2015 ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Every year the Faith Alumni Association is pleased to recognize two alumni with Alumnus of the Year awards. The categories for this year’s Alumnus of the Year awards are pastor and assistant pastor.
ASSISTANT PASTOR—JAMES REYNOLDS
James was born in 1976 into a pastor’s family. At the time of his birth his parents Dennis and Barb, both Faith grads, were serving as pastor and wife at a church in the Des Moines area.
James' start as a pastor began really early in life. At age 3 he stood on a footstool in the family home and preached, no doubt imitating his father. So from earliest days James wanted to serve as a pastor. Through the influence of his family and his church, he accepted Christ around the age of 4 or 5.
During his high school days at Grandview Park Baptist School James participated in soccer, wrestling, and drama, sang with the Songs of Praise vocal ensemble, and was the chaplain of his senior class.
Still nurturing his desire to enter ministry, he enrolled at Faith in the fall of 1995. In the fall of 1997 he started dating Heather Thomas, a Faith student from Lapeer, Michigan. The Lord gave both of them a desire to serve Him together. James graduated in May of 1999, and they were married in June of that year.
Let me back up just a month to get the full picture here. In May of 1999, even before he graduated, James started serving as the assistant pastor of the church his father was pastoring, which was now Nevada Baptist Church in Nevada, Iowa.
What makes James so worthy of this recognition today is that he is still the assistant pastor of that church 16 years later. That kind of tenure is so rare in assistant pastors today. And he has had the special privilege all these years to serve with his father.
In his ministry James leads the youth program, directs the music, works with the lights and sound, has written a children’s program for Wednesday evenings, and carries out general administrative duties.
He has a ministry beyond his church by serving on the board of the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp and ministering as a chaplain for the Iowa Highway Patrol. He had used his expertise in sound and lights to help other churches set up their sound and light systems.
One of the special ministries he has is with students from Faith who want to enter youth ministry. James meets with these men regularly in an organized program to mentor them in the practical side of youth ministry.
James and his wife, Heather, have four children: Hunter, Karianne, Tori, and Jadyn. His wife teaches at Grand View Christian School.
The Faith Alumni Association is pleased to present this year’s assistant pastor Alumnus of the Year award to James Reynolds.
Patrick was born in West Point, Nebraska, in 1970. Around the age of 9 he trusted Christ as his Savior.
When Patrick was 14, his family moved to Chatfield, Minnesota and became involved in Calvary Baptist Church. As a high schooler, Patrick became burdened for teens in his public school and sensed God calling him to full-time ministry.
During his high school years he started dating a certain young lady in the church—Ruth Merrill. They dated for three years and then it came time to go to college. Patrick enrolled at Faith in 1988 while Ruth enrolled at another college. That was a good test of their relationship. She finished her two-year degree in 1990 and they were married that summer.
As a side note, while Ruth was at this other school, she met Jim and Joan Tillotson and one of her roommates was President Jim Tillotson’s sister.
During Patrick's first three years at Faith, he served as the youth leader at Norwoodville Baptist Church in Des Moines. In the fall of his last year at Faith he became the part-time assistant pastor at Ankeny Baptist Church under current Faith board member Norm Hoag. Patrick moved to a full-time position in May of 1992 after his graduation from Faith.
During his years at Ankeny Baptist Church, Patrick led the youth ministries, directed VBS, and was active in the church’s evangelism program. He also earned the master of arts degree from Faith during this time.
In 1999 the congregation of Holmes Baptist Church in Clarion, Iowa, recognized Patrick's spiritual leadership qualities and called him to be their senior pastor. Under his ministry the church grew substantially. He led the church in evangelistic efforts in all the towns of that rural county. During several of those years he also served as the president of the Faith Alumni Association, which meant he was a member of the advisory board here at Faith.
The next place of ministry for Patrick Odle was here at Faith. In 2008 President James Maxwell invited him to become the vice president for enrollment and student life and student body chaplain. That ministry encompassed many areas of our school—admissions, student life, athletics, and our daily chapel services—and as usual, he served with great spiritual leadership and made a significant impact on this school.
In 2011 First Baptist Church of Elyria, Ohio, was looking for a new senior pastor after the homegoing of Brad Quick, longtime pastor at the church and a member of the Faith advisory board. The church recognized the leadership capabilities of Patrick Odle and called him to be their senior pastor where he currently serves.
