Archive for March, 2012

Thankless Ministry

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I’ve been involved in part-time or full-time ministry for 10 years this summer.

I love it. There is nothing more rewarding or satisfying. And selfishly, there is nothing like preparing to teach God’s Word to boost your own spiritual growth.

But ministry often can be tough, frustrating, and thankless because it involves working with people and people are fallen creatures, even the redeemed ones.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 provides helpful insight for those times when ministry is thankless. The Apostle Paul urges the people to make life easier on their leaders by conducting themselves in a godly way (vs.12-15). But if we flip those commands around, we will realize that ministry could be just as thankless 2000 years ago as it can be today. People can be disrespectful, divisive, lazy, weak, hard to be patient with, and out for revenge.

But we in ministry can prepare for and survive those times by embracing the commands that follow in vs.16-24.

Without getting into too much detail, I think they can be broken up into 3 categories. People in ministry can survive by cultivating 1) thankful hearts (vs.16-18) 2) teachable hearts (vs.19-21) and 3) pure hearts (vs. 22-24).

Having our hearts focused on Christ in those ways will prevent us from acting out in the flesh and responding in sinful ways when people become problematic and ministry becomes thankless.

Grace College and Seminary Increases Focus on Military and Veteran Student Services

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Grace College continues to increase its focus on serving military and veteran students, most recently by creating a full-time Veterans Affairs Professional position for Scott Shaffer in the Admissions Department. Shaffer is currently serving as the 2-238th Aviation Battalion Chaplain in Shelbyville and has been a Grace staff member for two and a half years.

As the Veterans Affairs Professional, Shaffer will provide service to Veteran and military families during the recruitment and admissions processes and will be responsible for assisting enrolled military and veteran students. Shaffer is excited about his new position and the opportunities it will afford him for serving military members like him.  “I love serving in the United States military. I love the mission of Grace College and Seminary. My job here is the perfect marriage of both worlds,” Shaffer said.  Shaffer is assisted by two student workers who head up the Student Veteran Organization (SVO) on campus. 

The move to shift Shaffer’s role was part of Grace’s concerted efforts to reach out to and provide exceptional service for past and present military members and their families.  As a result of these efforts, Grace College was awarded the recognition of being named on the list of “Military Friendly Schools” for 2011 and 2012 by G.I. Jobs. 

To assist military students in their academic pursuits, Grace College recognizes ACE-recommended credit for military training, prior college-level course work, and CLEP exams, as well as DANTES/DSST credit for some degree programs.  Grace also offers a free evaluation of military training for college credit.

Grace has generous financial-aid programs for military members, including the Yellow Ribbon Program Scholarship, which is available to all students with 100% eligibility under the Post 9-11 GI Bill.  This scholarship covers any remaining tuition balance after the Post 9-11 GI Bill benefit is applied to the student’s account.

The most recent physical investment in the Military Student program at Grace came in the form of the newly completed VA Student Resource Center and Lounge in the Gordon Recreation Center.  The lounge, which is reserved exclusively for the use of military students, offers flat-screen TV’s, leather furniture, computers with internet access and CAC readers, and a kitchenette.  The lounge has been received positively by military members and members of the SVO on campus.

<<Grace College & Seminary Military Students Website>>

Grace Announces New Majors in Sport Management Program

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Grace College is expanding the Sport Management Program to include five new majors.  Debuting in the fall 2012 semester, the new majors will include Exercise Science, Facility and Event Management, Sport Marketing, Sport Media and Sport Psychology.

A task force was formed in 2011 with the objective of evaluating Grace’s academic offerings in order to identify new academic program opportunities, as well as ways to revise current offerings to better align with market demand and career potential for students. The task force identified the Sport Management Program’s potential for exciting expansion opportunities, appealing to students who desire careers in sports, health and fitness fields.

The new majors will open up a variety of career options for students, including personal training, event management, sports journalism within a variety of media, sports psychology, coaching and sport marketing, among many others.

Dr. Darrell Johnson, faculty advisor for Sport Management majors, is thrilled with the expansion of the program. “The new majors being offered will allow us to open up Grace to a whole new demographic of students desiring to enter the health and fitness industry.  The Sport Management Program has been cultivating applied learning opportunities for the past five years, and we’ll apply that same hands-on learning emphasis to our new majors,” Johnson says.

The Sport Management Program has 70 students and is the fastest-growing major on campus.

Henry Winkler Speaks at Grace College During Transition Exploration Day

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Henry Winkler, famed actor, director, producer, author and speaker shared his thoughts and experiences on the topics of disability awareness and overcoming disabilities on Friday, March 23, at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on the Grace College campus.  Winkler served as the keynote speaker for Transition Exploration Day, an event during which high school students with disabilities from area schools visited Grace College.  72 Warsaw High School students and 30 Bremen High School students attended the event along with Grace College students and members of the community.

