teach and walk the Word. I learned confidence in myself when I finally understood that I was of value. My hiring manager at Unison once said, “I am hiring you because your degree tells me two things. As the Sourcing Manager, you can teach the people how to become better buyers, and with a degree in Christian Education, I do not have to worry about the integrity of my Purchasing Department.”

“Ministry is the relationship that Christians form with those around them. Reaching out to the lost as an evangelist of the gospel, and building relationships with their brothers and sisters in Christ as we disciple one another.

“As an elder and teacher, I have a clear role in discipleship. As a trustee, I have a role of oversight to ensure that CCU stays true to the gospel message and true in her role as an institution of higher learning in an atmosphere of faith. As a business analyst, I interface with all areas of the company and am able to display Christian ethics and conduct during business planning and decisions processes.”


Anne Wilson Anne Wilson (BS,’10)
Youth Minister, Chapel Rock Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

Ministries While at CCU:
Resident Assistant, Concert Choir

In Addition to my Role as a Youth Minister:
With my husband, Kyle, being a high school teacher and me a youth minister, we honestly don’t have a lot of room for anything else! We’re both heavily involved in each other’s ministries and committed to what we do.

“If someone would have told me what ministry would really be like, I don’t think I would’ve totally believed them.

“CCU prepared me with a biblical foundation for navigating life outside of college. I hear people say all the time, ‘I certainly didn’t learn this in school,’ but I don’t think that’s the point. CCU’s role was to prepare me for how to think and engage with the world around me, not tell me what to know.

“I view ministry as a lifestyle, so I believe no matter my profession, I will always be ‘in ministry.’”


Drew Humphreys Drew Humphreys (BM,’05)
Associate Worship Pastor, Savannah Christian Church (Henderson/Regional Campus), Savannah, Georgia

Ministries While at CCU:
President of Class of 2005, Concert Choir, d-Group leader, Adjunct Instructor of Music & Worship after graduation

In Addition to my Role as a Worship Leader:
Being a dad to Kerrington (2) and Kellan (9 months), and a husband to Stacy receives my undivided attention.

“My ministry is all about pointing people to Jesus, the only one who can save, heal, and redeem. I try to order my life as an example—the way I love my wife and kids, being the love of Christ to people after choir rehearsal, before and after services and making myself available for people who need encouragement or direction.

“Being the worship pastor gives me ample opportunity to “do ministry,” but I see it as so much more than just leading a team of musicians. Ministry happens through discipleship. God has graciously given me the opportunity to serve the people of Savannah and help lead them to a life-changing relationship with Jesus. This is my calling.

“CCU provided me not only a great education in the field of Music and Bible, but so much more. It is a place where relationships are formed and families are created. Without these relationships and the encouragement I received, I wouldn’t be where I am today. CCU is a place where lasting relationships are formed. You can’t say that about many places. I will always consider CCU home, and I am forever indebted to the faculty and staff who gave this small town boy a chance.”


Tom Sturm Tom Sturm (BA,’85)
Senior Sales VP & Broker, Coldwell Banker West Shell Realtors
Broker & Owner, Tennessee Home Finders LLC Cincinnati, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
Yearbook/Newspaper Co-Editor, Watchmen, Choir, Winds of Praise, Student Council President

In Addition to my Role as a Realtor:
Elder & Assimilation Ministry Team Leader (LifeSpring Christian Church, Harrison site), Board Member (Christian Benevolent Association), President’s Advisory Board (CCU), Coldwell Banker Foundation

“Ministry is stewarding my resources, skill and talent, and disciplining the gifts of time and strength to seek his kingdom first. It is making a difference where I live—pointing people to Christ in my home, with my family and friends, in church or business or with any person God sends across my path.

“Real estate brings people to a milestone marker in their lives—it’s less about houses than it is about changes in life. Being invited into people’s lives at the crossroads has allowed me opportunities to speak truth and encouragement, give biblically-based guidance and share my faith at God-ordained moments in everyday living.

“God used CCU to give me a solid knowledge base and the inspiration of being part of an authentic, gifted community of humble believers passionately committed to Christ and his kingdom. Had I not experienced in those impressionable, questioning early years of college what I did here, I seriously doubt I would be a believer today. CCU undergirded my faith and fueled new convictions to allow God to make a difference with my life.”


Afton Benter Afton Benter
What is Your Major: Vocal Performance
What is Your Hometown: Cedar Grove, IN

What Brought You to CCU?:
I am actually about the 32nd member of my family to attend CCU. I had always wanted to attend a Christian college, so when it came down to my decision, I chose to come to CCU. It was close to home, and I knew it would have the faith base I was looking for.

Some of my family members who have attended CCU are:
My great grandfather Stewart Rodgers who graduated with the first full four year graduating class. He went on to preach in Joliet, Illinois, Bridgetown Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio and also at Orville Church of Christ in Orville, Ohio.

