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FALL 2016


Creative Arts

GOD IS STILL ON HIS THRONE A message in the midst of a crisis p. 4 TOM LAWSON ASKS What is the single greatest worship experience of your life? p. 6 ESPECIALLY FOR WORSHIP MINISTERS Resources to equip your worship and creative arts ministry p. 22

“My classroom is any smartphone, any tablet, any laptop. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it is worth it.” Justin Bass

OCC online student

Training workers already in the field.

CONTENTS TO INSPIRE President’s Perspective Matt Proctor

Four lessons from the Bible’s greatest worship service

Featured Theme Dr. Tom Lawson

An OCC professor explores powerful, life-changing worship

Gratitude at a Glance

Preparing our hearts this Thanksgiving season-and all year-round

New Testament Words Kenny Boles

An in-depth look at the language of Scripture

Just One: Susanne Walden Amy Storms

The high privilege of leading God’s people to his throne

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TO INFORM Campus News

Recent happenings at OCC

The Big Picture

A snapshot of life around campus

Meet Your OCC Family

Introducing Ozark’s staff member, Bob West

Coming Soon

Upcoming events at OCC

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TO CONNECT Here’s an Idea Isaac Schade

Practical suggestions for your worship ministry

Your Partnership David Duncan

Helpful tools for Christian stewardship

Alumni News

Updates from alumni around the world

One More Thing Amy Storms

A final thought from our assistant editor

The Ambassador magazine is published four times each year to inspire, inform and connect the Ozark Christian College family. Editorial Team: Dru Ashwell, Kathy Bowers, Jim Dalrymple, Jill English, Amy Storms Graphic Design: Little Bird Marketing Photo Contributors: Alia Alzyoud, Mark Neuenschwander, David Summerlin Cover photos from GETAWAY, September 9-10, 2016 at OCC Contact Us: Ozark Christian College 1111 N. Main Joplin, MO 64801

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The ultimate mission of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The immediate mission of OCC is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.



Matt Proctor has served as president of Ozark Christian College since 2006.

Matt Proctor

April 15, 1865. The day after President Lincoln’s assassination, a crowd gathered on the streets of New York City. The news had inflamed emotions, and anger toward the President’s critics flared. Cries for vengeance began to sound. As the throng threatened to become a mob, suddenly a man stepped forward, ramrod posture, a Union Army general. His voice rang out, commanding attention, “Fellow citizens! Clouds and darkness are around about him. His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Justice and judgment are the establishment of his throne. Mercy and truth shall go before his face. Fellow citizens! God reigns, and the government at Washington still lives!” The words immediately calmed the crowd. The speaker was General James A. Garfield, Ohio congressman, Christian Church preacher and future president of the United States. In the midst of crisis, Garfield knew what people needed to hear: God is still on his throne.

Worship Focuses Our Attention

The apostle John knew this, too. In the book of Revelation, John writes to believers in Asia Minor undergoing persecution. They are losing jobs, facing ridicule, under threat of imprisonment and even execution. Their lives have been turned upside down, and they are wondering how they will ever endure. They need encouragement, and they need it now. So in Revelation 4, John invites them into worship, into the very throne room of heaven. Throne is the key word in Revelation 4, used 14 times. It might be the key word to the entire book, appearing 46 times. After all, the bedrock of Christian theology is the sovereignty of God, and John wants his readers to know: God is in control of the universe. Our God reigns, and in worship, God’s supremacy is once again impressed upon our minds. That’s what happens in the greatest worship service in the Bible. When you enter heaven’s royal court in Revelation 4, you suck in your breath, shield your eyes from the dazzling light




and drop to your knees in fear and wonder. Incense fills your nostrils. An angelic warhost so vast you have to count it by the ten thousands shakes the very foundations of the sky with their praise. The countless, thundering voices rumble in your chest. The noise is so loud you can’t hear yourself think. Every being in heaven is focused on the throne. At the center of that throne is a majestic God—so holy that he cannot be named, so glorious that the only way John can paint him is by dipping his brush in thunder, lightning, rainbows and jewels.

Worship Fine-tunes Our Imagination

We could try to take apart the imagery of this scene. We could say the clear jasper and smoldering carnelian hint at God’s pure, blazing holiness. We could say the rainbow—God’s promise to withhold flood-judgment—pictures his faithful mercies. We could say the crashing thunder, splitting lightning and conquered sea all signify God’s majestic power. But mostly, we are meant to say nothing at all. We are meant to be left speechless. We are also meant to be left fearless. This vision of God on the throne is meant to recalibrate our imagination. John’s readers thought the world was controlled by the evil Roman Emperor Domitian, and in the midst of hardship, we, too, can think our world is controlled by our crisis. Worries invade your mind like a hostile army, doubts and dangers assail you, and fear looms so large it blots out the blue sky of heaven. But in worship, we see the throne, and these earthly fears assume their proper size. In light of God’s power, they are frail and finite. Our entire outlook on the world changes. Now we can see clearly, and this worship scene in Revelation 4 declares, “Be encouraged, small, persecuted church. Be warned, haughty Roman empire. Tremble with fear, Satan and your host of darkness. God is on the throne and he is in control of all things!”1

Scotty Smith and Michael Card, Unveiled Hope. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997.

Worship Inspires Our Awe

Worship Strengthens Our Soul

At Ozark Christian College, we are preparing the next The greatest worship service I’ve ever witnessed happened generation of worship leaders for the church, and our Music in my living room. In January of 2013, my wife Katie began Department has recently undergone a number of changes. experiencing health difficulties, and soon the diagnosis came A few to mention: back: cancer. • We’ve renamed it the Worship Arts Department. We The word was a punch in the gut, and our lives were instantly still teach music as we always have, but in addition to a turned upside down. More tests, more doctors, more hospitals, Worship Ministry major, more surgery. Our heads were this department now offers a spinning, and our hearts were hurting. Creative Arts Ministry major. I remember praying, “Lord, I need her, We could say the jasper This major equips students with our six kids need her. Please don’t take and carnelian hint at production technology skills— her yet.” audio, video, lighting, stage set Katie was so weak and her immune God’s holiness. We could design and graphic arts—to system so compromised that she could say the rainbow pictures help the church worship with not leave the house, and she missed creativity and excellence. his faithful mercies. We worshipping with our church for over • After 12 years leading OCC’s three months. could say the thunder, worship band Frontline, But OCC alum (and dear friend) lightning and conquered Matt Stafford has moved Paul Burton brought church to sea all signify God’s into his new role as Worship her. The worship leader at our Arts Department director, congregation, Paul showed up at our majestic power. But already earning trust with his house one day and gathered the whole mostly, we are meant collaborative leadership and Proctor clan in the living room. Katie biblical depth. to say nothing at all. sat in the chair she’d been in for weeks, • Isaac Schade has stepped in my son Luke sat at the piano, and Paul We are meant to be left as our new chapel minister sat on the couch with his guitar and speechless. and Frontline director, with led us in worship. a master’s degree in New “Amazing Grace,” “Ten Thousand Testament and experience as a Reasons,” “How Great Is Our God”— worship leader with CIY and on a megachurch staff. our living room was transformed into the throne room. With • Later in this Ambassador, you’ll read about changes to the eyes closed, hands raised, tears streaming down our cheeks, we Living Christmas Tree and Highest Praise, as those two sang together: ministries move into their next chapter. Troubles surround me, chaos abounding We want our worship majors to serve the church well. Under My soul will rest in You. the teaching of folks like Dr. Tom Lawson, Matthew Holt, I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm Tammy Nelson, Rob Pommert and Andrea Huckabay, our My help is on the way, my help is on the way students dig into the Bible’s teaching about worship, learn worship history, study musical theory and gain vocal and Oh, my God, He will not delay instrumental skills. They learn how to lead volunteers, form My refuge and strength always worship teams, and plan an effective worship service. I will not fear, His promise is true But most importantly, we want our worship majors to take My God will come through always, always people before the throne. Paul kept coming back, and over those dreadful weeks, he sang Our graduates will serve in churches where, like the apostle hope back into our hearts and strength back into our souls. John’s readers, people’s lives will be in crisis. We want our Today, if you are in crisis, facing trials, engulfed in doubt graduates equipped to lead others into a deeper awareness of and fear, you may not feel like singing. But when we feel like God’s presence, to use the arts to paint a vivid reminder that worshipping the least is when we need to worship the most. It is God is in control. We want them to inspire the church to then we see most clearly: God is still on the throne. greater awe of God.




