The strength of any ministry team always centers around its leadership. That isn’t just an opinion, it is a biblical concept: “a student will not be greater than his teacher, but when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
CE National is pleased to announce the adult Operation Barnabas leaders for this summer’s ministry. Your prayer is needed and appreciated as these men and women invest themselves into high school students all summer long. Thanks for praying!
Alex McCue is the administrative leader for Team 123. He is also the husband of Melody McCue, and the daddy of “Little McCue” expected this October! Alex was a student on Operation Barnabas in 2008 (team Mid-America!). He graduated from THE Ohio State University with a B.A. in Religious Studies and completed the Vineyard Leadership Institute, a two-year Bible program. Alex was involved with the ministry of Young Life for six years, the same ministry in which Alex met Jesus in high school. He and his wife live in Delaware, OH, where Alex grew up, and now works as the pastor of middle school and worship ministries at Delaware Grace Church. This will be Alex’s third year leading OB and he loves the Gospel, his wife, good coffee, listening to Matt Chandler, provoking conversations, shepherding students, and seeing people pass from death to life in Christ!
Heidi Bedford was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio (Go Bucks!!) She attended Christian schools and grew up in the East Side Grace Brethren Church. She then attended Grace College and graduated from there in 2010 with a degree in elementary school education. Currently, Heidi is the third grade teacher at Warsaw Christian School and lives in Winona Lake, Indiana, with her dog, Buckeye. She attends Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, where she is a volunteer youth leader. Working with teenagers is one of Heidi’s very favorite things to do and she is excited to lead Operation Barnabas for the second time this summer!
Bekah Kurtaneck is originally from Southern California, but currently lives (along with the rest of her family) in Winona Lake, Ind. She is attending Grace College in Winona Lake (but wholeheartedly cheers for USC!) and plans to graduate in December of this year. She is pursuing a degree in Youth Ministry and Behavioral Sciences. She serves at Warsaw Community Church with a group of 8th grade girls and has always been involved in other areas of children’s and youth ministries. Bekah is an OB alum from 2010 and is beyond excited about the privilege to lead the young people that are a part of Barnabas this summer! In her spare time, Bekah is involved in a variety of extracurricular activities at Grace and enjoys spending time with her friends and family.
Shawn Mason is a 2010 Alumni of Operation Barnabas and he grew up in Kendallville Indiana. He will be a senior at Grace College in the fall, studying youth ministry. Shawn works with the First Christian Church in Kendallville and has been one of his youth pastor’s assistants for the past 6 years. He also helps lead worship by playing guitar and singing. The past two summers, Shawn led a mission trip to Hamilton, Ohio. Outside of working with the youth at his church, Shawn is an avid fan of the Michigan State Spartans and the New England Patriots, the only team from Indiana that he likes is the Indiana Hoosiers. Shawn loves Mountain Dew and Coffee and wants everyone to know that Batman trumps Captain America any day, but most of all he is very excited to see God work in the lives of the students this summer.
Melody McCue grew up in the Warsaw/Winona Lake Indiana area, and was involved with Warsaw Community Grace Brethren Church up through her freshman year at Grace College. After that she finished her degree in Early Childhood Education at Ball State University where she became heavily involved in a campus church called the Revolution. With this ministry she participated in the worship team, was a co-leader of a house church, and participated in a 10-week summer Leadership Training program. Life has been a whirlwind since graduation! She now calls Delaware, Ohio home, where she has been happily married to Alex McCue for seven months, has been carrying their unborn child for 3 months, has called Delaware Grace Brethren Church home, and has fallen in love with the middle school girls in her small group! Melody is an OB alum from 2006 and also went on OBI in 2008, but this is her first year leading…for which she is so excited! As a first year leader she looks forward to learning so much and getting to spend time pouring out Christ’s love to, and alongside, high school students!