My grandfather Russell Lieb also attended in the early 60′s. He married Carolyn Rodgers (Att’d), and went on to establish Harrison Church of Christ in Harrison, Ohio and preached there 40 years. He is currently the minister at Mt. Olive Church of Christ in New Vienna, Ohio.

My great uncle, Delmar Rodgers married Louise, who also attended and went on to minister in Kentucky and Ohio.

My great aunt, Erma-Lee McKasson attended and went on to become a missionary to Okinawa, Japan. Later she and her late husband Gail Sears ran the CCU Hale Conference Center.

My second cousin, Gail Rodgers, married Doug Spears. Doug is a professor in the Counseling Center at CCU.

My second cousin, Brenda Lang currently serves as a music professor at CCU as well.

My father and mother both attended, and my mother worked in the Advancement department.

How are you planning on using your degree from CCU?:
I hope to use my degree in some way having to do with ministry, but at this moment I am unsure where God is calling me.


Bill Wade Bill Wade
What is Your Major: Leadership & Ministry
What is Your Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

What Brought You to CCU?:
I wanted to receive a quality education that would aid me in doing the will of God for my life as a servant to him and also as a servant to his people. I knew that CCU would be the route that I should take to accomplish my goal.

How are you planning on using your degree from CCU?:
I plan to become a pastor in a nontraditional church that will meet the needs of all of God’s people in the community in which it serves. Also, I plan to teach the gospel wherever God sends me.


James Davis James Davis
What is Your Major: Master of Arts (Religion) with a focus in Pastoral Leadership
What is Your Hometown: Greenwood, IN

What Brought You to CCU?:
My wife Jenna and I both attended CCU for our undergraduate work and we knew that I would receive a quality education from some of the best minds in church leadership. Since I am a staff member at a CCU Partner Church, I got 50% off my tuition. As a Bible college graduate, I qualify for a 36 hour degree program. These things combined with prayer and family discussion led to a clear decision to attend CCU.

How has CCU’s extension site in Indianapolis benefited you?:
CCU’s extension site at Indian Creek Christian Church is only five miles from my house, so completing my degree close to home was a huge factor in going back to school. The professors respect the value of classroom time and make the most of every minute. The masters program at CCU is designed to help me accomplish my education while giving me the tools to succeed in my current position. The practical application of what I learn in the classroom is probably the most valuable thing that I do in the entire week for my ministry.

How are you planning on using your degree from CCU?:
Applying my studies to my ministry has already been profound. After every class I put my notes on the worship ministry website so that my worship team of more than 80 people can have access to the information I have received. We have grown both as a team and in biblical knowledge. I have been able to offer the people that I work with a more concrete understanding of biblical teaching and have gained more confidence in communicating God’s grace.


Luke Davidson Luke Davidson (BS,’09)
Senior Minister, Ross Christian Church, Ross, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
Basketball team member freshman and sophomore year, Assistant to the Athletic Director senior year, playing bass and drums with the worship band during Chapel and Family.

In Addition to my Role as a Senior Minister:
The church takes up a lot of my time, but I have been able to assist as a youth league basketball coach in the Ross Community League.

“While at CCU, my professors taught me to love the Bible. Their classes taught me the correct methods for interpreting Scripture, and the community of students helped me to further realize my own passion for ministry.

“I think “ministry” is a formal word that helps us identify ways that we intentionally serve in God’s kingdom. We all have various gifts and talents. How we use those talents to advance the work of the church becomes our unique form of ministry. I have many opportunities for ministry in my career, the most vital being preaching to the congregation every Sunday morning. This provides me the opportunity to empower and challenge the church through the study of God’s Word.”


Ken Tracy Ken Tracy (BS,’88)
President, TaleMed, Cincinnati, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
I was a member of the 1987 and 1988 NCCAA Men’s Basketball team, a devotional leader, and a team leader for summer outreach programs.

In Addition to my Role as a Business President:
I am an elected official. Since 2004 I have been a Trustee and Chairman of the Board for Miami Township located in Clermont County, Ohio. I am also an elder at the Milford Christian Church. In the past I served as a Boys Varsity Basketball Coach and now volunteer my time for community basketball organizations.

“I look at my career as an opportunity daily to share a positive message to help those who need a message of hope and compassion. Daily I am given this opportunity through interactions with employees, clients and vendors.

“CCU taught and provided me the foundation of success. While at CCU, I learned about faith, ethics and, above all, purpose.

“Ministry is a mindset that drives a person to serve with a purpose, following daily the roadmap Christ laid out for us.”


Brian Fox Brian Fox (BA,’02)
Associate Attorney, Frost Brown Todd, LLC Cincinnati, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
I took classes through the consortium at Xavier University and finished my Bachelor’s degree in three years. I also enjoyed recreational golf and basketball.

In Addition to my Role as a Lawyer:
Before practicing law, I was a minister serving several Cincinnati-area churches. I volunteer my time at Center Pointe Christian Church and The Bridge Community Church. I also volunteer with Queen City Commitment to Character, BLOC Ministries, and the Butler County Young Republicans. I am on the President’s Advisory Board at CCU and the Board of Directors of Citizens for Community Values.

