Fred Defendorf: Leading with Students

Fred Defendorf: Leading with Students

Fred Defendorf wants to make the life of BBC students more fun. That's one of his many goals as the new Coordinator of Student Life.

Fred DefendorkWith a heart for college students, Fred also serves as the Resident Director of Ridley Hall. His vision for the on-campus student body includes building a tight-knit community through service and - you got it - fun.

Fred, a 2003 graduate, majored in Camping Ministries. He spent five years as Program and Guest Services Director at Skyview Ranch in Millersburg, OH.

A native of Batavia, NY, he and his wife, Hannah (03), whom he met as a BBC student, have three children: Clark (5), Bryce (3), and Gage (2). The Defendorfs are excited to be in ministry again, impacting the lives of college students.

The closest thing to a church experience I had was when my dad and I became Mormons for about a year when I was nine. Other than that, there was nothing; my parents didn't want anything to do with God or church. My sister placed her faith in Jesus Christ as her savior by searching the scriptures and visiting churches. She then started to pray and witness to me. The first time I heard the gospel was at age 12. I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I prayed the sinner's prayer. The problem was there was no relationship attached to that prayer; it was only words.

Five years later, my high school sweetheart broke up with me right before graduation. Everything I poured my life into was gone in an instant. Devastated and heartbroken, I started attending church. I found new life and purpose as I got involved. Through a membership class my Pastor, Donald Shirk, taught about the evidence that should be in Christian's life when they know Christ as savior. As the classes progressed, I realized I didn't have a relationship with Christ even though I prayed several years earlier. On June 3, 1997, I knelt down with my pastor and we prayed together.

Over the next two years, I attended church and heard testimony after testimony about how God was impacting people by being involved in ministry. At that point, I was just going to work everyday and helping out at church whenever it was needed. That was good and all, but I wanted more. So I asked God to show me an opportunity to serve in ministry.

After about six months of prayer, I started to wonder if it would ever happen.One day the youth pastor at my church asked if I would help out with a youth retreat. That one week changed my life. I fell in love with everything camp was about, saw children find Christ for the first time, and saw them have fun in Christ's name. I knew when that week was done I wanted to work at a camp. In my search for a college I spoke with Dennis Wilhite and in January 2001 stepped onto BBC's campus.

Several people at BBC invested in me whether they realized it or not. I always felt important when I talked to a faculty or staff member about a question or need. That really went a long way in my growth as a young Christian and student. Ted Boykin helped me realize areas of growth in my life. Dennis Wilhite always asked me if I needed help with anything and was eager to put me in leadership positions. Dwight Peterson, Bill Higley, Don McCall...the list goes on. I learned what it meant to be a mentor, discipler, and spiritual leader, as well as to think about and study the scriptures on my own instead of just listening to other people's opinions.

Right after graduating, I began as an intern at Skyview Ranch in Ohio. I learned programming, recruiting, and countless other valuable skills. After the internship, I was hired to be the Program and Guest Services Director. It was a dream come true.

Unfortunately, sometimes dreams come to an end. After five years in full-time camp ministry, my wife and I decided to step down and take a break. We moved to Scranton and I worked as a salesman for Frito Lay. It was not my most favorite job in the world, but during a recession it was good to have a job. After a couple years I really wanted to get back into ministry. I didn't know where or what, so we began to pray for direction. My wife and I have a passion for college students, so when Ted Boykin asked if we would be interested in being dorm parents, we loved the idea. But we would have to sell our house and find a job with better hours. After a couple months of searching God's will, we couldn't shake the feeling that He wanted us in the dorm.

We accepted the position with tears of joy. Then came the daunting task of finding a job. I was not having much luck anywhere when I heard the Student Activities Director position was available. I was praying something would open on campus, wanting not just the impact with dorm guys but the entire student body. The job description resembled a lot of what I did at Skyview so I jumped on the opportunity.

My biggest vision is to bring excitement and life to the students. Students get drained from heavy workloads, financial burden, and being overwhelmed with college life. My passion is that students would be excited they're here. Their time here is so short and I want students to get the most out of everything BBC has to offer. I want to see students become leaders by serving their churches, community, and each other. I really want to see a campus community where they invest in each others' lives and in so doing, grow closer to God and each other. And of course, I want to see them have fun!

Contact Info:
Cell: 570-561-7664

Learn more about the Camping Ministries program here.

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers outstanding Christian higher education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to think biblically, grow spiritually, and serve faithfully as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 9/24/2013 5:04:14 PM

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