Margaret Koontz is in her sixth year as a full-time faculty member in the College of Theology. Originally from Bakersfield, CA, she earned her MDiv at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, CA. She has served in children’s, youth and cross-cultural ministries as well as pastoring small churches in California, New York and New Mexico. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Hal, for 43 years, and has four grandchildren.
I was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA and have always been called to be a teacher. I began in elementary education and then specialized in children’s music. When my sons were born, I moved to children’s ministries at our church and was soon developing curriculum, teaching puppetry, designing musical productions, writing for and directing vacation Bible school and superintending the Sunday school programs. I received my MDiv with an emphasis in church and family ministries from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Fresno, CA in 1993. I continued to work on staff as director of children’s ministries for several years and then began serving as a “traveling” pastor, filling in for many of our smaller churches in the San Joaquin Valley. I was ordained as minister of word and sacrament in the PC (U.S.) in 2003 and spent 2.5 years as the interim pastor for our congregation’s Chinese Christian church. I then served as a pastor in small churches in California, New York and New Mexico. We came to Phoenix in 2010 to be close to family and I began teaching full-time in the College of Theology that fall.
I love the time I get to spend with my students, getting to know them and getting to be a part of their journey with God. Watching what God is doing in their lives and sometimes getting to help interpret those events is such an encouragement. Just being able to be a part of the ups and downs, of the insights into Scripture, of the prayed and answered prayers and of the unfolding of the path God has put them on is such a blessing. For the students from the other colleges, I can know that they have a clearer and stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian. For some, their faith is strengthened and for some the decision to follow Christ for the first time is the result.
Keep learning, keep growing and stay open to new possibilities. God has already gone where He is leading you and He knows what is needed for you to be able to serve Him as you hope to do now and in the future. Be involved in ministry. Try out different things. You can learn as much in a place where the fit isn’t right as you can doing something you’ve always been comfortable with. Make friends and invest heavily in these relationships. Ministry is what we do together. Get in the habit now of being accountable, of being mentored and of mentoring. Never stop needing the grace of God to sustain you, to guide you and to provide for you.