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Hanna Sims’ Ministry: NETworkers TEC

Hanna Sims’ Ministry: NETworkers TEC

“This is God’s ministry, and I am merely a servant in it.”

Hanna Sims graduated from Calvary University with a Bachelor of Science in Ministry Studies-Children (CU16); she says that the call God placed on her heart to evangelize and disciple children came to her when she was a teenager, and she has been able to grow in areas of service to Christ throughout the years through ministries like Child Evangelism Fellowship/Christian Youth in Action, Good News Club, and In the Gap. Today, Hanna is heavily involved in her personal ministry, NETworkers TEC, which seeks to provide the body of Christ with a network of resources to assist believers in their Biblical ministries to the next generation: “What makes my ministry different is that instead of focusing on promoting one ministry, I connect believers with various resources for various ministry needs.” 

Hanna says that she has had the blessing of reaching many audiences through NETworkers TEC, providing character lessons at elementary school chapels, workshops at AWANA clubs on memorizing Scripture, and has led neighborhood Bible clubs for kids. For teens, she has developed an apologetics seminar (online and in-person) and has spoken at the national IFCA youth conference for two years. She has also trained teens to prepare for mission trips and working with children, and has partnered with many churches to have workshops available for their Sunday school workers and parents. The work that Hanna is currently most excited about is a newly published children’s apologetics curriculum for elementary students that she co-authored with Dr. Frank Turek called “Yes, God is Real!”.

On her ministry journey, Hanna faced personal obstacles and learned some powerful life lessons. One particularly difficult trial she faced was her health. She was very sick for the first two years of establishing her ministry, yet she says that “The Lord gave me strength and healing during this time, and I learned how to trust God for my daily needs (Matthew 6:11) and to thank Him for the gift of health.” A spiritual lesson that Hanna gained was looking at ministries from a biblical perspective: “God has taught me that when I am tempted to compare myself to my peers that are in corporate jobs, I must remember that God calls each of us in different directions and that when we are faithful to him with our talents, that is what success truly is (Matthew 25:20-21).”

Clearly, Hanna is a servant of God, actively living out her ministry calling. Today, she is especially excited to continue to disciple children, teens, and adults, make more workshops available to churches and Christian organizations, and spread the word about her children’s apologetics curriculum. For years to come, Hanna seeks to continue to minister to children, teens, and adults, as well as develop resources to impact areas of evangelism, apologetics, and spiritual growth. Currently, Hanna is working on a couple other curriculum and writing projects that she expects, Lord willing, to be published in the future: “God has opened the doors of partnership for me through NETworkers TEC, and he has helped me to have boldness (Psalm 138:3). This is God’s ministry and I am merely a servant in it.”

 

Career vs Calling: Matt Brewer

Career vs Calling: Matt Brewer

“Success is found in the stewardship of where God has placed me.” 

Today, there are many beliefs about careers and callings. Should we wait for a calling from God before choosing a career path? Matt Brewer is a faithful servant of God who has held different positions in his professional career. He’s been a educator, a businessman, and a missionary. He states: “I believe God’s plan for my life is for me to walk in obedience each day.  God has given me the opportunity to do a lot of different things, but the joy I’ve found in my careers has abounded when I faithfully steward the responsibilities of whatever position I have served in.” Matt’s focus is not on his 401k, but rather his “401 Kingdom.” 

Matt Brewer graduated from Calvary Bible College with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education in Bible and Mathematics, and received a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Clark Summit University. Although his career path began in education, Matt is currently Director of Talent Development at Equity Bank. When reflecting on if he felt called to his career path, Matt stated: “I’ve never believed that the will of God for my life was some mystic thing I hoped I didn’t miss. God’s plan for my life is to walk in obedience and fellowship with Him each day. For me, success is found in the stewardship of where God has placed me.” 

