Executive Minister for Church Relations
In my position at Bethel, I seek to fulfill my calling of serving the church. I am passionate about what God is doing through the church and I want Bethel to be a dynamic partner with the church in advancing the gospel. One key to this is engaging our seminary alumni in strengthening and expanding the educational ministry of Bethel Seminary.
Bethel has played a significant role in our family. My wife, Lyn (Ford) Gustafson, and I both graduated from the college ('74). I also hold Master of Divinity (’78) and Doctor of Ministry (’13) degrees from Bethel Seminary. Our children Jared (C'00, S'11), Krissa (C'01), and Nathan (C'03, S'08) are also Bethel grads, and our son Luke works at Bethel.
We are thankful for our family's Bethel legacy, and we'd love to see our grandchildren at Bethel someday!
Why Ralph Loves His Job
My experience—as a pastor, teacher, speaker, and ministry director—is a perfect fit for my role. I love being with people. I also appreciate the chance to pray with, and for, others. I’m blessed and moved by the opportunities for prayer at Bethel, like the National Prayer Initiative and prayer gatherings with alums, parents, and staff.
Favorite Bethel Experience
Festival of Christmas and other events on campus and throughout the country are special and amazing times for me. I also have fond memories as a student playing, and later, coaching football.
Guiding Bible Verse
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all yours ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.“ - Proverbs 3:5-6
In His Free Time
I enjoy family time—especially with my grandkids—and biking, traveling, camping, attending football games, teaching, and watching just about any sport on TV. I also umpire youth baseball, preach, and work with the Converge Worldwide youth ministries.