Bethel Alum builds rapport, waits his turn, lands position at Eagle Brook.
by Lauren Clyne
For Will Kornbaum, a 2011 graduate of Bethel, his college days gave him the tools to “wait in Christ,” and taught him the importance of building good rapport with everyone he meets. Today, Kornbaum is the Pastor of Student Ministries at Eagle Brook Church for the White Bear Lake campus.
Eagle Brook Church is a Twin Cities mega-church with over 17,000 members and six sites in the north metro. Kornbaum manages and mentors the small group leaders at the White Bear Lake campus, working alongside other leaders to make sure small groups and student ministries’ visions align across all campuses.
Jennifer Klein, a volunteer small group leader at Eagle Brook says, “Will Kornbaum was definitely chosen by God to lead the White Bear student ministry,” Jennifer Klein said. Klein is a small group leader who works alongside Kornbaum at Eagle Brook. “He has a connection with the students that is indescribable,” she added. “He respects the students and they respect him back. He truly loves them just like Jesus loves them.”
Before landing his position with Eagle Brook, no lucrative job offers were given to Kornbaum. He ended up working two hours away from the cities, at River of Life Church in Sauk Centre, Minn, leaving friends behind for almost three years. “It felt like I was on the JV squad wanting to play varsity,” Kornbaum said of his time in Sauk Centre, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was all bad. “I had the opportunity to grow and develop but wanted to get in the game.” Kornbaum is thankful for the opportunity that River of Life Church gave him and attributes much of his spiritual growth to his time in Sauk Centre.
Kornbaum credits God for his perseverance, adding that his time at Bethel was where he found his foundation in Christ. “[Bethel] set a trajectory for the rest of my life serving Christ,” he said. Kornbaum said he likes to start each day with “coffee and Jesus,” and is thankful for the resources he found at Bethel for his spiritual growth.
Kornbaum’s current position at Eagle Brook Church is a result of him practicing what he preaches: connecting with people and putting his faith in God. Kornbaum and his wife, Alleks, were going to a wedding when they passed by Eagle Brook Church. Kornbaum thought out loud, commenting on how great it would be to work there and, in that moment, they prayed that Will would find work there. They had no idea if they were even hiring. A couple of weeks later, a fellow Bethel grad, Chris Mason, wrote a post on Facebook about a job opening at the Church. Kornbaum contacted Mason and got an interview for the position, and eventually they hired him.
Eagle Brook’s mission is to “empower people to reach others for Christ.” They’ve expressed interest in adding additional campuses and service times to further their mission, and Kornbaum is hopeful that Bethel students will get involved in the process by applying for internships, volunteering or praying for God to speak to church leaders. Eagle Brook actively recruits Bethel students for many of their internships and is a regular at Bethel job fairs.
Josh Perkins, a 2015 graduate of Bethel, became Kornbaum’s first intern at Eagle Brook Church last spring. “The main thing that I learned working with Will was how to use criticism well. Seeing him learn from other leaders helped me learn from him,” Perkins said.
“Eagle Brook is a big church, but you can tell that Will is most excited when he’s playing broomball with the students or jumping up and down with all the kids.” Perkins said, commenting on Kornbaum’s “child-heart” and how much of an asset it is while doing student ministries in a big church.
Kornbaum and his wife, also a Bethel grad, believe that Bethel was just what they needed as college students. The people he met at Bethel were critical in that intersection of life.