THE SINGLE GREATEST WORSHIP SERVICE IN MY LIFE Dr. Tom Lawson Dr. Tom Lawson is a professor of New Testament, Old Testament and Worship at OCC. For more than 25 years, I’ve posed this question to college students taking my course in Christian worship: “What is the single greatest worship experience of your life?” Since it’s a general course, broadly required for their degrees, the students who attend aren’t just those training to lead worship. They vary greatly in age, nationality and background. I first asked that question to a class in the late 1980s. Rich Mullins’ hit, “Our God Is an Awesome God,” had just been released, and Hillsong Music didn’t even exist. Much has changed since then, and yet, strikingly, over the years, students’ answers have remained remarkably the same. Students almost never mention the particular musicians who were on stage at the time. (Sorry about that, if you’re on a praise team.) In fact, in many of their stories, there were no musicians up front at all. And, preachers, don’t think we come off any better. Students also rarely even talk about the sermon—much less mention who happened to be speaking. And not a single student in all these years has ever waxed on about dazzling technology or the creative use of lighting or smoke machines. Of course, I’m not suggesting that the music, sermon or technology play no role in worship. They just rarely, if ever, are what moves worship from good to great.

The Worship Setting

The most varied aspect of my students’ stories, in fact, is the worship setting. You just can’t predict what it will be. A few will mention worshipping with thousands at a major youth conference or national gathering. A large number talk about worship at a summer church camp. For others, the worship stories come from a short-term missions trip. Several will tell of impromptu worship with a few friends in a dorm room or while hiking in the mountains on a wilderness retreat. The worshipers in these experiences vary from thousands to hundreds to dozens to a handful to just an extended time of private worship, and the locations include well-equipped auditoriums, modest church camp chapels and third-world gatherings in rural areas without electricity. There simply is no one right setting for powerful, life-changing worship.



There simply is no one right setting for powerful, life-changing worship. The Worship Circumstance

Another similarity among students’ experiences is that nearly all of them defy reproduction. Whatever factors uniquely opened people up to the Spirit’s work in that particular worship experience cannot be dissected, packaged and programmed to occur on demand—no matter how hard we try or how noble our intentions. Why? Because often, circumstances in the student’s life leading up to their worship experience are fundamental. A young man relates how his parents were going through a bitter divorce. A woman talks about facing a personal health crisis. One older student weighs the risks for his family as he decides to leave a career and train for missions work overseas. A young husband shares that he and his wife had learned that their long-anticipated pregnancy had ended. In other words, genuinely great worship experiences are often rooted in very personal and individual matters. The single greatest worship experience of one student’s life might not be as meaningful for those directly around them. That’s not to discount the importance of the body of believers; the community in which we worship is woven into our worship itself. Even so, those moments of worship so profound that we recall them years later are, even in the midst of other believers, intensely and almost mystically personal. Every semester as students share their experiences, it becomes clear that great personal worship is often born of great personal pain. In story after story, one of the trademarks of truly great worship is tears. As much as we may enjoy singing about joyful dancing on spiritual mountaintops, life-changing worship more often comes in the valley of darkest shadows. It’s as though our sorrow and suffering somehow pull our hearts wide open to receive “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” 1 1

2 Corinthians 1:3

The Worship Presence

Nearly everyone tasked by God to lead his people in worship have had the experience of things going wrong in a worship service—out-of-tune musicians, crashing PowerPoint, screeching feedback over the sound system—only to have someone say afterward what an incredibly moving worship experience it was. In subtle ways and obvious, God reminds us that we do not control the Spirit. Rather, simply, “the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2

This link between suffering and great worship may be what Scripture means when it describes the ever-present God being very present in a time of trouble. How can God who is always present become very present? There are times when our general day-to-day desire for God becomes an urgent and desperate need for him. In those times, we need him more than we need the sun to come up in the morning. We need him more than we need our next breath. And it’s often, then, in the midst of tears and desperation, that we experience God in worship in ways that The Worship Altar change the rest of our lives. A final observation made from listening to hundreds of worship All this serves as a powerful reminder that worship is not a stories over the years: As King David understood, great worship manmade event. While it’s good to strive for excellence and is always measured by great personal cost.3 The decision to move to focus on important details like practicing music and tuning your family to Joplin and go to Bible college, or to leave the safety instruments, worship remains very much a God-thing. Those of of your own culture for another land, is us up front may never know who in bound up in worship that is as costly as it is the congregation is experiencing lifelife-changing. changing worship, who is experiencing That’s why a service at church camp or more “ordinary” worship, and who a CIY conference or a hymn sung around is just standing there making noise the hospital bed of a dying parent might be It is God—alone— or pretending to be interested in the remembered years later—because that was message. who is the audience the time in worship when you laid your life before whom on the altar of sacrifice and said, in effect, The Worship Audience our worship is “Here, Father. This is no longer mine. It’s It is God—alone—who is the yours, and I leave it in your hands.” performed. audience before whom our worship is In those costly, often painful moments, performed. And it is God—alone— you experience a depth of worship so who knows when worship is in Spirit intense and powerful that it’s etched into and Truth. This doesn’t mean there’s not your soul, making grooves through which value in training for worship leadership, the living water of the Spirit will flow for years to come. And, but that our education, preparation and programming are simply even years later, if some teacher says, “Tell me about the single a framework in which worship may occur. We should strive to greatest worship experience of your life,” you’ll recount how God provide through our music and message opportunities for the interrupted your service and brought you to worship. people of God to encounter God. At Ozark, we encourage students—those involved with music, Scripture reading, public prayer, the message, or the technology we use to enhance the service—to strive for excellence in all they do. But, in the end, worship leaders only lay a framework in which worship might occur. And people’s remarks—whether positive or not—on the quality of our music or the creativity of our sermons are not reliable indicators of genuine worship.

2 3

1 Chronicles 16:9 2 Samuel 24:24



HAPPY THANKSGIVING! A look at how gratitude helps

PSYCHOLOGICAL Gratitude is related to age.

For every ten years, gratitude increases by 5%! LIFESPAN


Overall positive emotions can increase lifespan by

Grateful people on average give


20% MORE



Happy people earn approximately

Most grateful countries: S. Africa, UAE, Philippines & India Least grateful countries: Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic & UK


HEALTH BENEFITS 10% Fewer Stress-Related Illnesses

12% Lower Blood Pressure 20% MORE LIKELY TO GET “A” GRADES


INSPIRE 8CompiledTO by Robert Emmons and the John Templeton Foundation.





MURMUR Kenny Boles

The workers at the copper mines near Philoteria were singing the old “Somebody done somebody wrong” song. They had worked for ten months without pay and they were tired of this! They were worth their wages! And well, they just weren’t going to take it anymore! So Hermogenes, the foreman, wrote to his boss, Theodorus the Architect, with the bad news: the work gang was murmuring and threatening to quit. The Greek word for “murmur” was gonguzo (gong GOOZ oh). It meant to grumble and complain, especially when people felt that they had a legal claim that was being ignored. The word basically says, “Hey! I deserve better than this!” The letter to Theodorus was written in 240 B.C., about the same time the Hebrew Old Testament was first being translated into Greek. It is striking that when the translators came to the story of the Israelites in the wilderness, they chose gonguzo to describe what was happening in Exod 16:1-8. The freed slaves “murmured” about the lack of food; they “murmured” against their leaders; and they “murmured” against God. They thought they had a legal claim and God was somehow failing them. They deserved better than this!

