Jeanene Reese - Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry
Whether counseling students in her office, leading ACU's Center for Women in Christian Service, or uplifting women missionaries in New Guinea, Dr. Jeanene Reese is answering God’s beckoning.
"My call is to be a faithful woman in the opportunities God has given me," she said.
My call is to be a faithful woman in the opportunities God has given me.
And those opportunities are many. In fact, they stretch from Abilene all the way around the world. Besides teaching and leading ACU's Center for Women in Christian Service, Reese is a member of the leadership team for the women's missionary organization, Come Before Winter.
Come Before Winter
The organization takes its name from the Apostle Paul's plea to his friend, Timothy, when Paul was in prison and in need of encouragement from friends. Reese and others involved with the ministry conduct renewals for missionary women worldwide.
Back at home, Reese provides mentoring and spiritual counseling to students and helps equip them for future work in churches. Currently, she is the only female faculty member in the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry.
As such, she oftentimes is asked questions about the role of women in the church. Those questions come from both male and female students. They needn't look any further than Reese to know the answer to their questions. "I'm very respectful of people having different opinions," she said.
A matter of respect
Reese tries to instill that attitude in her students, too. It's OK - even good - to question, she tells them. Just be respectful of others in the process.
Her methods have not gone unnoticed or unrewarded. Reese was named Outstanding Faculty of the Year for the College of Biblical Studies in 2004 and was ACU's University 100 Teacher of the Year in 2003.
Reese has a long association with ACU. She earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from the university in 1974, a master of biblical and related studies in 1995 and a doctor of ministry degree in 2001.
On July 5, 1975, she married Dr. Jack Reese, who currently is the dean of the Graduate School of Theology. Jeanene's first husband, Mike Warren, was killed in an accident in Abilene Feb. 11, 1974.
Her arrival at ACU came via Abilene High School. Reese was teaching parenting skills to pregnant teenagers when she made a proposal to ACU to hire both male and female campus ministers. A year later, she proposed a minister-in-residence position.
Those proposals led to Reese's hiring in 1992 as a part-time faculty member. In 1994 she was named director of the Equipping Women for Ministry program, the forerunner to the Center for Women in Christian Service.
From there, she has become one of the best-known and most respected faculty members on campus. She also is active at Highland Church of Christ and in her worldwide missions work.
The tough questions
Wherever she is, Reese practices what she preaches - respect. She loves to engage students in conversation about faith issues, not shying away from any tough questions.
"We need to disorient them so that their faith is their own," she said.
Sometimes it's hard for students to understand a different point of view, especially in matters of faith. But Reese believes students grow from wrestling with the tough questions - always being respectful of the other person's viewpoint.
"At least they've started thinking about it," she said.