HJ-ED-DHJ

Dec. 25 , 2006

Evangelical Lutheran of Cokato welcomes new youth director

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato is welcoming a new director of youth ministry, Nate Bendorf, to its church.

Bendorf currently lives in Buffalo with his new wife, Sarah, but they hope to move into the community soon.

Even though Bendorf graduated with a business management degree from St. Cloud State University, he had previously majored in youth ministry at Bethel University.

Before making the switch from business to youth ministry, Bendorf had worked for General Mills as an account operations specialist.

“I had a call to leave the corporate world and go into ministry,” he said.

Bendorf enjoys working with youth and has a passion for outreach.

In the past, Bendorf spent several months in Lithuania attending a Lithuanian Christian college and working with Youth With a Mission organization, where he helped coordinate events and youth programs. Youth With a Mission is a nondenominational group that helps to bring kids off the streets and give them a place to go, he said.

Since he did not speak the language very well, it gave Bendorf the opportunity to “relate to the kids on a deeper level,” he said.

After returning to the states, Bendorf worked as a youth discipleship trainer in Sartell, which entailed leading a group of fifth grade boys.

His goal for the church youth ministry is to transcend it beyond a Wednesday night group and expand it into a community affair, Bendorf said.

“I have big plans for next year,” he said, which he hopes will include a mission trip for the high school students and a Bible camp for the middle school students.

Bendorf explained his concern for today’s youth is not having a youth with a sense of belonging, causing them to look to other places that make them at-risk.

He has learned that kids need parent and non-parent guides. “The more adult influences they have in their life, the less at-risk and the better they’ll be at decision-making,” Bendorf said.


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