A similar pattern can be traced in John 6. The crowd “murmurs” about what Jesus says (v. 41), he addresses their continual grumbling (v. 43, 61), and finally they leave him (v. 66). It appears that murmuring/grumbling is a significant first step in parting company with God. The New Testament teaches us as Christians to “do all things without murmuring and complaining” (Phil 2:14). If we can avoid such behavior, we will stand out as God’s children— distinctly different from the depraved world. (And don’t tell anyone, but this warning against grumbling has been chosen on purpose for this issue of The Ambassador, which deals with contemporary worship!) We seem to have come to a time in our country where we feel justified in our grumbling. Has the internet encouraged this? Has our sense of entitlement promoted it? Has everyone been appointed as critic-in-chief ? Whatever the reason, let’s be careful. Let’s remember how Jude 16 describes ungodly sinners: “These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.”

Kenny Boles taught Greek and New Testament at OCC for more than 40 years.





Amy Storms

Worship ministers have the high call— and the high privilege—of leading God’s people in magnifying him. Each week, worship leaders around the world offer their churches a chance to respond to who God is and what he has done. They take people of different backgrounds and ages and ethnicities—different experiences and personalities and stories—and bring them all together at the same place: the throne of God. And that’s not all. Worship leaders also balance a call to excellence with a call to humility. They must lead on stage but also “disappear” from it at the same time. They must prepare well, but never perform. Worship leaders must give God their very best, but know that only God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”1 Worship leading is no small task. But it’s a crucial one. And it’s a task that Ozark graduate Susanne Walden carries out each week at Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, California. Since 1999, Susanne’s husband, Shawn, has served as Shepherd’s evangelism pastor, and in 2013, Susanne joined the church staff, too, as director of worship and productions. The Waldens’ three adult children, Taeler, Katelyn and Caleb, all grew up in Shepherd Church.



1Ephesians 3:20

Mall Evangelism

But Susanne grew up far from Southern California, in Iowa. As a teenager shopping one Saturday at a mall, Susanne first encountered another Ozark grad: Dudley Rutherford. Dudley asked permission to share the gospel with Susanne and her sister, and the girls agreed. The next morning, Susanne attended church.

From there, with Dudley’s continued support and example, Susanne went on to attend Ozark in the late 1980s. As a student, Susanne sang in Impact Brass & Singers, and met and married Shawn. After graduation, the Waldens ministered in Iowa before moving to Los Angeles… where they again crossed paths with Dudley Rutherford, now Shepherd’s lead pastor. Currently, Shepherd Church is home to 10,000 people, and each week, Susanne oversees and schedules the band, worship leaders, praise team, gospel choir and all the elements of weekend services.

Missions-minded Worship

“When I heard the gospel,” says Susanne, “I knew it was truth. I knew I wanted Jesus in my life, and I made the decision immediately.” Susanne stepped forward during the altar call and was baptized that very day.

Susanne also produces Shepherd’s annual Easter show, The Passion Play, a dramatic stage and musical production depicting the life, death and resurrection of Christ. For 25 years, The Passion Play has reached thousands of residents in the Los Angeles area. Even more, over the years, donations at this and other Shepherd productions have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to missions—to build wells in Africa, to battle sex slavery and help those caught in the sex industry, and to support many missionaries around the world. “It is truly one of the greatest moments of each year as we give to support worldwide missions,” says Susanne. “I love that Shepherd is so missions-minded.”

Transformational Worship

Of course, worship isn’t just for Sundays or stages or shows, and worship must not stay within the confines of the church building. Worship transforms. Susanne has witnessed firsthand how worship can change hearts and minds. “I’ve been incredibly blessed to see God move,” she says. “I’ve watched him transform lives—from those who don’t know him at all and those who are caught in sin, into people who are now experiencing victorious living. I didn’t know how much this would impact and change me personally, but it has been transformative for my own walk with Christ.”

Multiethnic Worship

Worship is for everyone—that is, all people are called to worship. At Shepherd, Susanne has been “blessed to be challenged and allowed to build an incredibly diverse worship team—both ethnically and generationally.” The effect of building such a team? The city’s mayor has called Shepherd Church “the most racially diverse church in Los Angeles.” And more importantly, “God has done something only he could do,” Susanne says. “Shepherd Church truly looks like heaven. It was very hard in the beginning to be so intentional, but now, when you look around the church, you don’t see one nationality. You see all nationalities. You don’t see one age group. You see all age groups. It’s a beautiful picture!” Susanne’s passion for multiethnic worship echoes the apostle Paul’s heart: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 2 Susanne explains, “Our platforms should look like we truly are reaching all people. No age, no ethnicity, no style is our focus.— 21 Corinthians 9:22 3Ephesians 3:20-21

All ages, all ethnicities, all styles are the focus and are represented. This is my prayer for the church: ‘Lord, use me to reach all men and women, and not just those that look like me or act like me. May I never seek to honor men but to love all and reach all.’”

The Next Generation

This year, the Waldens’ son, Caleb, is a sophomore preaching major at OCC. “We are thrilled that our son is now studying under men and women of such great character,” Susanne says. “The power of studying the Bible for four years cannot be overstated. The time I spent watching and being mentored by godly men and women was formative to my character and absolutely life-changing. I was also very influenced by the dedication to godly living and passion for the Bible from the professors at Ozark. Though their names change somewhat over the years, the principles remain the same.” Ministers have the high call—and the high privilege—of leading people to the throne of God. From Dudley Rutherford sharing the gospel in a shopping mall, to Susanne leading 10,000 people in worship each week, to 19-year-old Caleb learning to preach in the very classrooms where both his parents trained for ministry, Susanne says simply, “I love seeing what only God can do through the power he has placed within each of us. To God be the glory!” “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”3















We’re pleased to announce that this December, Ozark Christian College will present It’s a Wonderful Life: The Musical on our chapel stage. We’ll partner with Joplin’s Stained Glass Theatre and College Heights Christian Church to bring this beloved Christmas story to life. We hope you’ll join us on campus for this special show, December 1-4!

In the same way, Highest Praise has been a longtime summer staple among students and churches alike. Thanks to this music ministry to teenagers, hundreds of high schoolers have forged lasting friendships as they carried the gospel across the country. Many of those students have gone on to attend OCC and serve in ministry today.


For over 30 years, the Living Christmas Tree has been a tremendous musical ambassador for the college, allowing students to use their creative gifts for God’s glory and welcoming our community to campus. For many in the Four State Area, the Living Christmas Tree has become a family tradition, and thousands have heard the good news of Jesus in our chapel each December. But “change is the law of life,” as President Kennedy once said, “and those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future.” Given the Tree’s aging frame, a smaller college choir and the changing times, it was decided last spring to officially retire the Living Christmas Tree. We’re so grateful for all those over the years—directors, choirs, actors, musicians, technicians—who have presented the message of Christ to so many with such excellence. As one ministry closes, however, another begins. Ozark will still present a musical Christmas production each December— we simply won’t feature the 30-foot-tall tree on our stage.


CAMPUS NEWS Two Exciting Changes in OCC Worship Arts



The ministry and impact of Highest Praise cannot be overstated. But as music and performance styles change, and as the cost of touring continues to rise, Highest Praise must adapt, as well. This June, our Worship Arts Department will relaunch Highest Praise as “Creative Arts Academy”—a weeklong, oncampus program for high schoolers interested in the creative arts. Choosing from four different tracks, students can study vocal and instrumental music, photography, videography, graphic design, stage design and lighting, writing, dance, theater and more. The week will also include guest speakers, field trips, evening worship and a Friday evening program to conclude. Creative Arts Academy will be held June 11-16, and auditions open in January. We’re excited about these new programs and the ministry opportunities they’ll provide as we continue to serve as ambassadors, carrying the unchanging message of Christ.