As stated earlier, Matt has led a diverse career life. He grew up in Christian schooling and was deeply impacted by Christian teachers, so he pursued a career in education. His first professional job was as a mathematics instructor and coach at Blue Ridge Christian School (1986-1991), where he learned the important lessons of setting an example and being intentional in his work, family, and spiritual life. After a few years of working as a supervisor for his father’s construction business, Matt delved deeper into business when he accepted a sales and marketing position at Tomkins Industries (1993-1998) and eventually a position as Operations Manager (1998-2000).

Tomkins was where Matt transformed into a proactive leader through volunteering to do difficult tasks no one else wanted to do, and going out of his way to challenge himself, even when he had to learn new skills. After helping Tomkins expand greatly, Matt returned to the field of education, where he worked at Kansas City Christian School (2000-2005) as the high school principal. There, Matt applied newly acquired skills from his previous job at Tomkins, taking part in financial responsibilities as well as thriving in his position of leadership where he put his relational competency and passion for coaching to great use.

Then in 2005, Matt and his wife, Mary, made a huge career shift. After deciding they wanted to enter a ministry role, they sold everything they owned and began raising support for a ministry career at Ethnos 360’s Faith Academy in the Philippines. Within six months, they raised their supports, “stepped out in faith”, and moved to the Philippines with their three children. After three years on the mission field, where Matt faithfully served as an educator, advisor, and leader, he and his family moved back to the states in 2007. When Trinity Academy offered him a position as principal of the school (2007-2017), he accepted.

During his ten years at Trinity, Matt held many positions of leadership in the school, including administration, development, academics, and student life. While there, he discovered his passion for “building” organizations, as well as people. When he resigned from Christian Education in 2017, he started building a training program at Equity Bank, where he coached employees for five years until he was promoted to his current position as Director of Talent Development. Now, he handles executive coaching and leadership development, where he uses his God-given abilities everyday to build up employees into strong and effective leaders.

So far as the future is concerned, Matt believes the best years of his service to God through his career are not behind him, but ahead of him: “My wife and I are turning sixty next year. When I was young, this sounded old, but I believe my opportunities for the Kingdom are great. In our culture we hear things like ‘slowing down’ and ‘retirement’. Yet, I’ve gotten more involved in service in the last five years than I have my entire life.” No matter what career path Matt continues or what opportunities come his way next, he affirms: “Every day, no matter what I am doing, it’s my purpose to live a life of integrity.” 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jeff Rhoades

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jeff Rhoades

“God led me to the right place for laying the biblical foundation for correct understanding and interpretation of the Bible.”

Dr. Jeff Rhoades is a Calvary alumnus who recently published his book titled: The Bible, Dimensions, and the Spiritual Realm: Are heaven, angels, and God closer than we think? 

Jeff grew up in Raytown, Missouri. It was not until he was in his early twenties, and married, that he became a follower of Christ. When Jeff started attending Calvary University, he was twenty-one years old, had a wife, a newborn baby, and was working full-time at his father’s restaurant. “The registrar never thought I could get enough classes for a degree,” Jeff recalls, “But I was new to the Bible and wanted to take all the classes I could.” He was eventually able to get a dual major in English Bible and Local Church Ministries. Today, Jeff also has a Masters in Theology from Louisiana Baptist Seminary and a PHD in Theology from Louisiana Baptist University.

Jeff says that his call to ministry has been a “thousand steps of obedience,” stating: “I never set out to be a pastor or a missionary, I set out to serve God.” He affirms his education at Calvary was “exceptional” and that it molded his foundational understanding of the biblical worldview: “I was like a kid in a candy store for the first time. I soaked in the teaching and little did I know that I would eventually go on staff full-time at Abundant Life Church as Outreach Pastor, then go to El Salvador as a missionary. Now, I am an Administrative Pastor in Topeka, Kansas. It all started while I was sitting in those early morning classes at Calvary.”

