Donor Spotlight: Rev. Deborah Morgan Stokes
Rev. Deborah Morgan Stokes | October 17, 2016
Rev. Deborah Morgan Stokes, senior minister at East Dallas Christian Church, is one of many donors to the Rev. Dr. Ben Bohren NBA Leadership Fund. Celebrating Ben's 50 years of ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), this fund will support the mission of the NBA with a priority for supporting leadership development programs, such as NBA XPLOR.
In the early 1990s, when I was called to serve as associate minister at Saguaro Christian Church in Tucson, Arizona, one of the first events to which I took the youth of my congregation was a fall rally led by Chapman University students, guided by their energetic, loving director, the Rev. Dr. Ben Bohren.
It was “love at first sight,” as we have joked over these almost 25 years of collegial friendship. Truthfully, it was a love based in our shared passion for the ministry we both served—the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the precious people-treasures therein.
Ben’s giftedness for ministry is based on his amazing ability for relationship-building—both with individuals and congregations alike. He never settled for shallow knowledge or superficial pleasantries with the people whom he served. He was intentional and attentive with each person he met, and he was able to inspire them to give their best to the glory of God.
He inspired many throughout his time at Chapman with young adults dreaming about the future for which they were preparing. He continued to inspire when he moved to the National Benevolent Association with congregations dreaming about miracles for their future in the Miracle Day programs (where I had the honor of participating in several of those congregational “miracles”). He then inspired a whole region to dream big in God’s love while serving as the regional minister in Northern California, implementing a new system of regional elders who became a network of caregiving—a cutting-edge ministry at that time.
Even after “retirement,” Ben continues to serve as a consultant with the NBA XPLOR program. He visited me in my new call at East Dallas Christian Church, and his enthusiasm for encouraging both the spiritual growth of young adults and congregations was contagious. We were blessed to send one of our own young adults to be a pioneer XPLORer in the inaugural year of the program, and then the next year, EDCC became an XPLOR site in partnership with Juliette Fowler Communities, sharing in the growth and discovery of three XPLOR Residents.
I am honored to call Ben a friend and colleague all these years. He is truly a miracle worker on behalf of the church of Jesus Christ, helping make dreams that seemed impossible come true for individuals and congregations alike.
Thank you, Ben!