2016-2017 Frontline

Frontline is an auditioned team of OCC students that travels throughout the country, leading worship at churches, youth events and conferences. Under the direction of Isaac Schade, Frontline travels two weekends each month during the school year and eight weeks during the summer. For more information or to schedule Frontline at your church or event, visit



CAMPUS NEWS Thank You for Giving!

Over the summer, two large air conditioning units in the Seth Wilson Library—a 15-ton unit and a 7.5-ton unit that was 21 years old—went out. The entire west side of the library—upstairs and down—was affected. That area houses our Audio-Visual Department (with cameras, projectors and other equipment that must be kept cool), as well as several faculty and staff offices, the Learning Center, the Preaching Lab, and, of course, classrooms. We needed $56,000 for new units and repairs. We spread the word, and you answered! To date, we have received $86,806 toward the project, with the extra gifts going toward necessary repairs that arose on the air conditioning units in our Multi-purpose Building. We’re overwhelmed with gratitude for your generous help and partnership. Thank you!

Students Travel to Southland Christian Church

OCC Employee Service Awards

Each fall, Ozark takes times to appreciate our employees for their years of service. This year, President Matt Proctor honored Matt Dickey, Meridith Lynn, Karen Thompson, Skip Walker, Robert Witte and Lisa Witte (5 years); Sharon Engelbrecht, Judy Greer, John Hunter, Shawn Lindsay and Willie Wammack (10 years); Gerald Griffin, Monte Shoemake and Jerry Stansberry (15 years); Dru Ashwell, Paula Giltner, Ty McCarty and Matt Proctor (20 years); Donna Richardson (25 years); Dr. Mark Scott (30 years); and Bob Heath (40 years). We’re thankful for men and women who live out our aim, “…not to be served, but to serve.”

In September, Executive Vice President Damien Spikereit led students to Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, for the Orientation to Biblical Justice seminar. Students spent time with Ozark alum Jon Weece and other members of Southland’s outreach team. They learned about the church’s many programs to serve the marginalized in Lexington and around the world. The seminar is part of Ozark’s Biblical Justice degree.

New Online Enrollment Director Named

Christian Shultz was recently hired to serve as OCC’s Director of Online Enrollment Services. Christian previously worked in marketing and sales. His wife, Sammi, serves as associate children’s minister at Carterville Christian Church. The Shultzes both graduated from OCC.

2016-2017 Visiting Intercultural Professors

Josh and Denise Beck are serving as this year’s Visiting Intercultural Professors. Josh, Denise and their four children Rylie, Carson, Dylann and Hagen, are longtime residents of the Joplin area. Josh served as a firefighter for the city of Joplin before moving to Africa in 2010. The Becks’ team operates a small leadership and Bible institute in South Sudan. They also oversee a mobile dental clinic, a weekly children’s program, outreach to refugee camps, and media and audio Bible distribution. At OCC, Josh teaches Christian Life, and Denise teaches Women in Intercultural Life. TO INFORM



75 Years – Remembering Those Who Led Us

Men’s Soccer (Head Coach Kevin Greer and Assistant Coach Andy Storms)

Women’s Volleyball (Coach Breann Stephens and Assistant Coach Rickie Seaton)

As OCC prepares to celebrate her 75th birthday in 2017, we must remember the sacrifices our founders made. Men like Academic Dean Seth Wilson gave much to start this school. When Ozark began in 1942, Seth’s annual salary was officially $1,200, but the school paid him nothing for several years. “No teachers were being paid,” he would later remember. “Only the necessary expenses were paid. A few churches helped support us, but not very many.” For income, Seth preached on weekends. Sometimes a church would pay him with a few live chickens, but the Wilsons didn’t mind. To feed their growing family (the Wilsons eventually had ten kids!), they raised goats and chickens and kept a large garden. Mrs. Wilson washed the cotton sacks which held the goat feed to make dresses for their little girls. The college property included an old house, but before moving in, Seth himself had to sand and refinish the floors, paper the walls, paint the woodwork and roof the house. Meanwhile at the college, in addition to his duties as professor and academic dean, Seth Wilson was also—at varying times—librarian, typesetter, custodian, bookstore manager, mechanic, choir director and magazine editor. Seth Wilson could easily have left the young, struggling college. He turned down the senior minister position at a well-established church in Pennsylvania—a less difficult ministry with greater financial security. Why did leaders like Seth stay and make such sacrifices? Because they never forgot why they were doing it: the harvest was plentiful and the workers were few. Their hearts burned with a passion to send men and women into a lost world with the good news of Jesus—a passion that remains at OCC today.

Cross Country (Coach Jeremy Butler)

Position Established for Campus Retention

Andy Storms was recently named OCC’s Director of Student Success. In this new role, Andy seeks to improve campus retention by helping students who are at-risk for not completing or returning. Andy provides pastoral care and works across departments to facilitate a course of action to help the student achieve greater success. Additionally, Cassandra Lowe was hired to fill Andy’s previous role as Director of the Mabee Student Center. A 2014 OCC grad, Cassandra also serves alongside her husband, Philip, who is the lead pastor at Cornerstone Church in Joplin.



HEARD IN CHAPEL Our college family continues to be challenged by outstanding messages in Chapel each Tuesday. Watch the messages at or on Ozark’s YouTube channel. Here’s a taste of what we’ve heard recently.

There is power in a common person doing common things in sacrificial ways.

- Mike Schrage, 08.30.16

A GREAT Year: Obey the Great Commission |

No matter your location…or your occupation…‘love God and love neighbor’ is your vocation.

- Dr. Teresa Welch, 09.06.16

A GREAT Year: Practice the Great Commandment |

God is greater than the culture we live in, and he is able to use you to transform our culture.

- Peter Buckland, 09.20.16

Messy Grace: Church and Family |





700 junior high students joined us on campus in September for GETAWAY with Pepperdine University’s Jeff Walling. Exploring the theme Unlocked, each student received a lock, reminding them that only Christ can unlock the potential in their lives.



MEET YOUR OCC FAMILY Getting to know the people of Ozark Christian College When he’s not on campus, Bob is at home with his family. He loves to play basketball and board games with his wife, Michele, and their three children, Justin, Brandon and Makayla.

For the past 14 years, Bob has served in the toddler ministry at College Heights Christian Church in Joplin.

“I learned about ministry and following Jesus from my professors,” a recent grad wrote of his time at Ozark, “but I also learned as much from working with guys like Bob West in the Physical Plant Department. I saw them always working hard, never complaining, loving their job, the Lord, their wives. It was an honor and a privilege to work with them.”

BOB WEST: WITH THE STRENGTH GOD PROVIDES “If anyone serves,” wrote the apostle Peter, “they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). At OCC, perhaps no one exemplifies such God-honoring service more than Bob West. Bob first came to Ozark as a student in 1990. In 2002, he returned to work as a custodian in the college’s Physical Plant Department. Bob credits his parents for his commitment to service. “At an early age,” he says of his upbringing in Hutchinson, Kansas, “my parents instilled in me a love for God, a strong work ethic and a servant heart.” For years, Ozark has reaped the benefits of those traits in Bob. Around campus, Bob isn’t just appreciated for his hard work on the custodial team. Students and staff alike also admire his kindness, sincerity and humility. “What I like about my job is getting to know the students,” Bob says—which is no surprise, because even as he cleans around campus, Bob takes the time to talk with students and learn their stories. Later, he remembers them in prayer. Day after day, in his actions and in his words, Bob West faithfully serves “with the strength God provides, so that in all things, God may be praised.” 19



NOVEMBER 17-20: International Conference on Missions Join us in Lexington, Kentucky, for the International Conference on Missions. Under the direction of 2016 conference president and OCC alum Mike Schrage, this year’s theme, “MOBILIZE: Disciples Making Disciples,” recalls Christ’s commission to “go and tell.” Visit your OCC family at Booth 1222, and join us for two evening receptions.

