If you've made it out to a Pioneer football game in the last few years, you've doubtless heard the name Roy Dennis. The defensive lineman has played an important role on the team for the last four years, and he is quick to credit being a part of the team as a significant piece of his MNU experience. "I've had coaches that have been like fathers to me," shares Roy. "They've shaped me into the person I am today."
And while Roy will tell you about the professors and coaches who have shaped his life during his time at MNU, he will also tell you how hard it was for him to get here.
Roy grew up in Grandview, Missouri in a single parent home that wasn't always a safe place. He stuck with football while in a variety of living situations during his high school years. Recruited in 2012, Roy is the first of his siblings to attend college.
Once at MNU, Roy connected quickly with the coaching staff and with chaplain Brady Braatz. As a history major, he made a commitment to his classes - sitting in the front, asking for help and learning to overcome procrastination.
Then, during the second semester of his freshmen year, during a Kingdom Come service, Roy felt something he never expected - a calling to serve the Lord as a senior pastor. "That wasn't something I even knew I wanted to do," he recalls. "But I've become more comfortable with this calling, and I know it's where I'm supposed to be."
Roy changed his major to ministry, and began to form close relationships with faculty members Dr. Randy Cloud, Dr. Jim Edlin, Dr. Larry Fine and Dr. Don Dunn. "They've helped me see ministry in a different way," he shares. "They've been caring and open with me."
Like so many students, Roy has relied on financial aid to be able to stay in school. "There are so many kids who need to stay here at MNU in order for their lives to be impacted," he says. "Lots of them can't afford to stay because of difficult home situations. Scholarships are an investment in something that has a significant return."
Today, Roy is beloved on campus. He earned his local ministers license in 2015. He has volunteered with the elementary and junior high age groups at College Church of the Nazarene for the last three years, a position that has further cemented his calling to ministry. "I want to make it safe for kids to come back to church and have a relationship with their pastors," Roy says. "We have to get our kids running back to church, and that takes a relationship."
To Roy, the future of MNU reflects possibility - he hopes the school will continue to foster a strong, relational culture that can be transformational to students from all backgrounds.Read More