Church Plant Planting a Church
Willi and Heidi (Kendall) Slischewski met at Faith (they actually got married in the Student Center) and returned to Willi’s native Germany to begin a church plant. They have been in the United States for a few months on a short deputation trip. The Faith Alumni Assocation wishes Willi and Heidi God's best in their new ministry in Germany.
Tell us what you have done and where you have been since you graduated from Faith.
Heidi and I moved back to Germany in December of 2009. There we got involved at Freie Baptistengemeinde Ingolstadt (Independent Baptist Church of Ingolstadt). Heidi had to learn the language and I started to work a full-time job in retail.
We both started to have different responsibilities at church. Heidi was involved in children’s ministries, playing piano, and women’s ministries. I had opportunities to teach, preach, plan church events, and write lesson plans.
Heidi, share with us your thoughts about living in Germany the past couple years.
It has been an interesting and exciting time adjusting to the German culture. The biggest adjustments came in the beginning in getting used to hearing German spoken all the time! God has blessed and I have been able to see His hand in so many aspects. I was able to learn the language rather quickly with the help of my German husband and his family. Another big adjustment is being away from home and my own family. Of course, I miss them, but I know God’s plan for me is bigger than what I can imagine. I still have lots to learn and am looking forward to what God will teach me in Germany in the coming years.
Tell us about your children.
Sophia Grace (03/02/2011) loves to sing and look at books, go to children’s church, mix up German and English when she speaks, and play with Daddy.
Olivia Joy (03/23/2013) is a smiling, happy little girl who loves to wave hello, goodbye, and clap. She cannot get enough time with Mommy.
Why did you come to the United States for a few months?
We are in the States for three months to visit churches and present our ministry in Germany. Willi took something like “maternity leave” that allowed him to be away from his job so long. Our goal is to raise enough support from churches and individuals to be able to have to work only part-time when we return to Germany.
Trace the background of the church in Ingolstadt.
In 1987 Charles Ellis started our church along with Virgil Bunjer. In 2004 the church called a national pastor, Christoph Ruttgers, who was a convert of the ministry there and trained by the missionaries in the church. The church became independent of missionaries in 2005. Willi has been chosen as team leader of a church plant about 30 minutes away from the current location of the church.
Give us an approximate timeline for your church planting plans.
Upon our return to Germany, we will search for an apartment and relocate to the city where the church will be started. From there we will reach out to students as well as the older and younger generations. We anticipate meeting in our home in the years to come until there is a solid group and we are able to afford a building. Another goal is to gather a core group from our church in Ingolstadt to help with the church plant.
For both of you, please share how your time at Faith helped to shape you and prepare you for your ministry.
Heidi: It was amazing to see how God worked during my time at Faith. At the time I did not know He was preparing me for exactly what I would need for our future ministry in Germany. I changed majors multiple times and was still not sure what I wanted to do. Little did I know that the “overview” I received in several programs at Faith was the perfect combination of women’s ministries, counseling, and local church ministries I would need. I had the privilege of being a part of the South Africa team in 2009. This trip was instrumental in helping me to see that God had a plan for me in Germany. The atmosphere at Faith was so conducive to spiritual growth. Not only are the professors willing to help you and encourage you, but the students and staff are wonderful too. I am still thankful for the friends I made in college and the way God used them in my life.
Willi: My time at Faith has impacted my life in tremendous ways—friends, theology and ministry mindset are just a few. When I came to Faith I wanted to get a deeper insight into theology. Faith was recommended by a variety of people because of three main aspects: a solid Bible foundation with great professors, local church mindset, and a family flair with personal relationships with the teachers. I found that to be true after only being there for a couple of months. I appreciate those qualities even more today, five years after graduation.
Faith has impacted my life and ministry by helping me to shape my doctrine and philosophy. Two classes and teachers had a remarkable influence on me: Systematic Theology with Dr. Paul Hartog who challenged me to think through theology and know why I believe certain doctrines. That helped me to have a doctrinal foundation for the church plant. The second class was Church Music Administration with Dr. Van Hooser. There Doc made me think about the meaning of music from a Biblical stand and actually write a philosophy of church music. This exercise shaped my thinking about music in a great way and has helped me to know what we will do in our church plant.