President’s Reception Thursday, November 17 8:30-10:00 p.m. Bluegrass Ballroom 2 Convention Center

OCC Alumni & Friends Reception Friday, November 18 8:30-10:30 p.m. Regency Ballrooms 2 & 3 Hyatt Regency

FEBRUARY 6-8: International Focus Week OCC is excited to welcome Greg Pruett and Christi Phillips as guest speakers at this year’s International Focus Week. The week’s main sessions will focus on Bible translation. Pruett and Phillips both serve with Pioneer Bible Translators.

FEBRUARY 20-22: Preaching-Teaching Convention Make plans now to attend the 2017 Preaching-Teaching Convention, “A Jesus People,” featuring main speakers Kyle Idleman, Jayson French, Roger Storms, Gene Appel, Kevin Holland, Patrick Garcia and Jon Weece. The week also includes Ozark’s 75th anniversary celebration at the President’s Banquet, class reunions, children’s sessions, a Wednesday evening teen session and more.



APRIL 7-8: Women’s Conference Ladies, mark your calendars for our spring Women’s Conference, with speakers Dr. Teresa Welch and Amy Storms. Together, we’ll look through the book of John at people who encountered Jesus and were changed. You won’t want to miss this chance to be encouraged and equipped!


APRIL 21-22: Deeper Life Take your high school students deeper this spring, at OCC’s Deeper Life conference. The weekend offers students and youth leaders alike a chance to go deeper in the Word, deeper in prayer and deeper in relationship with the God who loves them.

JUNE-JULY 2017: Summer Sports Camps Each summer, OCC hosts sports camps for kids ages 5th-12th grade. Volleyball and basketball camps are led by Athletic Director Chris Lahm and members of past and present Ambassador sports teams. Space for camps is limited, so register early.


APRIL 21-22: Preaching Festival Attention, high school seniors! If you’re interested in preaching, don’t miss our annual Preaching Festival, held during the Deeper Life conference at OCC. Submit your application and testimony to OCC’s preaching department by April 7. If selected, you’ll present a sermon to a panel of judges on Friday, April 21. Each year, the Preaching Festival awards $20,000 in scholarships to Ozark.

JUNE-JULY 2017: Camp Teams OCC camp teams travel throughout the U.S. to minister to campers and acquaint them with the mission of Ozark. The deadline to request a camp team for your week of camp is February 1, 2017. At that time, we will plan camp intineraries and contact you by March 1.

Junior High Girls Grades 6-8: June 11-14 ($165) Junior High Boys Grades 6-8: June 18-21 ($165)

JUNE 5-8/12-15: Branson Conferences Adults 55+, save the date for our Branson Conferences! We’re excited to learn from main speaker Dr. Chris DeWelt.

High School Boys Grades 9-12: June 25-29 ($195)

Boys and Girls Day Camp Grades 3-5: July 5-7 ($50)

VOLLEYBALL Junior High Girls 1 Grades 6-8: June 21-23 ($50) Junior High Girls 2 Grades 6-8: July 5-7 ($50)

Junior High Girls 3 Grades 6-8: July 10-12 ($50)



HERE’S AN IDEA Practical tips for your life and ministry


In today’s digital age, there are countless resources at your disposal to equip you in worship ministry—and you could spend countless hours sifting through them all. May I save you the trouble? Here’s a list of the resources I found most beneficial in my years in a local church creative arts ministry.

1. Planning Center

2. ProPresenter

Web-based, one-stop shopping for worship service planning, and unequivocally the single best resource for worship ministry. Planning Center saves you hours each week in planning, scheduling, sharing song files and more. There is a charge, but it’s worth every penny you’ll pay.

The #1 choice for lyric and media presentation software. The levels of integration on ProPresenter are astounding—downloadable lyrics from CCLI, video and DVD playback and even step-by-step tutorial videos to help you learn it all.


Isaac Schade serves as OCC’s Frontline director, chapel minister and professor of worship arts.


Bonus! 3. SundayMag

4. Multitracks

A free, online magazine with helpful articles on worship and creative arts ministry. Along with SundayMag are,, and, where churches post videos of worship services, stage designs and sermon series.

Specifically for the musical aspect of worship, to “resource worship leaders on the concept of running loops, clicks, and multi-tracks in live worship.” Multitracks partners with music labels and churches to provide the actual master tracks for songs.



Check out individual websites of churches and worship bands, too, to find resources for their original songs. Many sites provide chord charts, stories behind songs, tutorials for playing the different instrumental parts, and sometimes even backing tracks.

I’d love to connect with you and help equip you even more! Feel free to contact me at or 417.626.1234 ext. 2404.

Visit campus this semester! Every high school junior, senior and transfer student who takes a Tuesday Tour will receive a $500 OCC scholarship.

Reserve your place today!

YOUR PARTNERSHIP Helpful tools for Christian stewardship

THREE SCORE AND TEN, PLUS .5? READ ON... David Duncan If you’re at least 70.5 years old and have a traditional Individual David Duncan serves as OCC’s Retirement Account (IRA), then Planned Giving Specialist. you probably know about the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules. Once you turn 70.5, you’re required to take a specific minimum amount from your IRA each calendar year. Whether or not you need or want the money doesn’t matter. Why the RMD? Because the income you are required to receive is taxable to you! Now, if you really don’t need the money, but must receive it and pay taxes on it…what can you do? Are there any alternatives? Here are two options to consider: First, if you itemize your tax deductions, then you could give the RMD amount you receive to a qualified 501(c)3 charity. The subsequent charitable tax deduction may offset the income,* and you’ll realize no net increase of income taxes. Second, you could have your RMD sent directly to Ozark (or another ministry) via the IRA Charitable Rollover. With the rollover, you won’t have to claim the RMD amount as income for tax purposes. Either way, you avoid the tax on income you don’t need, and you’re helping one or more of your favorite ministries! One last thing: if you haven’t yet taken your RMD for 2016, time is running short to use the IRA Charitable Rollover. Let me know if I can help. Feel free to contact me at or 417.437.4774. To learn more about the IRA Charitable Rollover, go to *Cash gifts are deductible up to 50% of adjusted gross income. Tribute Gift Form In Loving Memory Of…


In Honor Of… Name

Given By:

Enclosed is my gift of:

Name Address City/State/Zip

Please send acknowledgment to: Name Address City/State/Zip Use separate paper for additional names.




Memorial Gifts:

James Barnett John Boatman Russel & Mary Crisler Paul Enabnit, Sr. Dennis D. Glasgow Willis Harrison Judy Lanham Richard Lankford Peggy G. Loving Barbara Lucietta Connie Mieir Amy Lanette Mintz Nancy Ellen Puckett Gary Reed George Roane Bryan & Amber Rowoth Burl & Bernita Shoemake Opal Shrum Wayne Smith Elaine Wakeman Ray Wheeler Charles & Dorothy Wittenborn

Honor Gifts:

Herbert Casteel Bud Clapp Larry & Gloria Conaway Scott & Julie Ferguson Wilbur Fields Ty & Rene’ McCarty Sergio Rizo T. Meredith Williams

E. Carol Courbot Mrs. Gail Boatman Mary Lou Harden M/M Kenneth Lake Dr. Patrick H. Johnson M/M Michael D. Lee Mr. David Mark Lanham M/M Paul T. Butler Dr. Patrick H. Johnson M/M Gail Miller Mr. William H. Mieir, Sr. M/M Merle E. Mintz M/M Dallas W. Puckett M/M Larry Catron M/M Francis Copeland M/M Don Dean Marilyn Harper The Janice Hicks family Mrs. Evelyn Horn Mrs. Patty Roane Mrs. Kathleen Seward M/M Paul A. Rowoth M/M Douglas Miller C. Theresa Nobles M/M Larry Catron M/M Daniel L. Stassin M/M Raymond Anderson College Heights CC (Joplin, MO) M/M John T. Graf Mrs. Coralynn Nelson M/M Daniel R. Harlow M/M Timothy L. Harlow M/M Jay Taylor M/M Roy S. Wheeler M/M David Wittenborn

M/M Jordan B. Casteel M/M William G. Lange Verla Lea Brown Central CC (Claremore, OK) M/M Kenneth L. Conaway Glory J. DeGroat M/M Grady N. Lowrey M/M Clark A. Waggoner, Sr. M/M Al Riddle M/M William G. Lange Dr. & Mrs. Garland Bare Mr. Matthew Oswald M/M Larry D. Monroe



If you’re one of several alumni who didn’t quite complete your degree on campus…here’s your chance to cross the finish line! OCC’s Online Learning program offers the quality, biblical education and ministry training you expect from Ozark, anywhere around the world. Take a few classes or earn a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies while continuing to serve in your current job, ministry or home. Find out more at

CLASS REUNIONS Join us Tuesday, February 21, 2017, for this year’s class reunions, hosted by the OCC Alumni Association. Come catch up with your classmates!

