Marty Dittmar: Center Court in Student Ministries

Marty Dittmar: Center Court in Student Ministries

Long past his days playing basketball for BBC, Marty Dittmar still plays an important role in the lives of students whose lives focus on a court.

A graduate of both BBC and BBS, Marty has a unique ministry with Purdue University as Athletic Chaplain. In this role he serves the spiritual needs of a range of student athletes at the Big Ten school.Martin Dittmar

Since walking around Jackson Hall, Marty has also been involved in youth and student ministry in Indiana and Italy. A native of North Liberty, IN, Marty worked alongside longtime Defenders Coach Jim Huckaby, coaching and traveling with him.

Martin and his wife, Brenda, now live in West Lafayette, IN. They have two adult children.

Read more In the Spotlights here.

Insight Questions

What led you to BBC&S?
When I was in high school, I heard Dr. Wendell Kempton at a youth rally in Indiana. God used him to touch my heart about a full-time ministry career. He challenged me to consider BBC&S and to come play basketball for Coach Huckaby.

When did you graduate?
I graduated in 1975 from BBC. I took two years then in the Seminary at BBS before taking a youth pastorate in Kokomo, IN, with Dr. Joe Stowell. I felt I could learn much from Dr. Stowell. Later I returned to finish the Master of Ministry degree at BBS.

What program were you in as an undergraduate?
I was in the Pre-Seminary program. I had a real desire to learn the Word of God and prepare myself to serve in ministry, especially in missions, one day.

Who or what led you to faith in Jesus Christ?
I heard the Gospel from a guy in my high school, Russ Schelling, who is also a BBC grad. He was on the wrestling team and was the local Baptist pastor's son. I met him for the first time in the park of my town when a group of us went there to play basketball.

After playing, we sat on the hillside to rest. Russ began to explain his faith in Christ to us. He shared the Romans Road. I thought he had the whole Bible memorized. God's Word touched my heart that day. He gave us all a tract to take home with us. I read it over three times that night in my bedroom. It was then God opened my eyes and heart to His forgiving grace.

What kinds of things were you involved with as a student?
I was an officer in our class and on the student council. Basketball was a big part of my life while at BBC. I also had opportunity to be in a few plays. They were very influential in my speech and speaking development. I was able to travel for five summers on Gospel Teams representing the school, three of those years with Defender 5 and Coach Huckaby. That was amazing.

What led you to pursue a degree from BBS?
I felt I needed more time and training in the Word of God. Plus, I had the opportunity to help Coach Huckaby coach the JV team and travel for the school in the summer with Coach.

Who or what at BBC&S influenced you the most?
God used Coach Huckaby to teach me so many ministry essentials that aren't taught in the classroom. What I learned from him in those days has served me often in my ministry. I can't thank God enough for what Coach taught me about ministry. A second area would be my training in the classroom from wonderful professors.

In what ways has BBC&S prepared you for service and leadership?
I learned how to walk with God and how to deal with people. Both are vital in ministry and life. I most appreciate my interaction with wonderful people who influenced my life and thinking -
from the classroom to the basketball court to the opportunities to serving in the Gospel Team.

What have you been involved in during your career?
I served for six years at Kokomo as youth pastor. Then my wife and I went to Italy to work at the Italian State University and the University for Foreigners in student ministry. Since Italy, we have spent almost 25 years at Purdue University in student ministry. The last 15 years of that I have served at Purdue as Athletic Chaplain.

What led you to Purdue?
We had to stay home from Italy because we had custody of a nephew. Evangelical Baptist Missions, our mission agency, gave us several opportunities to consider. Purdue stood out as a wonderful challenge to reach students for Christ. We had the opportunity to begin a great student ministry in the Kossuth Street Baptist Church, which continues.

What about your job do you enjoy most?
We love interacting with coaches, players, administration, and others working around athletics at Purdue. Every day we have opportunity to share the Gospel. We have many young men and women who are believers and desire to grow in their faith. The university gives me access to our teams to minister and encourage them. I have to admit I love being around athletics, going to games and matches, and being with the teams as the "coach" of spiritual life.

In what ways have you seen God work in your ministry?
We have seen many young men and women profess faith in Jesus Christ. We hold a weekly Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting and do chapel services for some of the teams. We also have taken mission trips each spring break and in May with our student athletes over the last 20 years. Those have been used by God to touch the hearts of many of our students and athletes to go on in their faith, some even going on to full-time Christian career positions.

Contact Information

The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills.
To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 3/2/2011 11:10:51 AM

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