Winkler captivated the audience with his humor, anecdotes and personal observations. Winkler told the audience that although he’s an actor, director, producer and writer, he is in the bottom three percent academically in America. Winkler’s series of children’s books, the “Hank Zipzer” series, was inspired by his learning challenges.

Although Winkler struggled with dyslexia throughout his education and his life, he says he overcame the discouragement from his parents, classmates and teachers with tenacity and gratitude. “Tenacity — sticking to it — gets you where you want, and gratitude doesn’t allow you to be angry along the way.” Winkler encouraged students that no matter how difficult learning may be for them, they still have just as much to offer society as the next person.  “Every single one of you in this room has greatness inside of you. Your job is to figure out what your gift is, dig it out and give it to the world.” Winkler also encouraged teachers to focus on building students’ self-esteem. “The beginning and the end of a great teacher is making sure that if nothing else, your students feel good about themselves.”

Following the keynote address, a Transition Exhibition was held in the upper concourse of the OCC, during which the visiting students were able to explore career opportunities at booths hosted by local agencies and businesses.

Transition Exploration Day was sponsored in part by the Council for Exceptional Children Grace College student chapter.  According to the official website, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) “is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities, gifts and talents.”

Special Education Professor Cheryl Bremer deemed Transition Exploration Day a success. “Transition Exploration Day was such a powerful learning experience for both area high school students and the Grace community to gain a better understanding of disabilities.  Today went a long way toward opening hearts and minds to the ways we can better relate to those with disabilities.  Henry Winkler was fantastic and we had a great turnout from the area schools.  We set the bar high for next year,” Bremer said.

Sterk finds unrivaled track success

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Randy Sterk never wanted to be a track star.

Senior Randy Sterk is seeing four years of hard work pay off in 2012

Yet Sterk has become successful, not as a professional baseball player—his childhood dream—but as a track runner. In fact, over a three-week span during the indoor season, Sterk was named the Mid-Central College Conference Athlete of the Week twice.

Though Sterk is having a phenomenal year, he has not always been the outstanding runner he is today. Growing up, he instead preferred playing basketball and baseball. But upon entering college, he moved on from his two childhood sports because he felt that he would be a better runner. So he decided to pursue track.

“The only reason I run is for the race. I’m not one of those runners who run just to run. I like the competition of racing,” Sterk said.

This competitive attitude is clear in Sterk’s running improvement over his college years. Over the past three years, Sterk has seen steady improvement, placing fifth at the NCCAA Nationals in the 800-meter race his sophomore year and qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Championships in the 1500-meter race last year.

This year, though, is by far Sterk’s best.  This year, Sterk took first place in each of his first four races. He won both the mile and the 800-meter race at the Trine Invitational and set a meet record with his 4:18.44 time in the mile at the Wildcat Invitational. His success has led him to the NCCAA National Championships, where he placed second with the distance medley relay team and third in the mile.

Sterk, who says he is “motivated when people think I can’t do something,” believes that the success he has had this season is a direct result of wanting to prove to people that he can be a great runner, and to the vast amount of running he did in preparation for this season.

His track coach, Jeff Raymond, has also noticed his hard work. “Randy is very dedicated. He will do the small things like lift weights and run in the offseason. This dedication is what I think has gotten him to where he is this season,” he said.

Sterk said he is excited for this upcoming outdoor season because he would also like to make an appearance in the NAIA Outdoor Championships, a chance Raymond think he has a good shot at because of his mental focus.

“He has a lot of potential to do well at Nationals with the way this year has been going,” Raymond said. “Some runners don’t believe in themselves, but Randy is confident—not cocky—and realizes that he is a good runner and uses that to get through the mental toughness of a long distance race runner face.”

Ever since childhood, Sterk has wanted to be the best. Sterk has four younger brothers who he grew up playing basketball, baseball, or any other sport in the driveway or yard with. From that moment on, professional baseball was his goal.

Fortunately for Grace track team, Sterk never did reach his childhood dream.

By Holly Bennett

This story was published in Grace’s student newspaper, The Sounding Board.

SVO Competition at Purdue University

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Coming up on the 14th of April, the leadership of the Grace College Student Veteran’s Organization will be heading down to Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana.  There, we will take part in the Operation Diploma grant competition , an initiative of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.  We will be competing alongside other regional student veteran groups for a grant of up to $2000.  The past two years in a row our SVO has done very well in the competition, and we are hoping to continue our success in 2012.