1957 - 60 years 1967 - 50 years 1977 - 40 years 1987 - 30 years 1992 - 25 years 1997 - 20 years 2007 - 10 years

A BANQUET AND A BIRTHDAY! Mark your calendars for a very special 2017 President’s Banquet as we celebrate Ozark’s 75th anniversary! On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, we’ll share a birthday meal, honor outstanding alumni, get an update on our Kingdom Footprints campaign, and hear from President Matt Proctor. Don’t miss this meaningful evening together!

Alumni Phonathon

Thank you for your generous gifts during the Alumni Phonathon! You committed $24,330 to the endowed scholarship fund, one of the projects in our Kingdom Footprints campaign.



ALUMNI NEWS: CONGRATULATIONS Eric (attended) and Liz Strube (05) Beck on the arrival of Caleb Justice on August 17 in South Korea, where they serve as English teachers and work with a Korean church. Sean (attended) and Dawn Ward (08) Bitzer on the arrival of Luke Patrick on July 2 in Monmouth, OR, where they serve with the Monmouth CC. Jon-Michael (13) and Rachel Heath (12/former staff ) Bontrager on the arrival of Lewis Jones on June 6 in Joplin. Jon-Michael is the worship minister with Carterville CC. Jacob (05) and Annette Berry (04) Breedlove on the birth of Timothy Douglas on July 25 in Medora, IN, where they serve with the Medora CC. Anthony and Amanda Hawks (08) Brown on the arrival of Ethan Dawson on June 9 in Abilene, KS.

Andy (01) and Alyssa Harland on the arrival of Joshua Andrew on August 14 in Perry, IA. Logan and Abigail Moyers (attended) Harris on the birth of Stetson Lee on September 6 in Joplin. David (07) and Amanda Hayward on the arrival of Paxton Lee on August 23 in Mustang, OK. Blake and Chrissy Lahm (11) Hehemann on the birth of Owen Daniel on June 15 in Omaha, NE. Derek (08) and Grace Hammeke on the birth of Cohen Frank on September 20 in Joplin. Derek (08) and Cassie Lahm on the birth of Paige Jacqueline on August 17 in Oakland, NE, where Derek serves as principal and teacher with the Lyons-Decatur schools.

Scott (97) and Kim Kirby (attended) Bryant on the birth of their twelfth child, Levi Courage, who arrived on September 24 in Springfield, OR.

Sam (14) and Carlea Richert (15) Landis on the arrival of Rowyn Faye on June 16 in Logan, IN, where Sam serves as the student minister with the Logan C of C.

Chris (02) and Jacque White (attended) Burke on the adoption of Ethan Alexander (3) and Alexia Joy (1) on June 1. The Burkes live in Waddell, AZ.

Tyler (10) and Abigail Curran (11) Lane on the birth of Miles Wilhite on August 11 in Tracy, CA, where Tyler serves as student minister with the Journey CC.

Steve (07) and Ashley Nilges (attended) Capps on the birth of Eliza Jane on June 3 in Clarksville, IN. Steve serves with Team Expansion in Louisville, KY.

Mark (05) and Erica McCoy on the birth of Jesse Andrew on August 25 in Marion, IA, where Mark serves as discipleship pastor at Antioch C of C.

Kyle (05) and Kim Fish (07) Duncan on the birth of Ivy Rose on June 29 in Wichita, KS, where Kyle serves as equipping pastor with West Side CC.

Brian (attended) and Amanda Mehrens on the birth of Linus Alexander on June 4 in Joplin, where Brian works at Missouri Southern State University.

Ben (09) and Katelyn Brown (attended) Ford on the birth of Ryker John on July 10 in Wichita, KS.

Darren (08) and Whitney (current staff ) Morgan on the arrival of Amelia Marie on May 10 in Joplin.

Adam and Kristy Peebles (09) Griffith on the birth of Avery Benjamin on June 26 in Thailand, where they serve with New Missions Systems, Intl.



Jeff (02) and Devin Howard (02) Mulpas on the arrival of Emmalyn Grace on July 14. The Mulpas family serves with Alpha Christian Children’s Home in Perry, KS.

Jordan (10) and Lindsey Bone (10) Schultz on the birth of Levi Jackson on June 25 in Worden, IL, where Jordan serves as senior minister of the Worden CC.

J.D. (12) and Heather Gilbertson (11) Miller on the adoption of Casey (9) in January 2016 and Skye (10) in June 2015. J.D. serves as youth minister with First CC in Kimberling City, MO. Zach (13) and Rachel Crockett (15/former staff ) Pittman on the birth of Abel Allen on August 14 in Pevely, MO, where Zach serves as associate minister with the Hillsboro CC.

Jared (07) and Ivana Arruda (15) Lang on the arrival of Samuel Arruda on September 15 in Grinnell, IA.

Aaron and Melissa Jackson (09) Smith on the birth of Sawyer Jackson on August 29 in Joplin.

Wade (13) and Tiffany Draughan (12) Beeman on the birth of River on August 8 in Joplin.

Evan (current) and Anna Chandler (current/staff ) Hand on the birth of Eastton James on August 2 in Joplin.

Tim (10) and Jamie Gibson (09) Hayward on the birth of Nora Kay on August 25 in DeMotte, IN, where Tim serves as worship pastor with Grace Fellowship Church. Jason and Becky Budding (02) Tiede on the arrival of Harrison Jude on December 14, 2015, in Edmond, OK.

Cliff (01/former staff ) and Leslie Murphy on the birth of Charleston Reese on July 7 in Rogers, AR. Cliff works for the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Alberto and Melissa Scott (08) Pantoja on the birth of Mila Kay on July 6 in Honduras, where they reside. Nathan (09) and Hannah Perry on the birth of Cora Lorraine on June 28 in Rochester, MN. Brandon (12) and Julie Roth (11) Robinson on the arrival of Damien Enoch on July 7 in Joplin. Tyler and Nerlita Ragsdale (attended) Sargent on the birth of Ava Grace on September 2 in Joplin. Dave and Kristen Bell (11) Skiles on the birth of Ellie Margerite on August 17, 2015, in Pratt, KS. Cody (11) and Dianne Dohner (attended) Stinnett on the birth of Elsie Joy on August 25 in Ipava, IL. Cody serves as senior minister with the Vermont CC.

Jon (09) and Jenny Whorlow (09) Trupp on the birth of Norah Lynae on August 26 in Bennett, CO. Kyle (10) and Monica Welch on the birth of Jacob Tanner on September 22 in Valencia, CA. Kendall (15) and Elizabeth Cogdill (14) Wingert on the birth of Juniper Avery on August 22 in Denver, CO. Jordan (10) and Alexis Dollar (attended) Wood on the arrival of Edith Hadley on August 8 in Providence, RI. Jordan works at and attends Boston College. Aaron (10) and Amy Fox (attended) Worshek on the birth of Malia on December 7, 2015, in Pensacola, FL, where Aaron serves as family minister with Gulf Coast CC.


