Preparing committed, service-ready Christians

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If you had only one word to describe a prominent leader, what word would you use?

Several terms can describe someone with a gift for leading others: strong, committed, respected, organized, and the list goes on. But one word in this category holds a special meaning reserved only for those of the highest character who conduct their lives in a uniquely dignified manner. These individuals we often describe as presidential.

Junior marketing and finance double major James Biedenbender is presidential in every sense of the word. It’s a fitting portrayal, too, since he is the current WLC Student Senate president and was “commander in chief” of his high school student council. James has always been eager to serve others through leadership, a passion he attributes to his communication, organization, and adaptability skills.

But it wasn’t until coming to WLC that James began to appreciate his gift for leading others through a distinctly Christian lens. With the eyes of faith, he grew in his understanding of Christian servant leadership and living a vocational calling. These concepts were woven into every class and element of campus life.

“I had never thought about my life as a calling. Planting that seed has helped me want to serve others even more.”

James’ actions have more than proven the sincerity of his desire and commitment. He is spearheading several outreach projects, each involving the management of a team of peers to carry out their respective missions. As the son of Lutheran school teachers, James understands the importance of volunteer assistance in educational enrichment opportunities. Seeing a need for arts education experiences at a Christian elementary school in inner-city Milwaukee, he marshaled the resources of WLC education majors to offer four art workshops for the students throughout the year. James secured grant funding for supplies and other project expenses through the college’s Gary & Sandra Greenfield Christian Leadership Scholarship program.

“It’s so cool to interact with the kids and to work on these projects with them. We really get to step into their world and make a connection in the community.”

Through the course of the project, James learned that the school also needed to replenish its lending library, as students are encouraged to keep the books they bring home to promote reading and literacy. He immediately sprang to action, creating a multi-faceted book drive that joined forces with a college-wide day of service.

James’ zeal for helping and leading others is fueled by his love for Jesus. He has fanned the flames of faith by regularly attending chapel, participating in Monday night student-athlete Bible studies, and playing piano for worship. At an impressionable time for many college students, James has surrounded himself with Christian friends for growth and encouragement.

“Faith has always been a part of my life, but in college, I’m responsible for making my own choices. I’m so grateful to have close Christian friends who keep each other in the cycle of staying in the Word and going to chapel.”

Our world desperately needs “presidential” Christian leaders like James, who take charge when there is a big job to be done. WLC is preparing young men and women to serve with courage as they bring the love of Christ to people in need. However, our critically important mission depends on you. Will you please consider a gift to help more WLC students like James emerge as strong, faith-driven leaders? Only through your partnership can we continue to send out committed, service-ready Christians.

The well-rounded student-politician, James is also embedded in Warriors Athletics as captain of the men’s volleyball team and team leader for the sports information office. Additionally, he serves as a campus tour guide in the Ambassador Club, showcasing the campus to prospective students and their families.

After WLC, James plans to attend graduate school to earn his master’s degree in advertising or market research. While there, he’s interested in continuing his work with sports information and statistics in a graduate assistant role, where he’ll be able to draw upon experiences from his WLC business courses and his position with Warriors Athletics.

James’ dream is to open his own coffee shop one day. Not wasting any opportunities to gain experience, he sought an internship with local marketing firm Chameleon Communications, where he now works as a video production and account manager. James will undoubtedly be prepared with a heart for service, a gift for leadership, and a love for his Lord when he someday realizes his dream of owning a business.

WLC has provided James with boundless opportunities to deepen his pursuit of Christian servant leadership. “I have so many opportunities to build on what I’m doing and to stay connected to my faith.” Like many of our students, however, James relies on the support of friends like you to attend WLC. “College is expensive, and I wouldn’t be able to be here if it weren’t for scholarship donors. I feel so blessed that people want to offer their support.”

Your generosity and faithful prayers bless our students. Thank you for your continued commitment to Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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