As we celebrate God’s provision in our new President, Dr. David A. Busic, we also wish to offer words in honor of former President, Dr. Ron Benefiel, and his wife Janet. When Dr. Benefiel announced his resignation this past April (effective June 20, 2011), our sense of loss and grief was real; and to be sure, their absence is still very prominent among our hallways and classrooms. At the same time, though, we do rejoice in the new ministry of Dr. Benefiel at Point Loma Nazarene University as Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry; and we are ever thankful for the healing hand of God that is evident in Janet’s life. Thanks be to God!
As he and Janet prepared to make the move back to Southern California, Dr. Benefiel shared, “Janet and I dearly love the Seminary; our eleven years here have been some of the best years we have known in our life together in ministry. We love the Seminary’s mission and the role it plays in the life of the Church. But most of all, we love the NTS community; the faculty, staff and students have become our friends; we will miss them. We have great confidence in those who will continue to lead NTS in the decisions and opportunities that lie ahead. As we look to the future, we are thankful for the invitation to return to the PLNU community and take up our new responsibilities there. In and through all of these challenging days, we know the grace and mercy of God, and the hope of the resurrection, more closely and fully than ever. And we are thankful.”
When asked to share the identifying “high point” of the President’s work, Trustees, faculty, staff and students overwhelmingly cited Dr. Benefiel’s leadership in developing the Multi-Campus Seminary, noting that he had been especially effective in imagining a future where NTS would partner with denominational universities and colleges in providing graduate theological education. Benefiel’s leadership and work at NTS also include the growth of the Seminary from a stand-alone building to a 25-acre campus. Additionally, NTS has significantly increased the scope of its focus from primarily North America to working to resource the Church globablly.
We asked members of the NTS community to reflect on the impact Dr. Benefiel has had during his tenure as President:
Current MDiv Degree Student
“Being a student of Dr. Ron Benefiel has shaped my theology and its application in more ways than I am even aware of at this moment. The depth of his intellect concerning Christian theology, with the width of life experiences where that theology is practically applied, translates into a powerful witness to the presence of the already-not-yet Kingdom of God.”
WILL CERTAIN (‘11)
Youth Pastor, KC Urban Youth Center
“Ron not only modeled pastoral care and leadership from his role as our seminary president, but also in his home as a loving husband, father, and, in my case, landlord / ‘adopted Kansas City dad.’ He will always be someone I look to as a mentor in all the areas of my life (my marriage, my understanding of theology, my vocation, etc.) because I know that he will always point me to Christ.”
Current MDiv Degree Student
“To know Ron Benefiel is to know one who embodies God’s gracious love. You cannot be around him without encountering his empathetic listening, his wise reflections or his infectious laugh. Dr. Benefiel is passionate about the mission of reconciliation that our God is working to accomplish on earth through the Church, and it is evident in everything he is and does.”
We invite you to share any thoughts or reflections YOU have as well in the comments section below.