Another impact that Faith had in an indirect way was through the surrounding churches. No matter which church I visited, a staff member from Faith was an active member at that church. There I was able to see how important the local church is to the teachers and see them practice what they preach (teach). The churches also helped me to broaden my horizon for the church plant in Germany. Even though there are certain differences in culture, language, and history in churches in Germany and the U.S., there are still foundational things to observe and learn. I have the privilege now to take what I have seen at the local churches (especially Ankeny Baptist Church where I was a member) and use it in the church plant in Eichstätt.
East Goes North
Greg (’10) and Hannah (Alexander ’11) East finished their education at Faith and then headed north to serve as the assistant pastor and wife at Calvary Baptist Church in Ludington, Michigan.
What did you study at Faith?
Greg: I graduated from the Assistant Pastor/Youth program in the college, and I have taken classes toward the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies degree in the seminary.
Hannah: I graduated from the Administrative Assistant program [now called Office Administration].
When did you go to Ludington, Michigan?
We moved here in March of 2012 to begin our ministry. We have been here almost two years, and we are expecting our first child.
What is your ministry at Calvary?
I serve as the associate pastor of youth and Christian education.
How did your time at Faith prepare you for this position?
I believe my time at faith was instrumental in giving me a sound understanding of the Scriptures. While I don't think any one place could fully prepare someone for the challenges that a pastor faces in ministry, I do believe that my time at Faith gave me the solid foundation I needed to get a good start. I have learned a lot of practical things ever since coming to this church, but the hours of study in the classroom gave me confidence in my teaching and preaching ministries.
What is your favorite part of your ministry?
I enjoy so many things about the ministry at Calvary.
• I love the pastoral relationship that I have with Pastor Yankee [Tim Yankee, ‘85].
• We have enjoyed building relationships with the people in our church. When we came, these people were just faces in a church directory, but now they are our friends and the people we love.
• We love working with the teens here. When we first came, we had only 3 teens attending Sunday School and youth group. After the first year, we grew to 8 teens who are excited about growing in Christ. One of the most rewarding things that we have been able to experience thus far is seeing one of the teens put into practice something that we have studied. I can echo the Apostle John in saying, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
What is the best advice you were given by a professor at Faith?
I thank God for the influence and impact that certain professors had on me.
• I find myself thankful for Dr. Brown's sermon preparation steps as I go back to them for every message I preach.
• I am thankful for the impact that Doctor Van [Dr. Irv Van Hooser] had on me. There is no one that I can think of that is more passionate about ministry than he is. He taught me a lot, not just vocally, but spiritually. (Don't tell him this, but I always saw him as kind of a grandpa . . . who is in really good shape!)
I also received encouragement from two other places that often go unnoticed.
• The Faith Admissions Office—When I was at school, these were people who encouraged me spiritually and often brightened a very busy, draining day with a lot of laughter and encouraging words. Without people like them in my life, college would have been far less enjoyable.
• Nevada Baptist Church—One of the most important places that helped me spiritually was Nevada Baptist Church [Nevada, Iowa], the church I attended during school. I am so thankful that Faith puts an emphasis on the local church, and I found my home away from home in Nevada. Everything pertaining to the practical side of ministry I learned at Nevada. (For those of you who are not from Iowa, the first “a” in Nevada is long, unlike the state by that name.)
Hannah and I both are so thankful for the role Faith played in our lives. We enjoy serving together at Calvary Baptist.
Paul Hartog Publishes Major Book
Dr. Paul Hartog, vice president of academic services and dean of Faith Baptist Bible College, has published a major new academic work titled Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. This title is part of the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Hartog is a leading Polycarpian scholar in international academic circles and spent several years writing this commentary. You will find a description of the book and ordering information through Amazon. Faith is honored to have a man of Dr. Hartog’s standing as a teacher and academic officer. Read on to find out more about the writing of this book.
