Home E News E 2024 Beyond Borders Award Presented to Rev. Bob Rufener, M.A.

University, California

Life Pacific University is pleased to announce one of two recipients of the 2024 Beyond Borders Alumnus of the Year Award, Rev. Bob Rufener, M.A.

LPU President Dr. Angie Richey comments, “Bob Rufener’s Beyond Borders Award is so well deserved and affirmed by his lifelong commitment to ministry and global missions. He pours out his life, character, and wisdom into the next generation, exemplifying the generational mandate of passing the baton of faith. We are inspired by Bob’s joyful and dedicated service to God and others and learn from him daily.”

“Bob amazes us as he so generously serves in Asia,” shares Dr. Ted Vail, Vice President of Global Operations for The Foursquare Church. “He is an invaluable team member as he mentors leaders by being among them, sharing wisdom, training, and life experience. This is not an easy road for anyone, but Bob is making a difference through his words and actions (Acts 1:1). The Kingdom of God advances in the world’s toughest ‘front lines’ through leaders like Bob.”

Bob’s upbringing as a pastor’s kid in many ways laid a foundation for what would become a lifetime of ministry. “I grew up in a Foursquare pastor’s home where the foundations of faith were laid,” he explains. “I received Christ as Savior and Lord just before Thanksgiving on a Sunday night in 1962 at the age of six, in the Vallejo, CA Foursquare Church. It was my grandma Rufener who prayed with me that night, and I can still vividly remember the heart connection to Jesus. The next year, our pastor, Ron McGregor, had his brother, Don McGregor, and family visit while on furlough. The vision and seeds of missions to the world were planted. The Lord graciously reaffirmed the vision and placed a call to ministry, and baptized me in the Holy Spirit at Old Oak Ranch Foursquare Cadet Camp in Sonora, CA at age nine. Fast forward to 1973 and while on a youth missions trip in Arizona, I had the amazing joy of leading my first person to Christ, and an almost audible God moment of reconfirming my call on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon while singing worship that night. Not quite a burning bush, but close! After graduation from high school, I began my academic career at L.I.F.E. Bible College in Echo Park. However, I left school to begin working full time in ministry before I graduated.”

Bob’s journey into a life of ministry would soon include his sweetheart and love of his life, Mary. “Reconnecting with a childhood friend, age six and nine, from the Foursquare Church in Ridgecrest, CA, where my parents were pastoring, I fell in love with Mary Cobb, and we married in June 1978. Soon to follow were Bobby, Sarah, and Ryan as blessings to us, and they formed our first ministry team as we planted the Abundant Life Foursquare Church in Hollister, CA in 1986 We’ve since had the blessing of adding Melissa (Hayashi) to our family as Ryan found his bride, and they have since blessed us with two grandsons, Ryan Junior (RJ) and Ethan who have captured our hearts. Our family is complete with our huge Goldendoodle, Thomas Cooper, watching over us all and keeping the laughter flowing at his antics and energy.”

During his tenure as senior pastor of Abundant Life Foursquare Church, his love for education and his alma mater stayed strong. “While we were pastoring, we kept sending our very best young people to Life Pacific College, including our own children, so I joined them and finished my undergrad degree at LPC through the Degree Completion Program.” The experience was even more valuable to Bob than the accomplishment. “Every class had an almost immediate impact on me personally, and in ministry application in the church. I had the pleasure of walking during graduation in 2007 with my youngest son, Ryan. What a day! My academic journey continued with the Master’s in Strategic Leadership program from LPU, graduating in 2016. Again, it seemed every class had an immediate impact ministry and personally. God was preparing us for our season of transition and the specific ministry we would be engaging in through FMI in Asia.”

Bob’s enthusiasm for his MASL experience caught the eye of Professor Emeritus Dr. Remi Lawanson, who led the program for many years. “Bob focused his MASL Capstone Research on ‘Discovering a Proven Process for Foursquare Church Succession.’ (2016). Thereafter, [he] has been facilitating leadership development in several nations across different continents including Europe, Asia, and Africa. [Bob] is also helping the church on these continents to develop and maintain a perpetual leadership pipeline, which is essential for the health and growth of congregations and organizations. Therefore, I affirm that [he] is a worthy recipient of the 2024 Beyond Borders Alumnus of the Year Award. Congratulations Bob Rufener!”

Eventually, it was time again for a change of season in Bob’s life. “After pastoring in Hollister for 34 years, Mary and I transitioned out and handed over the church to a wonderful couple that we had known and watched grow and develop most of their lives, and moved back to Ridgecrest and began working with Foursquare Missions as an Emissary to South and Southeast Asia.

Between trips abroad Bob is ever the teacher, and serves as a substitute teacher at the local high school. “That is a whole other mission field as our young people struggle in this current culture. But I know this is an assignment every bit as important as traveling thousands of miles to teach leaders.”

Bob’s current season of “refirement” as he puts it, keeps him busy doing every type of work that he loves. “Currently, we are engaged in teaching and equipping leaders in Asia through online classes and multiple trips a year, for an extended time, to be face to face with these leaders who live in some of the most persecuted regions of the world. A Bible College is being established in India to continue the work long after I am gone. All the training and mentoring I received at LPU is being reproduced in India. In addition to our missions assignment, we produce a daily devotional online to encourage our global family to keep following Jesus.”

In retrospect, Bob is grateful for the journey of hills and valleys the Lord has led him through throughout his life: “Forty-five years of pastoring, leading missions teams, spending extended time away in Africa and Asia planting churches, teaching and equipping leaders, and holding evangelistic crusades, [led] to now focusing my later years to the equipping of emerging leaders and strengthening the Church in the very places God placed in my heart so long ago as a child.”

Please join LPU in congratulating and celebrating Rev. Bob Rufener, M.A., 2024 recipient of the Beyond Borders Alumnus of the Year Award!