Jeff’s heart has always been in evangelism and sharing the gospel, and he has had many experiences in which he has grown spiritually through ministry. His time in El Salvador was powerful, where hundreds of men and women were led to Christ: “I’ve seen men accept Christ, go through our training program, and after six to eight years, pastor a church.” Jeff also helped start several churches and built three church buildings in El Salvador. “We also helped a poor rural school in El Salvador replace their three outhouses with flush toilets and put in a small water tower,” Jeff recalls, “It was a very memorable moment when they invited me to their ‘flush toilet’ dedication! It was such a small thing we did, but it was huge for these people.” He continued: “We also had baptisms in the rivers and pools. I remember we were baptizing several people, and one girl was physically handicapped but wanted to be baptized. We lifted her up out of the chair and carried her to the water and I was baptized with her as we both went under.”

In regards to his book’s impact, Jeff says that he wrote it to give Christians (and seeking unbelievers) scientific and biblical evidence to show that heaven is a real place with locality and dimensionality. “For several years, I’ve challenged my Sunday school classes to think of heaven as a separate dimension or a higher dimension. If God created our spacetime continuum, then He must be in a dimension separate from that which He has created.” He writes about the Bible’s perspective on the spiritual realm and how science points to its reality, as well as the Bible being “God’s communication to us from outside of our spacetime universe,” supplying various examples in the Bible that point to a spiritual realm. The book also discusses how believers enter the spiritual realm, and the dimensionality of hell, heaven, time, and eternity, and lastly, how to wage war in the spiritual realm and protect oneself from attacks through applying God’s truth.

“I came to Calvary only a couple of years after my conversion,” Jeff states, “Yet, I was full of ambition and desire to learn. God led me to the right place for laying the biblical foundation for correct understanding and interpretation of the Bible.” That foundation has been Jeff’s “guide and tether” as he’s ministered and taught over the years, and now recently as he has pursued writing. He adds, “That fundamental, literal approach to understanding God’s Word helped me safely explore the spiritual realm from a biblical perspective for this book. Ideas must not contradict Scripture, we must have a correct understanding of the Word of God so as to not violate Scripture or a scriptural principle.”

When asked about what he is looking forward to in the future, Jeff states: “The future is always exciting because it is the next step in our journey of life. The unknown of tomorrow is a blank canvas that God is writing into our lives as we follow Him and live for Him. I believe we are ever closer to His return and to our departure.” Until then, Jeff plans to continue serving God with the gifts he has been given, as well as living out God’s will for his life by obeying His Word. He plans to fulfill this mission by pointing his audiences to the truth found in God’s holy Scriptures:  “I will preach and teach the truth, because that is what the Holy Spirit uses to save souls and change lives.”

 

Jeff has been faithful in many ministries over the years, and is now excited to step into a new role as a Christian author.

Teaching Today’s Generation: Abigail Stolberg

Teaching Today’s Generation: Abigail Stolberg

Abigail Stolberg is a recent graduate of Calvary University who is equipped to teach today’s generation.

“I look forward to taking hold of every opportunity God has for me.”

Abigail Stolberg graduated this spring with a degree in Secondary English Education and a minor in Theatre Arts. Originally from Ogallala, Nebraska, she served at Calvary as a Resident Discipleship Director in the dorms, and performed in several Calvary productions, while directing others. Along with these roles, Abigail states that she has always had a desire to be a teacher: “I love working with people to help them learn, especially when it is something I’m passionate about.” 

Abigail says that her time at Calvary supplied her with many tools to help her gain success, both practically and personally: “I am grateful for the education department and the high standard of excellence they hold. I’ve done practical preparation to obtain the skills needed to be a good teacher, and I feel well-equipped to enter the field of education. Now, I’m passionate and excited about representing Christ by doing excellent work for Him.”

Abigail recounts that when she first started at Calvary, she was riddled with anxiety, homesickness, and fear. Throughout those challenges, she shares, “I was so grateful for the community at Calvary; even though I was afraid, I didn’t have to be alone. One of my friends encouraged me to pray, not just when I was anxious or afraid, but regularly, and when I did, my life transformed.”

She also adds that the biblical foundation Calvary instilled throughout her education has been “absolutely invaluable” to her personally, and has helped prepare her for the future: “The emphasis on serving the Lord in everything we do is something I try to carry into the classroom each day. Through my relationships within the Christian community at Calvary, I’ve been encouraged and pushed to know Christ better and to be more like Him.” 