What made you decide you wanted to write on Polycarp?
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Polycarp’s use of the New Testament, and I have continued to research and write on Polycarpian literature ever since.
When were you first approached to write on Polycarp?
The invitation to write this specific volume came after presenting a paper at an academic conference examining the Apostolic Fathers held at Oxford University. Editors from a series of books on the Apostolic Fathers organized that conference and edited the published proceedings.
How long did it take you to write it?
FOREVER! (according to my sweetheart) ? I spent between 15 and 20 hours a week working on the project over the space of four years.
What was your favorite part of the process?
Finishing! ? Being able to write a full commentary, from introductory matters, through textual issues and translation, to comprehensive exegetical notes.
As you studied Polycarp, what intrigued you most?
Several things struck me: the nature of the moral exhortation in his epistle, the manner in which the Martyrdom promoted communal formation, and the difficulties faced in critically analyzing Polycarp’s life history and martyrdom.
For the common reader, what is one fact about Polycarp that would be interesting to know?
His one extant epistle is an early witness to the transmission and use of New Testament documents. He almost certainly employed Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, and 1 John. He probably used Matthew, 2 Corinthians, and 2 Timothy. And he possibly used other books, including Luke, Acts, and 2 Thessalonians.
Why is Polycarp relevant for Christians today?
Polycarp was martyred for his faith in Christ, thus serving as an example of firm Christian commitment.
Where is your book going to be used most?
Most likely, only research libraries and select scholars of early Christianity will purchase volumes in the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series (the high cost of the volumes reflects this limited audience).
Have you started working on another book or do you plan to?
I have other book contracts lined up, as time permits. The projects range from more popular level works to other volumes with academic presses.
The Blessings of Adoption
During this Thanksgiving/Christmas season of the year, we bring to you two stories of alumni who have adopted children. These stories show the blessings of adoption.
Mike ('99) and Kristen (Boyd '99) Myers
Assistant Pastor and Wife
Brown Street Baptist Church
We can think of 10,000 reasons for our hearts to sing this time of the year, and Samuel and Mickie, our wonderful gifts from God, are definitely near the top of the list!
We have chosen to adopt because God has given us a desire to have children. After a miscarriage and not being able to get pregnant again and after a few failed fertility treatments, we were devastated and our savings account was depleted. Two months later we were invited to an adoption conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Through a message from James 1:27, we were challenged to flesh out our faith by caring for orphans. We then were reminded from James 4:17 that if we know to do something and do not do it, it is sin. We both desire to please God and be obedient to His Word, so we committed to fervently pursue adopting children and being advocates for adoption.
The experience so far has been a tremendous spiritual maturing process for us. We have a greater understanding of the truth that God has adopted us through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4–8). We are reminded that when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we became immediate heirs of God and we are now called children of God (Gal. 4:4–7). Adoption has caused us to realize the awesome privilege that we have of being able to imitate God by being a father to the fatherless (Ps. 68:5)! Adoption reminds us God has met our need through Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:12, 13), and we can imitate Him by giving Samuel and Mickie all the rights, privileges, and obligations that come from being our very own children.
Adoption has opened up for us so many more witnessing opportunities. Most of all, adoption has increased our faith In God in an incredible way. For 9 years, 4 months, and 18 days, we prayed every day for a child, and God placed Samuel into our arms. For 3 years, 7 months, and 9 days, we prayed every day for another child and God placed Mickie into our arms. Throughout our entire adoption journeys we have clung to the sovereignty of God so much. We consider it a privilege to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We love watching our children grow and having them hold our hands. We love the hundreds of questions they ask. We cherish those slobbery kisses and big hugs, and it is so special to hear them say, "I love you, Mommy and Daddy!" We continue to pray every day for the salvation of Samuel and Mickie. Lord willing, they will come to know the Lord, love the Lord, and serve the Lord with their lives.
For those considering adoption, we would encourage you to educate yourself as much as possible about adoption by attending conferences, reading books, and getting involved in local adoption communities. But most of all, be sure to commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans (Prov. 16:3). Adoption can be a long, grueling, and expensive journey which requires a complete trust and dependence on God. But always remember that nothing is too difficult for Him (Jer. 32:17).
