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It’s All About Relationships

Friday, July 19

Have you ever considered the ripple effect one relationship has? John Hummel did, and he still does. He accepted Jesus as his personal savior while attending a Brethren National Youth Conference. Since that time in high school, John has taken the different curveballs life has thrown him. As a baseball player for much of his life, those are something he is accustomed to.

Attending church at Meyersdale Grace Brethren Church in Pennsylvania connected him with friends who would lead him to Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. Majoring in youth ministry gave him many hands-on, real-life experiences in the inner city, and traveling with the baseball team around the United States helped him relate to students in many contexts.

The Importance of Relationships

Hummel asserts that the game of baseball can provide many life lessons. For example, consider that the best ballplayers only hit the ball three out of every ten tries. Those are the stars while the rest of the professionals hit the ball even fewer times. This perspective teaches you how to fail and how to get back up again. Most importantly, it teaches you to depend on your team for support.

Students at Northern Garrett High School raised money for the American Heart Association. Winners made Mr. Hummel into a human sundae.

“Grace helped me understand how important relationships are,” says Hummel. Building positive relationships with one another is an essential and lost art. John notes many schools do not realize this truth. He should know. Southern Middle School in Oakland, Maryland recently announced John as their newest principal. Now it is up to him to set the course for middle school students who attend there.

How the Doors Open Wide

Youth ministry may seem to be a great distance from public school administration, but many similarities exist. Both involve engaging with teenagers. More importantly, they both require excellent relational skills, which Hummel studied his entire life. His mother was employed as both a high school English teacher and a principal, meaning John had an up close and personal mentor. It gave him opportunities early on to engage with children, including reading to elementary students while he was in high school.

After his time at Grace, he continued working with students, first at a Christian group home for abused and neglected children. From there he continued to journey towards positions in school counseling. In fact, in every job he held, his focus remained on helping youth and building lasting relationships. Church ministry may be unique from working in a school or a hospital, but John has discovered when you bring up the words ‘hope’ and ‘love’, people tend to bring up God in the conversation.

Valuing relationships is not just something John gives lip service to. Adding a master’s degree in counseling to his resume, John has held various positions. Those titles include crisis intervention counselor, behavior specialist consultant, school counselor, and education coordinator. All this equates to a person trained and equipped to work with teenagers.

“When strong, positive relationships are built between students, staff and communities, student achievement increases, and people are more engaged and positive.” That’s not just a foundation for Southern Middle School, that’s the way of Grace College too! No matter where your journey takes you, a degree from Grace is more than a piece of paper. It’s an educational experience centered around relationships.

Finding Your Way With People

At Grace College, we ensure students enjoy an immersive experience surrounded by fellow students and caring staff. Beginning with Welcome Weekend and continuing through our First-Year Experience, students are offered a community of believers to journey with, and mentors who have been there and done that. 

“Strong relationships with God, family, and friends, are essential to our well-being,” said Hummel. It’s no wonder he attended Grace–we couldn’t have said it better ourselves, John!