During her years at Calvary, Abigail served in various leadership positions, including the Nikao Leadership Institute and the Residence Life team. These programs helped her gain firsthand experience in leadership roles, building relationships, and gaining new perspectives: “I’ve learned from some incredible mentors who have been and who continue to be very influential in my life. This has made me a stronger leader.”

Today, Abigail is eager to get into a classroom of her own and start implementing everything she has learned from Calvary. Now that she has gained the knowledge and experience needed to enter her career field, she states: “I expect to put into practice the skills I’ve gained, and grow both personally and professionally. I want to serve, love, and teach people, and I look forward to taking hold of every opportunity God has for me.”

 

 

Dr. James Clark: Dealing With Conflict Biblically

Dr. James Clark: Dealing With Conflict Biblically

“Conflict is everywhere. In my book, I present Biblical solutions to conflict, whether personal, interpersonal, emotional, social, or spiritual.” 

Dr. Clark is an experienced pastor, chaplain, counselor, and educator who recently published his second book, Dealing With Conflict Biblically, through Calvary University Press. 

Dr. Clark graduated from Calvary Bible College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Education and a minor in Music. He then became as a Youth For Christ director in S.E. Iowa. He served six years as an associate pastor in Wilmar, Minnesota, while also being a college and Vocational-Tech Institute chaplain. Years later, he served as lead pastor in Lackland, Minnesota for five years while also serving as a prison chaplain at Stillwater, Minnesota prison. For ten years, he pastored in Waverly, Iowa and served as chaplain for the Waverly Fire Department. 

In 1993, Dr. Clark began teaching at Calvary and started the counseling department for both college and seminary. In 1993, he attended Bethel Theological Seminary and Trinity Theological College and Seminary, finishing his master’s and doctorate degrees in Biblical counseling. At Calvary, he served as an academic dean for eleven years, president for seven years, and is currently teaching as an adjunct professor. 

Dr. Clark’s journey in ministry began when he was just thirteen years old: “While attending a Youth For Christ rally in St. Louis I felt called to ministry. My church gave me opportunities to speak and I preached two summers in churches in Michigan. I was also active in our local Youth For Christ club from junior high through high school.” While a student at Calvary, Dr. Clark served for three years at Kansas City Youth For Christ as a club director, where he discovered that a career in ministry was his passion because he saw the need to counsel teens.

Dr. Clark saw the need for pastors and chaplains who truly desired to help people through continued counseling: “Being called to Calvary to teach counseling and head up a counseling center was a big step in my life; I loved assisting students in their counseling ministry.” After retiring, Dr. Clark decided to put his experiences and teachings in a Biblical Counseling book for the Christian community, Biblical Counseling for the Church and Community, published through Grace Acres. Now, he is releasing Dealing With Conflict Biblically, through Calvary University Press. 

While in ministry, Dr. Clark dealt with many different types of conflicts first-hand, which prepared him with the knowledge and experience to write Dealing With Conflict Biblically. He states: “It goes without saying that conflict is everywhere. In my book, I present Biblical solutions to conflict, whether personal, interpersonal, emotional, social, or spiritual. How to deal with conflict is clearly laid out in the Bible, which is what I expound upon with illustrations and biblical examples in Dealing With Conflict Biblically.

Dr. Clark is excited about writing several more books to inspire people to find the Bible relevant with solutions for modern society. “Calvary University Press has great potential to inform people about Biblical material to help them in their understanding, knowledge and growth in the Lord Jesus Christ!” Dr. Clark also looks forward to continuing God’s will for his life through following his callings in teaching, preaching, and writing. “I’m enjoying this phase of my retired life. As my physician said, God is not done with the Clarks yet!”

 

Dr. Clark is a highly respected and dearly loved alumnus of Calvary University. CU Press to honored to introduce his work.

