Pastor Bender is now serving as the new associate pastor on campus at Concordia University of Wisconsin.
Douglas Bender, who graduated from CUW seven years ago, has followed God’s path for him by returning to his alma mater.
Pastor Bender spoke to God for guidance and put aside his own wants.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Pastor Bender said.
Pastor Bender will be working with Pastor Smith, helping to take on some campus ministry responsibilities.
“Having someone specifically devoted to campus ministry to work with me is fabulous. It helps to fill out our team,” Pastor Smith said.
Although the two do not read over the other’s sermons, they work as partners to come up with new ideas.
“We have the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other all the time,” Pastor Smith said.
While Pastor Smith handles anything that falls under campus ministry, Pastor Bender has taken responsibility for Haven, mission trips, Students for Life, and men’s ministry.
“It’s important to keep growing with the students because we have more students and a bigger variety,” Pastor Smith said.
The Lutheran denomination and students’ backgrounds have evolved. Pastor Smith said he hopes that the addition of a younger pastor will help to connect with students.
“I relish the chance to be back with this team and work with people that I’ve learned so much from,” Pastor Bender said.
Pastor Bender said his main goal is to help show students what faith in Christ looks like, while continuing to grow the campus ministry program.
“I am looking forward to the influence we will have on each other and on Concordia,” Pastor Smith said.