Meet the Chenoweths: Their Journey to Bethel

The Chenoweths gather in the backyard of their new home in Mishawaka. (From left: Allison, Abbey, Tammy, Gregg and Aaron).

Gregg A.Chenoweth, Ph.D., began his tenure as Bethel’s seventh president on July 8 after a unanimousvote by the board of trustees. He was formally inaugurated during alumni weekend on Nov. 10. But his journey to Bethel started more than two years ago, when he and his wife, Tammy, began to sense God’s call toward leadership in Christian higher education.

HOME SWEET HOME
Before the Chenoweths even considered their new home a possibility, Tammy’s mother and aunts, who are from the Mishawaka area, were praying over the grounds of a long-vacant farmhouse. On a visit to Mishawaka with Allison and Aaron, Tammy took them to look at it. Allison instantly fell in love with the house. But when they later looked up the listing, they were disappointed to find the price completely out of their budget. Still, the Chenoweths prayed over the possibility. They put in one offer for the farmhouse and it was denied. But the night before they were going to put an offer on a different house, the realtor for the farmhouse called and asked them to wait until morning. As it turned out, the seller came down on the price and they were able to afford their dream farmhouse.

Chenoweth, who was then vice president of academic affairs at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., says that he was considering several possible positions when the recruiting firm for Bethel contacted him. As he and Tammy, who have been married for 24 years, thought about their options, they did what they always do when faced with major life decisions — steward the opportunity with fasting and prayer. Quickly, it became apparent that Bethel was the right fit for Chenoweth, and he the right fit for Bethel.

Not only did Bethel’s potential for growth as an institution line up with what the Chenoweths hoped to see in higher education, but the timing for filling the position began to accelerate. “In our conversations with Bethel, it was like a harmony of voices where timing and fit seemed to settle in,” Chenoweth says. “Where we are in life seemed to be well timed with where Bethel was.”

But before they even mentioned the possibility to their family, they prayed that God would work on the hearts of their children, Abbey, Allison and Aaron, to come to the same conclusion. Chenoweth was particularly concerned about his daughter Allison, who at the time was preparing for her senior year of high school.

“Not only did they accept this; they encouraged it,” Chenoweth says of his children, who found out about the Bethel opportunity before he and Tammy even had the chance to tell them.

From there, things moved quickly. Their house in Illinois sold in 30 days without a realtor. They closed on their new home in Mishawaka in 60 days — and got it at a much lower price than the listing.

“[We] sold a house, bought a house, all within 60 days. Only God can do that — and we give Him all the glory,” Tammy says.

The Chenoweths are excited about what God is doing and will do through Bethel College. As Ephesians 3:20-21 states, God can do immeasurably more than what we can ask or imagine for the glory of Christ from generation to generation.

“We’re willing to contribute toward Bethel’s future, and that will not replace what she’s been, but will build upon her great potential — so that an even greater glory for God’s kingdom can be done through her,” Chenoweth says.

For more about the Chenoweths’ journey to Bethel, visit BethelCollege.edu/President.

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