Patrick has preached in Ecuador, Brazil, India, Italy, Malta, and Romania. He serves on the general council of Baptist Mid-Missions and on the Faith board of directors where he is currently the chairman.
Patrick and his wife have four children—Ellen Locker, Tori, Julia, and Carson. Ellen is a graduate of our school, and Tori is a current student.
Several ministries over the years have recognized Patrick's spiritual character and leadership abilities, and the Faith Alumni Association is now pleased to recognize his ministry and leadership abilities as well. We are pleased to present our 2015 Alumnus of the Year award for pastor to Patrick Odle.
HONORARY ALUMNI—ERNIE AND GEN SCHMIDT
From time to time the Faith Alumni Association recognizes individuals as honorary alumni of Faith. This distinction is granted to people who did not graduate from Faith but who have made a significant contribution to Faith. This year we are pleased to recognize two individuals as honorary alumni of Faith—Ernie and Gen Schmidt.
Ernie was born in Toulon, Illinois, a small town near Peoria. During his teen years he received the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and that decision changed the direction of his life, giving him the desire to enter full-time ministry. Upon graduation from high school, he entered Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and graduated in 1967.
Gen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and like Ernie, attended Pillsbury Baptist Bible College after graduating from high school, desiring to serve the Lord.
In those days the students sat in alphabetical order in chapel. Gen’s maiden name is Schoepf, which, in the Lord’s good plan, put Ernie and Gen side by side in chapel. Love blossomed and they were married in 1966 in Marshall, Minnesota, where her father was the pastor. During Ernie’s senior year in college he was the student pastor in a church in Sherburne, Minnesota. While waiting for Ernie to complete his college education, Gen earned the Master of Religious Education degree from Pillsbury.
Immediately following Ernie’s graduation, Ernie and Gen launched into a lifetime of service for Christ that took them to many places and to many different kinds of ministries.
1967–1971—Pastor of Chisago Lakes Baptist Church in Chisago City, Minnesota
1971–1973—Faculty member and chair of the Pastorology Department at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
1973–1975—Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Owatonna, Minnesota
1975–1976—Missionary pastor at Bozeman Baptist Church in Bozeman, Montana
1976–1979—Pastor of Parkers Lake Baptist Church in Plymouth, Minnesota
1979–1987—Faculty member at Northland Baptist Bible College
1987–1990—Pastor of Sterling Baptist Church in Sterling, Alaska
1990–1994—Faculty member and chair of Pastorology at Pillsbury (round two)
1994–1998—Faculty member, dean of the Bible Department, and coordinator of graduate studies at Northland Baptist Bible College (round two)
1998–2002—Pastor of Chisago Lakes Baptist Church in Chisago City, Minnesota (round two)
2002–2013—Faculty member, associate dean, and dean at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
2006–2011—Founder and first pastor of Community Baptist Church in Ankeny
July 2013—Ernie and Gen retired and moved to Owatonna to be near their children.
January 2014—They had been retired for just a few months when Ernie agreed to come out of retirement to serve as our interim president. So that time they have driven from Owatonna to Ankeny and back every week.
During these years of pastoring and teaching, Ernie pursued graduate work.
1971—Master of Divinity degree from Central Baptist Theological Seminary
1996—Doctor of Ministry degree from Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Ernie has also done extensive graduate work at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.
Somewhere in all this busy ministry Ernie has led 13 Bible land trips as well as trips to Turkey and Greece. He has also taught in India, Peru, Ukraine, and Romania
Ernie and Gen have two children. Cyndie is married to David Mumford, and they serve as missionaries in France. John is married to Stacy, and they live in Owatonna, Minnesota, where Ernie and Gen have tried to retire to. They have six grandchildren. Marissa Mumford Daily has been a student here and Morghan Mumford is currently a student at Faith.
Now let’s get back to Gen. Through all these years Gen served alongside her husband. When Ernie was pastoring, Gen was the church secretary. When he was teaching, she served in other ways in the different institutions. She worked in the library, taught Christian Education classes and served as the administrative assistant for several Bible college presidents—Al Potter at Pillsbury, Les Ollila at Northland, and Richard Houg, John Hartog III, James D. Maxwell III, and her husband Ernie at Faith. She came out of retirement with Ernie to pick up her role as the president’s administrative assistant.
Gen has always supported Ernie in his ministries, but in her own right she has had an outstanding record of service for the Savior.
