There are several states, many miles, and a completely different world in some respects between Missouri and Massachusetts. However, the distance and the differences didn’t stop a group of Central graduates from choosing to minister and share Jesus in Boston with people who may have never heard about Him.
Bob and Amy (Franke) Bacon both grew up in Knox County, near Novelty, Missouri. They attended CCCB from 1997-1999 and earned their Associate of Arts Degrees before transferring to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri. While in Warrensburg, Bob served at the Northside Christian Church as their yo uth minister and Amy worked with the Christian Campus House. In 2010, Bob and Amy moved to Boston to work with Sojourn Collegiate Ministry.
Bob is the Director of Operations of Sojourn. He works with the executive team to facilitate the administration, financials, communications, and human resources of the organization. Bob also gets to help minister to students through specific activities and events.
When asked why they chose Boston, Bob replied, “Amy and I felt God had prepared us well through our learning, experiences, network of support, and gifting/abilities to be able to minister alongside great people in a place like Boston. The immense need and the potential for impact convicted us then and propels us forward now. Truth be told, I am unaware of ministries like this that continually find itself at the intersection of faith, academia, arts and culture.”
Dustin Gardner grew up in Unionville, Missouri. He started his college career at Iowa State University before studying for the ministry. Dustin transferred to Central Christian College of the Bible in 2008 and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Religious Studies degree. Dustin was the youth minister at the Clay County Christian Church in Liberty, Missouri, before relocating to Boston to serve at Sojourn Collegiate Ministry.
Dustin is the Lead Campus Minister of Northeastern University and Boston University. He is active in leadership development/discipleship, program development/outreach, and community engagement.
Bob mentioned several professors influenced him by helping him feel the tension, acknowledge the challenge, and better understand the value of following Jesus. Dustin said his theology classes best prepared him for thinking on the level of students he works with in Boston.
Bob and Dustin work alongside Tim Hawkins and Brian Graves, two other Central alumni at Sojourn Collegiate Ministry (sojourncollegiate.com/boston).
Caitlin Pugh took a different route to her ministry in the Boston area. Caitlin came to Central from Shiloh, Illinois, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Counseling in May 2015. She moved to Quincy, Massachusetts, later that month and has been helping with a church plant, Restore Christian Church (restorequincy.org). “There are a lot of good things already happening in and around Boston but the city is still considered ‘unreached’. Admittedly, I didn’t attend Central with a passion or even interest in church planting, but as I was introduced to the need and structure of church planting, something in my heart changed. I was excited by the idea of creating something new, something tailored to the needs of a specific community. It’s still hard to put into words why I chose this specific ministry but, to put it simply, there was a need and I was available. God used the experiences and training I received at Central to give me the confidence to say “YES” to a journey that has been anything but comfortable.”
Caitlin is primarily responsible for the organization of Restore Christian Church’s small groups and the materials needed to lead them. She also oversees the Technical Arts team, which involves weekly setup and teardown of their Sunday space, maintaining the equipment and organizing volunteer teams.
Interpersonal Communication was one of her favorite classes at Central. She commented that she completed the class with skills and a mindset that led to an exciting season of ministry. The skills and resources gathered from those classes have directly influenced the way she approaches ministry today.
“I attended Central with a deep seated belief that what I was lacking was the right formula, the perfect apologetic and an eloquent explanation of the Gospel. Now that I’m navigating my first ministry outside of Central, I’ve learned that these skills come secondary to the very thing Jesus came to redeem, #relationships, our relationship to God, to each other, and to the world.”