“I was a newer Christian when I attended CCU, so CCU made a huge difference in my development as a believer. I learned the invaluable craft of oral advocacy, which I use daily as an attorney. To preach a sermon, ministers must make a text, which is anchored in antiquity, instructive to contemporary Christians. To argue before the Court, attorneys must make the law, which is often anchored in “legislative-speak,” clear and authoritative for the position they advocate.

“I tend to think of ministry as living out the gospel in all of my contexts, be it professional or personal. Ministry is serving my clients, my wife, my sons, and my community (and not necessarily in that order) as well as I possibly can.

“Whether I am participating in a client meeting, mediation, or court hearing, I try to approach every case and every attorney with patience, humility, and excellence because everything is supposed to be done in the name of Jesus (Col. 3.17). In addition, I try to pray with and for my co-workers, advocate for the gospel at opportune times, focus on my wife and kids, and give back to my community by using the platform God has provided.”


Lashelle Edmerson Lashelle Edmerson
Associate Professor & Chairperson of Christian Education and Children’s Ministry, Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio

In Addition to my Role as a Professor:
I am a member of the Kennedy Heights Church of Christ, and I am a second and third grade tutor through Whiz Kids. One of my greatest activities is being involved in the lives of my five grandchildren. I am also pursuing my Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary.

“I teach in the Early Childhood Education Department and the Children’s Ministry Department and our students are being taught that teaching is a ministry. It is my responsibility to use best practice strategies in equipping students to minister and teach in the public and private sector. We are focused on preparing caring, competent and qualified teaching candidates that any school district or church would benefit from hiring, taking Christ with them to touch the lives of the students and their families.”

“Ministry is an opportunity to serve others, letting them see Christ through me (Mark 10:43). Every opportunity of service should be used in ministering to others. We should serve where we are gifted (Romans 12:6-8). Ministry is also an opportunity for one to grow as a Christian. When I minister to people it is humbling because I must depend on God to say and do the things that are reflective of Him. I have been involved with some aspect of education for the past 33 years. My current career as a college professor gives me the opportunity to touch the lives of students every day. I want to always show the attributes of Christ in my classroom. Educating students not only academically prepares them but gives them a practical application to help them minister to others.”


Wally and Barbara Rendel Wally (BA ’64) and Barbara Rendel (AB ’65)
Director of Church Relations & Vice President for Advancement, Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio

Ministries While at CCU:
Wally helped to start the Ambasadors Preaching Club, was a camp team member, preached for Volunteers of America, and worked on the grass mowing crew. Barbara sang in the choir, was a student worker in the President’s Office, and taught Bible in local churches. Together, they were part of the church planting team of First Church of Christ in Burlington, KY.

In Addition to our Roles at CCU:
We mentor numerous students and graduates of CCU,as well as our children and grandchildren. Wally is also currently serving as the interim minister at NorthEast Christian Church in Lexington, KY.

“CCU was one step in God’s plan that prepared us for the ministry we do today. God prepared us before, during and after our training at CCU. It gave us the opportunity for relationships that continue to influence our lives and helped us have a larger ministry than we could have had if we not come to CCU. We got to sit at the feet of living legends imparting God’s Word and modeling ministry like R.C. Foster, Wilkie Winter, George Mark Elliott and Dan Eynon. It set a fire in our bones to preach the Word and grounded us in the gospel and God’s Word.”

“Ministry defines us. Ministry is our life. It is a basin of water and a towel. It is following Jesus. It is carrying chairs.”

“In our roles at CCU, we are helping to raise the funds needed to train thousands to impact millions for Christ. We get to disciple students and mentor them for ministry. We have the opportunity to develop donors and help people understand the joy, privilege and responsibility of being a faithful steward. In our church we are encouragers and energizers to people. We care about them. We let them know we love them. We are giving eternal hope to people.”


Travis Hesson Travis Hesson
What is Your Major?: General Ministry
What Division of CCU are you Studying In?: Cincinnati Bible College
What is Your Hometown?: Miamisburg, OH

What Brought You to CCU:
I was brought to CCU by God. It’s cheesy, but true. My career plans for the Air Force didn’t work out and I had a large group of mentors and pastors guiding me into the ministry world. After a lot of consideration and recommendations, I called CCU with two weeks left before school started and I was accepted!

How did receiving the Partner Church Scholarship make it possible for you to attend CCU?:
The bottom line for me at the time of my acceptance was money. I had zero cash saved and was pretty much denied for all loans. The Partner Church Scholarship allowed me to rest a little easier and focus more on my studies and God rather than how to accrue another $3000 a year for school.

How are you planning on using your degree from CCU?:
When I leave CCU I plan on using my degree in a non-profit organization called Back2back Ministries. I want to serve in their Impact ministry called 1twentyone and reach youth in greater Dayton and Cincinnati to impact the world for the kingdom.