How can we sum up Ernie and Gen’s ministry? In Ephesians 4:11 Paul wrote about apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. Many people see the last two words as referring to one man—the pastor-teacher. Ernie pastored several churches and taught at three Bible colleges and seminaries. And in his teaching ministries, he taught pastors. Gen has served with him in pastoring and teaching. So in a real sense Ernie Schmidt, supported by his wife, captures the essence of that phrase “pastor-teacher.”
Ladies and gentlemen, what a lifetime of service for Christ by Pastor-Teacher Ernie and Gen Schmidt! Faith is proud to have had them serving here, and we recognize them today as honorary alumni of Faith.
Alumni of the Year Awards
Since 1970 the Faith Alumni Association has recognized outstanding alumni with the Alumni of the Year awards. To be eligible for this award, an alumnus must
• have graduated at least 10 years prior to the year of the award
• have made a substantial contribution to his or her profession
• demonstrate high Christian standards and integrity
• evidence the blessing of the Lord on his or her life
• faithfully promote the college and seminary and support the Alumni Association
• be a person whose selection will reflect honor on the school
We recognize Alumni of the Year on a five-year cycle:
Pastor and Assistant Pastor
John Kain (1970)
Eldon Weaver (1976)
Timothy Crown (1982)
Charles Hawkins (1988)
Miles Grismore (1994)
Curtis DeGraaff (2001)
Duke Crawford (2008)
Patrick Odle (2015)
• Assistant Pastor
Mickey Farlow (1995)
Kevin Mungons (2002)
Gene Matlock (2009)
James Reynolds (2015)
U.S.A. and Foreign Missionaries
• U.S.A. Missionaries
Harold Nieman (1971)
Allen Adler (1977)
Lee Hutchinson (1983)
Louis Miller (1989)
Dean Button (1996)
Ralph Boersma (2003)
Bill and Deb Edmondson (2011)
• Foreign Missionaries
Robert Meyer (1972)
Chuck Cook (1978)
Harold Dark (1984)
Knute Orton (1990)
Stephen and Evelyn Stilwell (1997)
Virgil and Delores Bunjer (2004)
John and Bev Leonard (2011)
Educator (male and female)
Evelyn Pittman (1973)
Charles Bergerson (1979)
Richard Fleming (1985)
Dick McWilliams (1991)
Russell Glessner (1998)
Dr. John Hartog III (2005)
Martha Hartog and Kevin Bauder (2012)
Christian Worker (male and female)
Theresa Moore (1974)
Judy Matlock (1980)
Ron Abbas (1986)
Don Anderson (1992)
Chuck Nichols (1999)
Phil Betz (2006)
Pat Duer and Darrell Goemaat (2013)
Lay Person (male and female)
Ron Hlad (1975)
Chuck Nilius (1981)
Larry Laird (1987)
Bruno Smith (1993)
Jim Wolfe (2000)
Jim Bryan (2007)
Sandi Nihart and John Javaux (2014)
The 2015 Alumni of the Year award will go to a pastor and assistant pastor.
From time to time the Faith Alumni Association recognizes a person as an honorary alumnus. This title is given to an individual who did not graduate from Faith but who has made a significant contribution to the institution. We have recognized the following individuals as honorary alumni:
Dr. John L. Patten (1970)
Mr. Vernon R. Bliss (1977)
Dr. Harry B. Gray (1981)
Mrs. John L. (Hazel) Patten (1984)
Dr. Arthur B. Walton (1985)
Dr. Donald Brong (1986)
Mr. Herb Brudtkuhl (1987)
Mrs. Norma Shipp (1988)
Mr. William Parmerlee (1989)
Dr. Robert L. Domokos (1990)
Dr. David Nettleton (1991)
Dr. David Boylan (1993)
Dr. Manfred Kober (1994)
Mrs. Marilyn Tollenaar (2010)
Mrs. Gladys Gray (2012)
Commencement Weekend Recap
Read about all the commencement weekend events and the alumnus of the year awards.
Jump StartJune 15–19
High schoolers can get a jump start on their college education by taking a class at Faith.
Faith Reception at the GARBC ConferenceJuly 2
Meet President Tillotson at this year's Faith Reception at the GARBC Conference in Omaha.
Faith Hosts BCP and CBM Conferences
Faith will host the BCP and CBM Conferences in July.