A few examples of projects funded at least in part by MFRI grant money are Organization gatherings, new student welcome-packets, and the John Schumacher chapel event.  These projects have helped shape success in our organization as we reach out to our members, the campus and the community as a whole.  John Schumacher was fantastic for raising campus-wide awareness, and the welcome packets helped our students adjust to a new area.  Over the past several weeks we have been busy composing and refining our group’s presentation.  In it, we have covered the background and history of our Organization, in addition to our current administrative practices, our yearly budget, and our long-term goals for member recruitment and sustainment.  As we have composed outlines and prepared slideshows, we have closely examined our operational records from our past two years of existence.  This has helped our leadership develop a plan based off of the group’s current and past challenges and successes.

As we anticipate a potential boost in this year’s funds, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for feedback.  The leadership of the SVO here at Grace College and Seminary has a tentative budget prepared to present to the Military Family Research Institute on April 14th.  However, I would like to hear what our members think.  How would you like to see a grant used to benefit our organization?    Feedback is important.  The more we hear from you the members, the more the leadership can tailor the organization to be one that reflects the unique personalities and strengths of Grace College’s military students!


-Marshall Vondy

Veteran’s Affairs Student Worker


Henry Winkler to Speak at Grace College During Transition Exploration Day

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Grace College is excited to welcome Henry Winkler, famed actor, director, producer, author, and speaker to the campus.  On Friday, March 23, Winkler will share his own story of overcoming obstacles.  Winkler will address the student body and visitors in chapel at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on the Grace College campus. The event begins at 10:30 in the OCC and is open to the public.


Winkler will serve as the keynote speaker for Transition Exploration Day, an event during which area high school students with disabilities will visit Grace College.  The topic of disabilities has long been of importance to Winkler.  His series of children’s books (the Hank Zipzer series) was inspired by his own struggle with education due to learning challenges.


Following chapel, a Transition Exhibition will be held in the upper concourse of the OCC, during which the visiting students will be able to explore career opportunities at booths hosted by local agencies and businesses.


Transition Exploration Day is sponsored in part by the Council for Exceptional Children student chapter.  According to the official website, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) “is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.”


Special Education Professor Cheryl Bremer is excited about how this day will impact both Grace students and faculty and visiting for Transition Exploration Day.  “This is going to be a great event, both for Grace College and for area students with disabilities.  It will give Grace students a chance to gain a deeper understanding and increased awareness of disabilities, and it will allow students with disabilities to envision futures for themselves beyond what they thought was possible.  We hope this Transition Exploration Day will be the first of many to come,” Bremer said.

Grace College Student CEC Chapter Hosts Disability Awareness Week

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Grace College Student Chapter for the Council for Exceptional Children is hosting a disability awareness week March 19-23. Dr. Mark Mostert will be the guest speaker in chapel on Wednesday and Thursday. Henry Winker will wrap up the event with a special appearance and keynote address on Friday. In addition to these guest speakers, the CEC chapter will give students an opportunity to explore disabilities in the Alpha Dining Commons during that week.  The week long event will also include Transition Exploration Day on Friday where local high school students with disabilities are invited to campus to hear Mr. Henry Winkler, participate in a Transition Exhibition, and spend the day on campus.


Dr. Mark Mostert

Dr. Mark Mostert is a professor of special education at Regent University where he Directs the Institute for the Study of Disability & Bioethics. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert on disability issues. He appears regularly on radio and TV, and writes about disability & bioethical issues in the print media. He consults on disability issues at the United Nations and serves as a member of the International Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
His work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Virginian Pilot, The Richmond Times Despatch,  The North Country Times, The Conservative Voice, & at World Net Daily. Dr. Mostert has been quoted in The Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, City Beat (Cincinnati), (Pittsburgh), The National Post (Canada) and at The American Thinker..
Last year Dr. Mostert delivered an invited address at an international human rights conference in Kigali, Rwanda and in September was an invited delegate to the US launch of the World Report on Disability in Washington, DC.



Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler is instantly recognizable and admired by audiences of all ages for his role as the Fonz on the long-running series, Happy Days. In addition, he is an award-winning producer and director of family and children’s programming. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Hank Zipzer series, which follows the everyday adventures of a bright boy with learning challenges.

Mr. Winkler has also continued his acting career on the big screen, including a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Nightshift, a starring role in the box-office hit Scream, and co-starring roles in The Water Boy, and Holes. On television, he has guest-starred on ABC’s The Practice and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. He recently starred on Broadway for nine months in Neil Simon’s play The Dinner Party.

Mr. Winkler is deeply committed to children’s welfare and works with numerous children’s groups. He is involved with The MacLaren Children’s Center (a facility for abused children),The National Committee for Arts for the HandicappedThe Special Olympics, and The Los Angeles Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival, as well as numerous teenage alcohol and drug abuse programs. He is a founding member of the Children’s Action Network, a non-profit organization that sponsors informational briefings for writers, producers and directors on children’s issues and serves as a clearing-house for the entertainment industry on children’s issues.

