Steve Roese (MABS 95)

Alumni Spotlight

In 2006, while serving as Executive Pastor of Irving Bible Church and board member of ALARM INC, I was confronted with the reality of what fifty-five years of war had done to the nation of Sudan. Having just signed a peace deal, Celestin Musekura of ALARM was convinced that the local pastors would be the best hope for a lasting peace. I had the privilege of leading these pastors in a week of brainstorming where they were unified around the vision of the church being the go-to solution for the water crisis facing their country. A movement was started that I led while serving at Irving Bible. We eventually grew into Water is Basic, a 501c3, which I now run as President.

Being the president of a pastor-birthed indigenous NGO means we are constantly presented with the question, “what does clean water have to do with the gospel?” It’s a joy to remind Christ followers that Christ’s first words in Luke 4 were all about bringing renewal to a broken world. Sin has not only damaged the human heart, but it damaged what was a perfect world, and Christ came to set our hearts and our world free. We are pleased to celebrate the life-giving water flowing from a new well while demonstrating the depth and breadth of God’s love and the love of his people. To see those who live in the most failed nation on earth—who live without so many of the basics of life—to see their eyes and hearts light up as followers of Christ from all over the world sacrificially give so they may have basic water, well, it is this truth and this love that breaks through to broken human beings.

What I do now is rooted in the many dinner conversations and chapel messages I enjoyed at DTS. During chapel I would sit by myself seeking words that would transform my heart. The theme that kept gut-punching me was the simple truth of the gospel and the power we have to show love in a broken world. Often we would host dinners in our home, welcoming wonderful godly men and women from around the world. Their lives of service, courageously confronting systemic sin, well, it was my relationships with these people that are still my fondest memories of our years in seminary. They deeply formed my heart and vision for ministry.

It’s been great to travel the world to seek out injustice and poke a stick in her eye with a great sense of firmness. I believe the years at DTS, studying every book of the Bible, revealed an incredible theme to me; some of which was taught and some absorbed by being immersed in the word. Deeply and thoroughly studying through book after book, God’s deep love for the poor embedded in my mind and heart. Now when someone questions the work of water in saving a sinful world I am not swayed at all. I point to the book and God’s heart revealed on every page. Seminary grounded me so I could fly.