Reaching the Unreached: Josiah and Lydia Stout

Reaching the Unreached: Josiah and Lydia Stout

“God is more concerned about who I become rather than what I do. ‘Be’ comes before ‘Do’.”

Josiah and Lydia Stout are newly weds who graduated this spring with degrees in Intercultural Studies and TESOL. Josiah grew up with his family in Omaha, Nebraska for most his life, where he says “Life was good ‘on the prairie.’” Lydia grew up in Missouri and Michigan with her eight siblings and two godly parents who she says exemplified following the Lord in a powerful way throughout her life. Josiah and Lydia met each other at Calvary University through the Nikao Leadership Institute, and married in the summer of 2021. Today, they are eager to embark on their missionary calling through receiving training with Ethnos 360 to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Josiah reflects that his time at Calvary has been “instrumental” in choosing the ministry and career he is now pursuing, and Lydia adds that her education at Calvary has trained and equipped her for her ministry and career through studying Intercultural Studies and teaching English as a second language. She states: “My intercultural classes have encouraged me to fully consider others’ perspectives and the influences that have shaped who they are. This will be important to consider as I try to learn the culture of the people I will work with someday in order to effectively share the Gospel with them.” Josiah adds, “Being in an environment with people to cultivate your passion, opportunities to wet your feet, and an atmosphere that elevates God’s Word have been three of the most instrumental ways my time at Calvary has prepared me for the future.”

The pull towards missions started for Josiah and Lydia when they were both just children. Josiah reveals that, “I was the kid who used my free time to read a book.”  He states that God used both the Word and missionary biographies to grow an early excitement in him to serve in missions, potentially overseas: “I never felt a specific call from God, although I enjoyed volunteering with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) during the summer and thought it could be fun to pursue a teaching ministry, possibly for children. God really used circumstances at Calvary to draw me to His Word and see His love and passion for those who have never heard the gospel.” Lydia recalls a time when she was in elementary school that specifically burdened her soul for the unreached. One day, a missionary speaker came to her school and pulled out a piece of paper that stretched down the audience’s aisle: “On this paper was a list of all the languages which did not have the Bible. It made me so sad, because I knew this meant they did not know the saving message of salvation.” Since this experience, Lydia says God has increased her burden for the unreached and that Calvary has enabled her to pursue a vision of reaching them successfully. Together, Josiah and Lydia are determined to reach the unreached as a unified force. 

During Josiah and Lydia’s four years at Calvary, they volunteered with Global FC: “Because of the four year commitment to tutor these refugees,” Josiah says, “We have developed deeper connections with them. A couple weeks ago Lydia and I were able to spend some time with a family that Lydia began tutoring her freshman year. Even though it had been months since we had seen them, there was a close bond that we sensed in the room.”  Lydia adds, “Global FC has provided me with opportunities to build relationships for Christ with refugee kids and their families. Working with this organization has allowed me to view people of other cultures in a more personal light than I would have otherwise.”

Both Josiah and Lydia have learned powerful lessons through their classes at Calvary. One of the key lessons that Josiah learned was the concept of “Know, Be, Do” which Dr. Joshua Paxton helped “drill” into his head: “What stood out to me is that God is more concerned about who I become rather than what I do. ‘Be’ comes before ‘Do’. All three areas (knowledge, character, actions) are a continual work in progress that God matures as we seek Him.” When reflecting on Lydia’s educational journey, she touches on a lesson that deeply impacted her life: “One of the professors at Calvary, Dr. Bonine, continually reminded me to think of the ‘people or things’ concept. This has reminded me to have the right perspective in life. I try to invest my time and energy into people, which will last forever, instead of things, which are only temporary.”

Presently, Josiah and Lydia are “anticipating what the future holds” as they enter Ethnos 360’s missionary training center this August: “We have been talking and praying about this decision for a few years,” Josiah says, “And so it feels hard to hold our plans loosely. We are excited to begin this next phase of what may lead us overseas in just a few years.” 

At Calvary, Josiah and Lydia were active students, participating in Nikao events, helping lead Haystack meetings, speaking in chapel, and graduating with special honors.