Expanding the University’s Relationship with Churches
After 25 years of being a youth pastor, Rev. Derry Prenkert ’99 was called out of the local church to invest in the local church. As part of that step of faith, Prenkert has become the new Pastor of Church Relations at Bethel University.
This part-time role has three main functions. First, Prenkert will work with churches that have special ties with the university to help raise awareness that Bethel is here to support them as leaders or as a resource.
Second, he is a liaison between the Missionary Church and Bethel University, being a voice for Bethel to the ministers and the voice of the ministers back to the university. In this area, he partners with Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries Keith Koteskey, D.Min., and Associate Professor of Missions Kent Eby, Ph.D., to continue to build that relationship on the pastoral and denominational levels.
The third portion of his role is to work with admissions to reach students through youth ministry. His background as a youth pastor helps the Bethel team to effectively connect with students and leaders in church youth ministries.
Having grown up in the Missionary Church and been a graduate of Bethel himself, Prenkert sees his new role as a way to invest in a school he loves and that has had an impact on his own life.
“Bethel transformed my life,” he reflects. “It was while I was there my freshman year when I truly dedicated my life to the Lord, and then I received my ministry calling, and then I met my wife – three significant parts of your life.”
Looking forward in his new role, Prenkert has the desire to continue to build the relationship Bethel University has with the Missionary Church and to draw more students from the denomination.
“The relationship between the Missionary Church and Bethel ebbs and flows, but it’s always been there,” Prenkert explains. “It’s a partnership. It is in a season of incredible health right now where there’s a hunger to walk together in mission.”
Whether it’s events such as Bethel Day with the Missionary Church, which was held February 26, or having LEAD teams intentionally serving at summer camps and retreats, Prenkert is eager to see more Bethel individuals engaging with Missionary Churches and more Missionary Church students on Bethel’s campus.