“Even in relative failure, following God is better than sloughing through success,” says Joel Riehle, CCU’s History of Christianity professor, who refers to himself as someone who was once disenchanted with the local church and is now convicted about his life and work in the kingdom.
Joel was strongly influenced by his youth pastor, Craig Grammar, a CCU alumnus, to take a step into ministry by attending what was then Cincinnati Bible College. While here, Riehle met many life-long friends, played co-op Halo on his T1 Cable, and was educated by “the best minds on the Bible.” Riehle had no desire to leave school, so he went back and got his master’s degree in church history before becoming an adjunct professor in 2010 for CCU’s adult education program.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in 2005, he married his wife, Melissa, whom he met at CCU. The two moved to Hamilton about a month after being married, where Riehle worked part-time as a youth minister at Community Christian Church. He says that although it was a risk working part-time with the bills, he liked the direction he was headed and later “beat the odds” by staying in youth ministry for eleven years.
Later on, Riehle felt God bless him with a passion for personal and intentional disciple-making that led him to be the Connect Pastor at Community Christian Church, a role in which he still serves. Riehle says there have been a lot of failures, as the world would judge it, throughout his ministry, but “discipleship is a work of God. If I fulfill my role, the change/progress/discipleship is on Him.”
Throughout his ministry at Community, Riehle has had the privilege of sending a few students to Bible college. He enjoys the partnership that the local church and CCU have in raising students in their faith and sending them out. Riehle says, “I’ve never stopped loving CCU or appreciating the years I had here, and it makes me grateful to still be involved even at this part-time level.”
Riehle started teaching courses in the undergraduate program last semester and is looking forward to continuing to work with students. In addition to his role at Community Christian church, he writes his blog titled “Disciple Life,” which can be found at thedisciplelife.com. Riehle’s wife, Melissa, is also joining us here at CCU this fall, teaching in the education department. We are excited, blessed, and thrilled to have the Riehles as part of the CCU family!