Mike ('99 and '02) and Liz (Rogers '02) Augsburger
Pastor and Wife
Willow Creek Baptist Church
West Des Moines, Iowa
Very few people understand the pain and frustration of infertility. Yet in our lives we not only understand it but we also are thankful for it!
We were married in May of 2002 after our graduation from Faith. Life seemed to cruise along "as planned" for many years. New house, new ministry, new teaching job for Liz; these were all blessings from God's hand. Starting a family was part of the plan, but in our time and on our schedule.
Well, God wanted to make it clear that we cannot control every part of our lives! Finally, after 8 years of marriage, Elijah made his grand appearance! We had not been strategically pursuing adoption, but after a series of friend connections and phone calls, Liz and I found ourselves chatting with a young 14-year-old girl who was deciding between adoption or abortion. Thankfully, she chose adoption, and amazingly she chose us!
We were able to attend all of her doctor's appointments and see all of the ultrasounds. Elijah Bryce was born on April 6, 2010, and has changed our lives and many things in our church ministry as well. After his birth, the number of families with adopted children exponentially increased in our church, and we have even seen people saved as a result of our story.
Elijah is now a happy 3 year old who loves to play and help dad in the yard. He has no idea the impact his little life has already made for Christ. We are excited to share HIS story with him so that he can also give God the glory for saving his life and placing him in our home!
Effective Summer Ministries
This past summer many Faith students had the opportunity to travel here and abroad as they completed their internships or took mission trips.
• Charlie Carter, a senior in the Pastoral Training/Greek program completed his pastoral internship in New Woodstock, New York.
• Natalie Bunjer, a senior in the Local Church Ministries/Missions program, took the opportunity to go on a six-week mission internship to Landshut, Germany.
• Pamela Betz, a junior in the Office Administration/Women’s Ministry program, ministered with the Faith Chorale for three weeks in the Netherlands, France, and Germany. She spent an extra month after that tour working with missionaries in Berlin, Germany, and in La Rochelle, France.
Hear from these students as they share what God has done in their lives this past summer.
What led your desire for the location in which you served in this summer?
Charlie: I never had considered going far for an internship, especially being a farm kid from Iowa, but God provided an opportunity to go to New York so I went!
Natalie: I was born and lived in Germany until I was 9 years old. My parents were missionaries to Bavaria at that time. I believe God has used the short time I got to live in Germany to give me a heart for the country and for the people. I have had that desire for some time, but now having spent six weeks immersed in the culture and with the people, God has given me a much stronger passion for Germany.
Pamela: Initially I tried out to be a part of the European Chorale because I saw it as a great opportunity to minister alongside my friends doing something I love--singing! From there God continued to fuel my passion to get more involved and learn more about the work God is doing in Europe by working alongside missionaries and learning from them on a personal level.
How did you see God at work?
Charlie: God showed Himself in big ways throughout my internship! I had opportunities to preach and teach as well as work with individuals. I could see Him at work in the church in the lives of the people the whole time I was there!
Natalie: Throughout the whole trip God was hard at work in my life. Though I could speak some German, I never felt like I could communicate effectively. Throughout my time there, God drastically improved my speaking ability, and my last week in Germany I was able to be a counselor at camp. A big answer to prayer came on Friday during camp. One of the girls in my room was unsaved and I was praying for an opportunity to sit down and talk about the gospel with her. Friday morning I just sat and prayed for a long time that today (the last day) might be the day. God answered that prayer and Leonie placed her faith in Jesus Christ Friday evening!
Pamela: I tried to go into this trip with the mindset that “God is always at work.” For instance, while singing on the streets of Paris, God allowed our Chorale to cross paths with Tony and Shamel. They came to our concert the next day and several of our Chorale members were able to build relationships with them and share the gospel. Six weeks later, the day before I flew back to the States, I went back to Paris and was able to find Tony again! It was an encouragement to hear that he had gone back to church and that God was still working in his heart weeks after we had met him.