Please continue to lift up in prayer the families of the following alumni who have passed away in recent weeks: Teresa Osburn Brewer (88/former staff ) lost a courageous battle with cancer on June 18 in Joplin. David Crane (88) passed away in Joplin on July 9 following a short illness. Donita Steeves Houghton (attended) passed away on July 6 in Altoona, KS, following an illness.

Tyler Kenneth, born August 18 to Dale and Christy Wiyrick (attended) Nyhus.


Forrest and Jessica Finger (06) Stodghill on the birth of Gunnar Levi on September 12 in Joplin.

Andy Griffin (attended-M) passed away on May 10. Jerry Lane (attended-M) passed away in Corpus Christi, TX, on April 18. Following a long battle with cancer, Theresa Michael Moscrip (78) passed away in Avon, IN, on September 21.

Don Paden (64) passed away in Montpelier, OH, on July 3. Gary Reed (73/former staff ) passed away on July 10 following a sudden illness. Les Sturdy (attended-M) passed away in Bethany, OK, on August 2 following an illness. Gordon Van Zile (66/former faculty-M) passed away in Mannford, OK, on April 28. Following a long illness, Wanda Wartick, wife of Wallace Wartick (65/76/former faculty), passed away on August 16 in Grenola, KS.





Congratulations to Bob (50) and Cecil Scott as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 27.


Ralph Mehrens (65/75/former faculty) retired from paid ministry with Calvary CC in Bellevue, NE, on June 30. Ralph was also awarded a Distinguished Honorary NCC Alumni in Ministry Award from Nebraska Christian College on June 18. Ralph served as an NCC trustee for many years as well as minister of a supporting church. Paul Weymouth (67) reports that he has served in several positions on the staff of Parker Heights CC in Odessa, TX, since 1973.


Dan Stacy (80/former faculty) won the Republican nomination for Missouri State Representative on August 2 for the 31st District in Blue Springs, MO. Dan will run unopposed in the November election and join the Missouri House of Representatives in January 2017. Don Swingle (80) earned a Doctor of Religious Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary in July. He serves as senior minister with North Hills CC in Pittsburgh, PA. David Dahlstein (82) is serving as minister of the Grove C of C in Gambier, OH. Rob Brust (84/trustee) has closed a ministry with Northside CC in Broken Arrow, OK, to lead a church plant in the Fayetteville, AR, area.

Lanny (68) and Pat Cable (68) Maddux celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 2 in Lawrence, KS. Larry (69) and Gloria (attended) Conaway celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 20 in Claremore, OK. Best wishes to Bill (69) and Jodie Holly (attended) Gardner, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 11 in Oklahoma City, OK.


Chuck (71) and Janet DePauw (attended) Gorsch celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 18 in West Burlington, IA. Lynne Conklin Nettifee (71) married Craig Dresman on March 20 in Anaheim, CA. They are now making their home in Blaine, WA. After 49 years of full-time ministry, Rusty Westerfield (71) recently retired from his ministry in Bixby, OK, and he and his wife Suzanne Carter (attended) are living in Wichita, KS. Dennis Carman (73) is leading a Christian-based radio station in Owingsville, KY. Glenn (71) and Carolyn Nettifee (attended) Kirby are transitioning from full-time to part-time ministry with the West Valley CC in West Hills, CA. Following a three-month sabbatical, Glenn will continue as part-time care pastor, and Carolyn will serve part time in the children’s ministry area. After 30 years with the Rising Sun C of C in Des Moines, IA, Dave Bouchard (72) retired from full-time ministry on August 28. Jim (73/former staff ) and Charlea Higley (attended) Cormode celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Cummings, KS, on July 17. Jim ministers with the Cummings CC.

Jana Fowler Neiss (85) has been appointed dean of the College of Continuing Studies at Drury University in Springfield, MO. Tim Scott (87) recently earned a Master of Divinity from Liberty University. Tim ministers in Bettendorf, IA. Brian (89) and Julie Boatman (attended) Mavis are leading in Adopt Colorado Kids and America’s Kids Belong. Brian left a ministry with LifeBridge CC in Longmont, CO.


This fall, Tammy Crane Aggus (90) began working as an adjunct math instructor at the Webb City campus for Crowder College of Neosho, MO. Her husband, Spencer (attended), is a local realtor and is the president of the Ozark Gateway Association of Realtors for 2016. Joe LaRue (92) has been hired to serve as an assistant attorney general for the state of Arizona. He will work in the area of election law and campaign finance. After 17 years at their church plant, Impact Community Church in Elk Grove, CA, Barry (95) and Tammy Pitts (95) Smith are returning to church planting, developing a movement of Simple Churches utilizing an internet community at Mary Green (96/former staff ) is working with Scholastic Books in the Joplin area. Chris Strickland (98) is serving as outreach and connections minister at Tri-Lakes CC in Branson, MO, leaving a ministry in Washington, MO. His wife, Amber Thompson (98), is teaching fifth grade at Kirbyville Junior High. Brent (99) and Sarah Martin (98) Crosswhite are now living in Fort Bragg, SC, where he serves as a U.S. Army chaplain.





Meridith Lynn (13/former staff ) has accepted a position as administrative assistant to the vice presidents with Ozark Center in Joplin, leaving her job at OCC. Rob Petersen (03) is serving as youth minister with the Villa Heights CC in Joplin. Cody Christensen (04) earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies from Johnson University in May. Cody serves on the faculty of Boise Bible College in Boise, ID. Jason Beddall (05) has left an eightyear ministry with Madison Park CC in Quincy, IL, to launch Black Sheep Productions, a video production company that creates personal connections between people, products and services through the power of genuine story. David Stine (05) has joined the staff of International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES) as Director of Operations, leaving a ministry in Portales, NM. Addison Houser (06) has been hired to serve as director of the Neighborhood Life House in Joplin, a community outreach of College Heights CC. Craig Crynes (07) is the worship minister at Community CC in Tamarac, FL, leaving a ministry in Kentucky. Derek Hammeke (08) recently announced that his movie Finding Home is now available on Netflix. Doron Jones (07) recently completed a residency at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, AZ, and has joined the staff of Southeast CC in Louisville, KY, as Connections Pastor. Stephen Lawson (08) won the Goodwin Award with Theological Horizons. Writers from more than 40 universities were involved. 

Laurie Bates (08) graduated from Hope International University with an MBA in non-profit management this spring. For eight years she has been the assistant director for the children’s ministry at LifeBridge CC in Longmont, CO, and has recently accepted a job as the director of operations for Adopt Colorado Kids and America’s Kids Belong. Ryan Wiemelt (08) is leading Faith CC and Journey Church in Quincy, IL, in a merger to form Faith Journey Church. He had been serving with Faith CC as lead minister. Tyler Coquillard (09) and Ali Arant were married on August 7. They live in Brooklyn, NY, and Tyler works in church planting in New York City. Leaving a ministry in Fresno, CA, Lito Solorio (10) is serving as associate lead pastor with Countryside CC in Wichita, KS, as part of a transition plan which will lead to him becoming senior pastor in January 2017. Wes Hinkle (13) is serving as youth minister with the First CC in Unionville, MO, leaving a ministry in Illinois. Kolby Allen (13) left a ministry in Chicago to serve as student minister with the First CC in Council Bluffs, IA. Caleb Shoemake (13) and Jessie McCullum (attended) were married on June 12, and are making their home in Port Huron, MI. Zane Sutherlin (13) will be joining the children’s ministry team at Sunnybrook CC in Stillwater, OK, leaving a ministry in Joplin at Central City CC. Michael (14) and Ayla Sartoris (15) Thomas have joined the staff of Amor Ministries and are living in Tijuana, Mexico, helping to build homes in Mexico. Kyle Fox (14) and Faith French-Trauner (16) were married on May 15 and are living in Gresham, AR. Kendall Kirby (14) and Eli Short were married in Seneca, MO, on May 21. Grace Kimpel Cowen (15) is serving as youth pastor at Jefferson Young Nak Celebration Church in Los Angeles, CA.

