No Greater Joy

“Mrs. Cedarholm would often quote, ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth’ (3 John 1:4),” commented Dean of Students and Alumni Director, Dr. John Davis. “She thought of the students and alumni as her own children, and she nurtured those relationships as much as possible around campus and wherever she went.”

Connecting with alumni was a priority for Mrs. Cedarholm when traveling with the choirs and ensembles. “Madrigal concerts in the churches were always special,” Louise Budahl shared. “Mrs. Cedarholm would call forward any alumni in the audience and ask them to join the choir for the last number. Everyone would lift their voices together to sing, ‘How Firm a Foundation.'”

The Maranatha faculty and staff share the same sentiment toward students and graduates today. “Nothing brings us greater joy than to hear of graduates ‘walking in truth’ and serving the Lord in the places and vocations God has prepared for them,” said Davis.

Maranatha continues to be guided by the Cedarholms’ vision to develop leaders for local church ministry. For over 45 years, graduates have demonstrated a pattern of faithfulness to ministry in Baptist churches. The fruit of that vision is evident in the graduates’ commitment to the local church—a commitment that transcends the decades.

Faithful Through the Years

The 70s

Dr. Robert (Bobby) Lehn, Class of 1975
LehnAfter finishing his BA at Maranatha, Dr. Lehn went on to earn an MA and PhD. In 1983, he and his wife, Kay, planted Westside Baptist Church in Augusta, GA, and he has served as pastor there for the last 30 years. The Lord has blessed the ministry with numerical growth and the addition of property and several beautiful buildings. Dr. Lehn’s commitment to planting and growing a fundamental Baptist church has produced much fruit.

The 80s

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Post, Class of 1982
PostRichard has dedicated his life to advancing the cause of Christian education. He and his wife, Marlene, have served in Christian school ministries all of their lives. Both his ability to teach a variety of subjects and his willingness to assume many ministry responsibilities were lessons learned at Maranatha. Rich has taught for the past 23 years at Emmanuel Baptist Christian Academy in Mechanicsburg, PA, where he can be found teaching high school math, operating the scoreboard at basketball games and serving in the church’s music ministry, among other activities.

The 90s

Pastor Jeff Estes, Class of 1991
EstesJeff and Nora Estes established Fellowship Baptist Church in Meridian, ID, in 2002. Working with a co-laborer, Chris Best, they have enjoyed the Lord’s blessings on the work. Located just outside Boise, ID, they have a significant population to reach. The church has a healthy mix of young families and mature saints. Jeff’s burden is to reach people of all ages with the gospel and to make FBC
a family-oriented ministry.

The church has purchased property and is making plans to build their own facility in the near future.

The 2000s

Pastor Matt Lahmann, Class of 2003
Matt Lahman3Matt and Jenny (Mikkelson, ’04) Lahmann began the City Light Baptist Church in St. Charles, MO, on September 8, 2013. After nine years in youth ministry, in central Florida, they answered the call of the Lord to establish a new church. They spent one year on deputation holding meetings in over 100 churches seeking prayer and temporary financial support. Their passion and energy are evident in their zeal to see God start a gospel preaching church in the St. Louis area.

The 2010s

Pastor Andrew Solarek, Class of 2010
SolarekAndrew has served as music pastor and youth pastor for over a year and a half at Southeast Baptist Tabernacle in Indianapolis, IN. Both he and his wife, Jessica (Hraba, ’12), were excited to explore new areas of service and plan new discipleship groups and activities for the teens. For Andrew, ministry training happened in Maranatha’s classrooms, dorms, and beyond—including on the soccer field with Coach Jeff Pill, where Andrew was captain of the soccer team for two years. Andrew’s soccer skills were always the Lord’s to use, and today Andrew is the assistant soccer coach at Franklin Central High School—a position, he believes, provides a “great opportunity for outreach.”

Maranatha alumni are united on the importance of local church ministry. Consider these facts from a comprehensive alumni survey:

  • 90 percent of alumni report they are actively serving in some area of ministry as members in a Baptist church
  • 43 percent of alumni serve in a paid ministry position
  • 93 percent of alumni continue to feel that fidelity to God and ministry in the local church is a significant quality of Maranatha

“Local church ministry is at the core of Maranatha,” concluded Davis. “When we see these results, we know students are getting the message. They understand the importance and are reaping the benefits of a vision sown years ago.”