What did you learn about how culture impacts the way people live and understand the gospel?
Natalie: True Christianity and true believers are far less common in Germany than here in the United States. A lot of them are first generation Christians, and they live out their Christian walk so earnestly and genuinely. To them, Christianity isn’t just what you do but who you are. I was so impacted and challenged by how real being a Christian was to them and how honest they were about their struggles.
Charlie: I learned that God bridges the gap to help you minister no matter where you are and that the Holy Spirit can speak the truth to someone’s heart anywhere!
What did you learn or experience that will change the way you live and represent Christ in your community and church?
Natalie: I was impressed with the number of one-on-one discipleship Bible studies that take place weekly among the believers in the church. This is what I want to start implementing in my own life from both directions: being discipled by an older and wiser Christian and taking the time to start discipleship with a younger girl in my church.
Pamela: While working alongside missionaries in Europe, I learned from their creative ways to reach people, their servant hearts, and how the love for God spilled into the lives of others. I do not want to put “ministry” into a box, but rather live out every moment in service to my King!
Charlie: My internship really opened my eyes to what pastoral ministry really looks like. The pulpit really is the cherry on top of the sundae! It’s not that you don’t emphasize and greatly enjoy the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, but you spend a lot of time—almost all of your time—with people! Studying at Faith had taught me that the ministry is people. I was able to take that and see what it really looks like on a day-to-day level.
What was the most challenging aspect of your trip?
Charlie: Effective ministry cannot be centered on you at all! It was a challenge to me to continually be looking out for opportunities to minister and to keep working hard! I was really stretched out of my comfort zone at times!
Natalie: The most challenging aspect of my trip was speaking the language and overcoming my fear of speaking the language. It was challenging, exhausting, miserable, and so rewarding all at the same time. Though it wasn’t always fun or easy, I am so, so thankful for this challenge.
Pamela: It was challenging to be outside of my element, away from my family, people who speak my language and away from all things familiar. I was challenged as I tried to get to know people and minister to people in ways that I wasn’t as familiar with or comfortable with.
What did you enjoy most about your trip?
Natalie: I loved the country, the culture, the people, and the food! I don’t think I can narrow down what I enjoyed most. However, one of the highlights was the times I got to spend with the youth group. There were about 20 of them on average, and they were probably the most welcoming and accepting teens I have ever met. It was so special to be able to develop relationships with many of the girls and now, thanks to technology, I am still able to communicate with them.
Pamela: I most enjoyed the people I was able to meet throughout Europe. Whether it be the people who graciously opened up their homes, people I met on the street, people I was able to share the gospel with, believers whose love for God and others overflowed, missionary families who opened up their lives and their hearts, or the children and youth I was able to connect with, I was continually blessed by the people God allowed my path to cross with!
Charlie: The time I enjoyed the most was with the families that I stayed with. I stayed at a different house every week!
How has your time so far at Faith prepared you for this ministry?
Natalie: My time at Faith has given me the opportunity to study God’s Word indepth as well as take classes relating to missions and culture that all aided me during this trip.
Pamela: I am thankful for all that I have learned during my time at Faith about my God and His Word. The more I know Him, the more desire I have to serve Him!
Walton Lecture SeriesApril 23-25
Dr. Roy Beacham from Central Baptist Theological Seminary will present this year's Walton Lecture Series on the topic of "Those Pesky Prophets: Toward a Clearer Understanding of Old Testament Prophecy."
Commencement ServicesMay 8, 9
Join graduates, family, and friends for our special Commencement events.
Dr. Paul Hartog Honored
Dr. Paul Hartog, Faith's vice president for academic services and dean of the college, was recently honored by being included in a listing titled "100 Remarkable Professors and Scholars Theology Students Should Know About." Read More
Board Appoints Interim President
The Board of Directors of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ernie Schmidt as the interim president of the institution. Read More
Faith Ranked #1 Nationally
Faith Baptist Bible College recently was ranked #1 nationally in an interesting Facebook survey. Read More