Jon Derry (15) and Annie Stephens were married on October 1 in Louisville, KY. Keith Graves (15) is serving as youth minister with First CC in Herrin, IL. Sean Kelley (15) and Hannah Johnson (attended) were married in Joplin on October 8. Sean is youth minister with Seneca CC in Seneca, MO, and Hannah teaches in Carl Junction, MO. Brandon (15) and Heather Slifer (15) Marscheider are now living in Omaha, NE, where he is serving as campus pastor of the Fremont campus of StoneBridge CC. Ben Michaels (15) and Avery Holland (16) were married on June 3 in Louisville, KY. Lee Barr (16) and Sarah Kessler were married in Joplin on July 2. Seth Brown (16) and Alex Surina (16) were married on August 26, and he is serving as student arts pastor with Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, PA. Jordan Edmondson (16) and Noelle Wickenkamp (15) were married on May 13 in Webb City, MO. Ian Johnson (16) and Bethany Balu (16) were married in Fort Scott, KS, on August 20, and are serving with Community CC where Ian is the youth minister. Joy Loveall (16) and Matt Eden (current student) were married on May 28 in Joplin. Christian Lum (16) and Nick Cox were married on October 8 in Tipton, IN. Aubrie Martin (16) and Curtis Mitchell were married in Valley Falls, KS, on August 5. Justin O’Dell (16) is serving as youth pastor at Kentwood CC in Grand Rapids, MI. Ryan Miller (16) is serving as associate pastor of outreach and assimilation with Refuge CC, a church plant in Eudora, KS. Katie Morris (16) and Ryan Jon DeVillez were married on June 4 in Evansville, IN.




ATTENDED Rick and Melinda Bayless recently completed a ministry with Cookson Hills Christian Ministry, and he is working with Southeast CC in Louisville, KY, as a care ministry leader. Rebecca Bowland and Austin Turner (current student) were married on June 11 and are living in Charlotte, NC. Gordon Blankenship graduated in August 2016 from Lincoln Christian University with a Master of Leadership and is pursuing a ministry in Christian camping after completing a nine-year pastorate in Blandinsville, IL. Aaron Gossard and Jordan Chaffee (current student) were married in Oronogo, MO, on August 5.

Jeremiah Hunter was recently promoted to the position of assistant police chief in Columbia, MO. Loy Hurd shared that he has been involved in a truckstop ministry in the Tulsa area for the past 16 years. Zach Merrill and Jessie Wade were married on June 18 in Summers, AR. Aaron Miller and Caitlin Brown were married in Joplin on May 14. Pete Van and Marie Figearo were married in Valencia, CA, and he currently coaches football and track/field at Saugus High School. Kyle Wicklund and Katrina Morgan Westhoff were married on September 24 and are making their home in Carthage, MO.

Tony and Jackina Sublett (former faculty) Stark celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 16 at their home in Branson, MO.



Josh Beck (attended/current faculty) is serving as part-time small groups minister with College Heights CC in Joplin.


Chris Lahm (current faculty) was awarded the Nebraska Christian College Distinguished Award for the Marketplace during a ceremony on June 18 in Omaha.

BOOKS Call Me Teacher by Dr. Eleanor Daniel (former faculty-M)

Christian Standard August “Worship—Filling the Abyss” by Dr. Tim Harlow (83) September “Why I Quit Being a Pastor to Train Elephants” by Brian Mavis (89)

Faith, God’s Tool: A Chat with Grandpa about Genesis by Andy DeLashmit (attended)

October “Can I Be a Christian and a Patriot?” by Matt Proctor (93/ President)

Life on Mission @ Work by Tyler Edwards (07)

The Lookout

Soar: The Way of the Eagles by Joe Garman (66)

July 24 “More than You Can Handle” by Matt Wilmeth (07)

Vital Signs: Monitoring Your Spiritual Health by Harley Ihm (85) Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-on Guide to Lectio Divina by Jan Johnson (77) Jesus Speaks: Holding Fast in a World of Compromise co-authored by Dr. J.K. Jones (former faculty) The Neighboring Church co-authored by Brian Mavis (89) A Second Chance by Dana Larson Ray (attended) Submission: The Choice to Love, the Freedom to Live, the Power to Lead by Dow Tippett (93)



August 14 “Leaders & Followers Serving Together” by Dr. H. Lynn Gardner (61/former faculty) October 2 “Five Principles the Bible Teaches About Kindness” by Brian Jennings (98) October 30 “Resisting the Devil” by Dr. H. Lynn Gardner (61/former faculty) One Body Magazine “The Kingdom Life: The Decree for All Christians to Be His Witnesses” by Kevin Morrow (former faculty)



We love giving to Ozark! Here’s why: First, Ozark’s Bible classes are taught with integrity by professors who shared their lives with us. Over the years, we’ve learned how rare that combination really is in educational institutions. Second, Ozark’s local and international service opportunities showed us different ways that God could use us. Third, the Christ-centered relationships we built at OCC helped us integrate what we were learning into our lives and shape our futures.

Our heart for gospel-centered, missionmotivated discipleship today was birthed during our time at OCC. We don’t give to Ozark simply because of what we’ve received, but because of the mission OCC remains faithful to. It’s a joy for us to give to the mission of Christ through the mission of Ozark.


1111 N Main St Joplin, MO 64801

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ONE MORE THING A final thought from our assistant editor Amy Storms is a wife, mother, Strong Hall dorm mom, and Director of Marketing at OCC.


Thanksgiving is my favorite…and not just because of the carbs. Although—let’s be honest—the carbs are fantastic. Thanksgiving is my favorite…but definitely not because of the cooking. My family could tell horror stories of my Thanksgiving meal attempts, like the year my gravy turned into balls of dough, and the time my yeast rolls didn’t rise, and especially the time I bought the wrong kind of muffin mix—apple cinnamon instead of corn—for the corn casserole. Read that “Jiffy” box carefully! Thanksgiving is my favorite because, over the years, I’ve had a long battle with discontentment. Anxiety, insecurity, envy and ego and entitlement…all these and more kept me unhappy and ungrateful. Forty years, three counselors and a lot of hard work later, I still can’t say with the apostle Paul that I’ve learned contentment1 completely, but I’m at least a lot closer than before. Learning to say “thank you” has been the key. Thanksgiving and contentment go hand in hand. “Gratitude is at the very heart of contentment,” said author Lewis Smedes. “My sense of satisfaction in life springs from the feeling of gratitude. I have never met a truly thankful, appreciative person who was not happy. So close are gratitude and contentment that I would equate them.” 1Philippians 4:11-13 2Psalm 103:1-5

Thanksgiving makes all the difference. When my kids were younger, our family kept a gratitude journal near our dining room table. Occasionally during dinner, we’d open it to record a special memory or list the blessings of the day. One afternoon, I leafed through the journal’s pages and remembered again the poignancy of our kids’ baptisms, fun holidays together and other important moments in the life of our family. Then I turned to the most recent entry, and realized it was something I hadn’t seen before. My kids had added it themselves. In grade school penmanship, it read simply: February 25, 2009 Burritos. BURRITOS! To a thankful heart, burritos—even the cheap, microwaved burritos we’d had for lunch—are cause for celebration. To a grateful person who knows contentment doesn’t rely on circumstance, thanksgiving can happen when the gravy goes wrong and the yeast rolls don’t rise. “Forget not all his benefits,”2 David wrote. Or perhaps, in this case, “Forget not all his burritos.” Thanksgiving is my favorite, because thanksgiving changes everything.

Fall 2016 Ambassador Magazine  

The Ambassador is a quarterly magazine to inspire, inform and connect the Ozark Christian College family.

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