April 2, 2024

Next Chapters: Dan Bjokne Headed to Wisconsin, and Wade Whiteley Set to Be VP of Advancement

  In early March, Dan Bjokne announced that he is leaving his position as Vice President of Advancement at Faith Baptist Bible College to take a similar position at Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, Wisconsin. Wade Whiteley, who has served as Director of Advancement since June 2023, will take over as vice president after Bjokne departs in late April.

Prior to being VP of Advancement, Bjokne served as CFO at Faith from 2011 to 2017. During his tenure as CFO, Bjokne was instrumental in helping Faith balance its budget annually and get out of debt within his first three years. In 2017, Bjokne transitioned from CFO to VP of Advancement with the arrival of current CFO Paul Bray.

Over the last six years, God has blessed Faith and caused Bjokne’s efforts in fundraising to prosper. We have seen an uptick in annual donations, large and small, under Bjokne’s leadership. “We have seen God do some amazing things over Dan’s time here,” President Jim Tillotson recently said. Donor enthusiasm and support have been especially evident in response to fall fundraising efforts implemented by Bjokne. In 2019, he spearheaded the development of the Ten Weeks of Victory campaign, a three-month appeal to donors that culminated in the first Friends of Faith Banquet in September. Since that first effort in 2019, the fall fundraising campaign has become Twelve Weeks of Victory, and it concludes with the banquet in October during homecoming week. From 2019 to 2023 total contributions received as a result of these fall campaigns have equaled $2.7 million, a blessing for which Bjokne is quick to give all praise to God. These monetary gifts have been used to provide scholarships for students and to update and improve campus facilities. 

Bjokne knows that advancement work in Christian education depends on God and His moving His people to give generously. By far, the most rewarding part of working in advancement, according to Bjokne, is the opportunity to meet and fellowship with people who want to support God’s work. “Undoubtedly, the highlights of these last six years have been the amazing people I’ve met and helped,” he said. “I delight in working with people, loving them sincerely, and helping them financially where needed. I have had a front-row seat to see the God of Heaven do some wondrous things. I feel as it says in Judges 13:19,  ‘And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on.’”

Mr. Bjokne has been married to Nancy for 50 years, and they have two adult daughters who are serving alongside their husbands in full-time ministry in Wisconsin. The Bjoknes also have nine grandchildren (ages 10-19), and the desire to be in closer proximity to their children and grandchildren was a significant factor in the Bjoknes’ decision to relocate to Wisconsin. 

We certainly wish the Bjoknes well as they make the transition to Wisconsin and Maranatha Baptist University. Their contribution to Faith has been significant, and we thank God for how He has used them as they have faithfully fulfilled their responsibilities. Reflecting on Bjokne’s character, commitment to God, and excellence in his work, Dr. Tillotson commented, “Dan was the CFO when I arrived in 2015. I was a rookie college president and had much to learn about every aspect of leading a college. Dan and I spent a lot of time together going over the finances, and through that time I came to know and love Dan’s heart for the Lord. Dan is a man of character, he is consistent in his time with the Lord each day, and he is a hard worker. He loves the Lord, his family, good coffee, and winning, as he would say it, and in that order.”

Their departure is bittersweet–bitter because we say goodbye to beloved members of the Faith family and yet sweet because we know the Bjoknes will continue to invest spiritually in their children and grandchildren and serve the Lord faithfully at a sister institution. 

We also rejoice in God’s provision of a man of godly character and business acumen to step into the role that Bjokne is vacating. Wade Whiteley is no stranger to Faith. He has worked alongside Dr. Tillotson over the years on the board of Grand View Camp (Eagar, Arizona), and he has served as Director of Advancement for Faith over the last 10 months. Whiteley brings to his role a wealth of experience in finance and business and a creative mind that will undoubtedly benefit our advancement efforts. Some highlights from his work experience include time as a CPA at Arthur Andersen, time as a Controller of a multi-national real estate developer, ownership of a mortgage company, and building a book of business as an independent insurance agent. 

Whiteley has been married to his high school sweetheart, Kelli, for just over 40 years. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren. He is an avid sports fan, especially of football, a sport he not only enjoys watching but also coaching. Between 2015 and 2020, Whiteley conducted an annual training camp for the Haifa Underdogs, a semiprofessional football team in Israel. He has also led football clinics for high school athletes in Jerusalem. 

When asked about what he’s most looking forward to in his new role, Whiteley responded, “God has been preparing me for decades for this role. I just did not realize this. I always knew that, in time, I would serve in some ministry capacity. When the call came and I knew God was in it, I was excited for this next chapter of my life. Business is wonderful, but this opportunity is eternal.”

We thank God for what He is doing at Faith and for the servants He is using to accomplish His work here. Those servants are the many constituents of Faith who faithfully support the college and seminary through prayer and financial giving. Those servants are also people like Dan and Nancy Bjokne and Wade and Kelli Whiteley whom God equips and places in a certain position for a certain season to accomplish His purposes. “God has been good to us,” Mr. Bjokne often says. We agree. 

Please continue to pray for the Bjoknes as they move to Wisconsin and for the Whiteleys as they settle into Ankeny and as Wade begins his new role next month.