Denise Muir Kjesbo

Job Titles

  • Program Director, Professor, Director of The Cory Center for Children's Ministry
    Children's & Family Ministry (M.A.) , Bethel Seminary

Highlight

Children's, Youth and Family Ministry - I am committed to equipping leaders to serve in ministries with children, youth and families as the crucial mission field of our time - both in the States and around the world. I am passionate about partnering with parents in the spiritual formation of their children and releasing the church as family for all.

Started at Bethel

2000

Education

  • Bethel University - B.A. in Psychology, 1979
  • North American Baptist Seminary - M.Div. with a focus on Family Ministry, 1983
  • Trinity Evangelical University - Ph.D. in Education - Dissertation Topic: Role Models for Women in Vocational Christian Ministry, 1995

Biography

I was raised in Southwest Minnesota, the third daughter in a family that told me I was loved no matter what and I could be anything God called me to be. My call to ministry as a woman in ministry unfolded through several years until I could hear and answer God's call in my life to serve the church and equip leaders through seminary education. I am married to my best friend and ministry partner, Allen.  Our family includes two adult children, Jordan and Emily, their spouses, Faith and Ryan and four grandchildren, Keke, Keivon, Hazel and Henry, and Keke's husband, Tanner and two great grandsons, Kayden and Karter (Keke and Tanner's children). Our family is the greatest joy in my life!

I love investing in the leadership development of the most important leaders in the local church and broader community:  Children's, Youth and Family Ministry leaders!  I do this through teaching three courses in the MACYFM:  Introduction to Children's, Youth and Family Ministry, Family Ministry and Global and Missional Children's and Family Ministry. I am the Program Director for the MACYFM/Certificate in CYFM.  I serve as the Faculty Mentor for all MACYFM students and find great joy investing in the lives of students.

I serve as the Director of The Cory Center for Children's Ministry.  This endowment seeks to equip and empower children's and family ministry leaders who have not yet (or never will!) attend Bethel Seminary's MACYFM or Certificate in CYFM.  We have a variety of initiatives including the Engage Certificate in Children's Ministry, the Engage Certificate in Family Ministry and the Engage Certificate in Pastoral in partnership with the International Network of Children's Ministries. We also offer the Entre' Ninos Children's Ministry Certificate for Spanish speaking children's and family leaders.  We partner with the Global Children's Forum and provide endorsement of the Global Leadership Experience for leaders in children's and family ministry around the world.

I have served globally through presenting at and attending conferences and teaching theological institutions in 16 countries: Thailand, Malaysia, India, Lebanon, Ecuador, Brazil, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Belize, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United Kingdom and South Africa. My global travels have informed and strengthened my teaching at Bethel Seminary and given me a bigger view of God's work in the Kingdom. I have learned much from my global sisters and brothers.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Children's, Youth and Family Ministry

Ministry with Families Across the Life Cycle

Global and Missional Children's and Family Ministry

 

Awards

Top 20 Influencers in Children's Ministry - Children's Ministry Magazine, Group Publishing

Faculty Excellence Award - Bethel Seminary 2016

Faculty Excellence Award - Bethel Seminary 2003

Presentations

Global Leadership Forum Leadership Experience - South Africa (2020), Brazil (2024)

Child Discipleship Forum - Awana, September 2021

Children's Pastor's Conference - International Network of Childrean's Ministries 2001 - present

Childrean's Ministry Network Presenter for Cook Communications, Midwest 1998-2013

Northwest Ministry Conference, Seattle, Washington 2008-2010

Now2 Children's Ministry Conference sponsored by Group Publications, National 2009

Spark Chidlren's Ministry Conference, Elmbrook Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2008

Chidlren's Ministry Workshop Tours sponsored by Group Publishing, National 1995-2008

Familiy Ministry Workshop Tours sponsored by Group Publishing, National 1998-1999

National Youth and Children's Ministry Convention, Chicago, Illinois 1995, 1998

Certificates and Licenses

Ordination - American Baptist Churches USA - 1995

Professional Organizations, Committees, and Boards

Board of Directors - Restoration Generation 2010-2016

Board Member - International Network of Children's Ministries 2011-2015

Christians for Biblical Equality

Teaching specialty

Children's and Family Ministry - I am committed to equipping leaders to serve in ministries with children and youth as the crucial mission field of our time - both in the States and around the world. I am passionate about partnering with parents in the spiritual formation of their children and releasing the church as family for all.