This will be Brandon Riel’s third tour as a leader with Operation Barnabas. He is an alumnus from 2007 and is so grateful to have the opportunity to serve with such an awesome organization that Jesus CLEARLY uses to draw people to Him. He’s particularly stoked to see his little sister as an OB 2013 student! Brandon is originally from Harrah, Washington but moved to Delaware, Ohio in 2012 to work with Delaware Grace Brethren’s high school ministry. Brandon was a theatre major in college but has gone on to intern as youth and worship coordinator at Goldendale Grace and now is a substitute teacher in central Ohio. The plan is to receive his masters in secondary education for theatre and history in 2014. Brandon loves all the cliché’ things like movies, music, laughing and coffee.
Jeremy Robbins is the administrative leader for Team 314 and grew up in West Milton, Ohio. He graduated in 2010 from Grace College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Youth Ministries and is working on getting his Masters in Pastoral Ministries through Liberty University. Jeremy currently lives in Winona Lake, Indiana and attends the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, where he serves in the youth ministry. Jeremy went on Operation Barnabas as a student on the 2005 Colonies team and this will be his third year leading, after previously leading in 2009 and 2012. Jeremy’s greatest passion is walking alongside youth, living life with them, seeing them grasp the truth of God’s Word, and seeing how the gospel changes their lives. He is beyond ecstatic for this summer and wishes it would start right now!
Amy Kendrick grew up in Southern California but moved to Northern California at age ten. She started attending Ripon Grace Brethren Church. Amy was as a student on Operation Barnabas in 2001 and that is the summer that changed her life and her outlook on ministry. She began to work with the youth group at her church and really saw the needs of students. In 2006, she attended culinary school and graduated as a pastry chef. Currently, she is back in Northern California working for Trader Joe’s and making delicious pastries on the side! This will be Amy’s 9th summer as a leader on Operation Barnabas and she is excited for another year to see the Lord move. She is excited about the things that the Lord has in store for this summer and is ready for another year of awesomeness!
From Lititz, Pennsylvania, Jade Landis is currently studying Social Work and Intercultural Studies at Lancaster Bible College. She serves with the youth group at Lititz Grace Brethren Church and loves every moment that she gets to spend with those teenagers. Jade loves to spend time with friends, enjoy creation, laughing, and spending time with her family. She has three teenage brothers and is the only girl in the family! Jade is an OB alum of 2009 and OBI Philippines alum of 2010. Those trips opened her eyes to the passion she has for the children, teenagers, the lost, and the hurting. She is looking forward to impacting students just as her OB leaders did for her!
Zachary McCue is from Kendallville, Indiana. He is a senior at Grace and will graduate in May with a degree in Biblical Studies. Zach accepted Christ nearly 4 years ago at the Momentum youth conference and has been active in different ministries ever since. He is currently serving as the senior pastor of New Life Bible Church in Columbia City, Indiana, and has a passion for teaching, preaching, discipleship, evangelism, and God’s word. Zack also loves playing sports of pretty much any kind. He is looking forward to the summer, as a first year leader on OB.
Ben Palsha is from Macedonia, Ohio, but is currently living in Japan and working with Northstar Outdoor Adventures. He teaches snowboarding, works with students of all ages and has a passion to use outdoor adventure sports as a tool to share Jesus with people.
Ben loves traveling, snowboarding, rock climbing, biking, backpacking and just about anything else that gets him outside. Ben is an alum from 2007 and an OBI alum from 2008. This will be his second year leading and he is looking forward to watching God work in student’s lives and giving them a passion for meeting Him in crazy new ways!
Kari Slabaugh is originally from Goshen, Ind. She went on Operation Barnabas as a student in 2008. She currently lives in Warsaw, Ind., in the basement of the Kurtaneck household. She is a senior at Grace College studying Youth Ministry and Counseling and will graduate in December. She works at Grace as a Student Ambassador. She volunteers at Community Grace Brethren Church of Warsaw with the youth group and worship team. She has served at her home church in Goshen in different capacities with children’s ministry, camps, and different mission trips. She enjoys laughing, eating, and traveling with friends. She is passionate about ministry and teenagers. This is Kari’s first time leading and she is very excited for the summer!