After many years of serving the Goshen College community, Bob Yoder, campus pastor, mentor and friend, will be stepping down from his position as campus pastor at the end of this semester.
Yoder is leaving after working at Goshen for 14 years, having started in 2003 as assistant professor to youth ministry. In 2006, he took on the role of campus pastor, and for six years managed performing both of the roles simultaneously.
After this year ends, Yoder will be beginning his role as the new donor engagement officer at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana.
“I see [this job] as a wonderful opportunity to help people find generous ways of supporting this vital ministry that works at training church leaders,” said Yoder. “It’s a service for the church.”
Yoder’s job will mainly consist of promoting AMBS to new donors in order to receive funds for the seminary.
“Part of what I get to do is to help hear stories of people and their passions and share stories of AMBS to people who might have interest in helping to fund promote and advance AMBS as a ministry,” Yoder said.
Yoder has a couple of reasons why he is leaving. Over the past couple years, he has been thinking about development as a way to pursue his pastoral calling. After weighing his options at a couple different places, the position at AMBS seemed like a great opportunity for him to pursue that.
Yoder also stated that he was ready for a change.
“I’m in my 12th year as campus pastor, and I’m getting to be here at Goshen for about 15 years total, so it’s just kinda time,” he said.
Yoder states that what he will miss most is the interactions with students as they think about their futures. He enjoyed helping them figure out how faith could inform their vocation, whatever it may have been.
Another thing Yoder will miss with be the academic setting. He likes learning, and being on a college campus was perfect for that.
“I like the opportunities I’ve had over the years for research, for going on things like SST or other kinds of educational trip groups with students,” said Yoder. He said he will also miss “colleagues in an educational setting.”
However, this love for an academic setting is another reason Yoder is excited to start at AMBS. Listening to stories of passion from people who are donating to the seminary is something that Yoder is looking forward to.
Yoder could not think of just one favorite memory from campus, but he remembered many small memories. Leading May Term courses through Greece and Italy, following the path of the Apostle Paul, was a highlight for him. He also remembers when a person who applied to be an Ministry Leader received their acceptance letter and then ran across campus, thrilled that she would get to be an Ministry Leader for the next year.
Ethan Lapp, a current ministry leader working with Yoder, recalled when he, Yoder and all of the other MLs traveled to Merry Lea for a day.
“I think that whole day was a good introduction to him and the program,” said Lapp, a sophomore. “We just became more cohesive as a group, and we got to know him better. After that, I think we all just felt closer to him as our leader.”
Gilberto Perez, dean of students, is working to find someone to fill Yoder’s position for a short time as interim campus pastor during the spring, and then permanently for the years after.
Perez said he hopes to “open the position up to the public and begin a quick process for identifying the interim campus pastor position.”
The goal is to have an interim pastor in place by the end of December.