<<Bio taken from Hank Zipzer website>>

2012 Presidential Scholarship Competition Winners

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

During the weekend of Feb. 17-18, Grace College hosted 166 high school students for its Presidential Scholarship Competition. The competition, held annually, brings finalists to campus to compete for scholarships ranging from $1,000 – $25,000 per year.

<<2012 Presidential Scholarship Competition Photos>>

This year’s winners included:

President’s Scholarship:

  • Drake Darrah

Trustee Scholarship:

  • Alexandra Sanford
  • Joseph Stowell
  • Deborah Maxwell

Faculty Scholarship:

  • Emily Musser
  • Ian Bobbitt
  • Jessica Lokotar
  • David Woodfield
  • Evan Hickle
  • Joshua Lingenhoel
  • Laura Dewlen

Achievement Scholarship:

  • Mallory Rondeau
  • McKenzie Cellar
  • Zachary Pappas
  • Emma Zuidema
  • Macaela Bennett
  • Emily Weber
  • Laura Hoke
  • Alixandra Underwood
  • Rebecca McVay
  • Martha Karel
  • Emily Myers
  • Lynnae Haan
  • Carolyn Warburton
  • Justin Reamer

McClain Scholarship:

  • Cody Koontz
  • Sarah Harmon
  • Elizabeth Medley
  • Jonathan Barlow
  • Johanna Rohler
  • Lauren Watt
  • Stephen Thomas
  • Laura Daronatsy
  • Brett Taulbee
  • Shannon Porteous
  • Emily Strawn
  • Neil Park
  • Sarah Hinkel
  • Michael Shank
  • Lillian Morgan
  • Benjamin Crouse
  • Allison Zylstra
  • Ethan Friesen
  • Kathryn Shanklin
  • Elisa Stump
  • Elizabeth Houseknecht
  • Carolyn Jaacks
  • Cassandra King
  • Corbin Jensen
  • Hannah Ringler
  • Olivia Thomson


Interview: Christine French

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

This week I had the privilege to talk to Christine French, who is the Coordinator of Academic Support at Grace College and Seminary.   She is also a member of our Veterans Affairs Student Services Team (VASST) to better your experience as a military student at Grace College


Tell me a little bit about your life and family outside of Grace College:

I am South African, born and raised. My husband John French graduated from Warsaw High and then Grace College and Seminary.  He came to SA to be involved with church planting.  That is where we met and married.  We have two children: a senior in college and a sophomore in high school.

I enjoy being outdoors, gardening and going to sporting events.


What is your job at Grace College, and how long have you worked here/in your particular office?

I have been at Grace for three years. I provide accommodations for students with disabilities, administer standardized tests, make up tests for the campus, and follow up on attendance alerts from professors.


Why are you interested in helping military students?

In the South Africa which I grew up in, all males were required to perform military service after graduating high school.  Both of my brothers served for two years.  There were some men who chose to go to college first and then do their military service; their rationale being that they would immediately move into leadership positions.

Most of the students who came to college after their military service outperformed and were a lot more mature than the students who came directly from high school.  However, there were veterans who struggled to adjust to campus life and who struggled academically.  I was friends with some of the struggling students and had some in my classes.  I remember wanting to help the students, and yet feeling helpless in not knowing how to help them.  Those were the days before we understood much about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


When it comes to helping veterans, what is your particular passion?

I appreciate their service to the country while they were in the military.  I would like to make veterans aware of how much they can contribute to campus.  They have been overseas and have a much broader view on life and the real world, and could help Grace become aware of life outside the Christian Midwest cocoon.

When it comes to students’ needs, my motto is: “What is too hard for most people is just right for me.”  Meaning that if a student has difficulty adjusting to campus or with academics, I would like to facilitate the appropriate help.  There is no problem which I am not willing to help with.


Why would you recommend Grace College to a prospective military student?

Grace focuses on the development of the student as a whole, not just academically.  It is striving to be of service to military students, and has provided the beautiful lounge area in the Gordon Rec center.  Students can go there to hang out, socialize, or study.  On certain days of the week, a writing tutor is in the lounge to help students with class projects. Additionally, the college offers the Veterans Affairs Student Services team to help veterans with any issues they may have while in school.


What is your vision for the future of veterans at Grace College?

Veterans should not only experience academic success, but also feel connected at Grace. Veterans should see Grace as place where their experiences and service to the country are valued.


I appreciate Mrs. French taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.  I think that her answers are insightful and well reflect the attitude of Grace College’s faculty and staff towards military students.  To see more about other members of our VASST Team, check out the “meet the team” tab on


-Marshall Vondy

Grace College Veteran’s Affairs Student Worker