Meet our Summer Teachers: Laurie Besonen

Laurie Besonen, Executive Director, Village Schools of the Bible

Tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in a small town in Southern New Mexico, whose geography is as diverse as its population. The air is dry, and the summers are hot! But the sunsets, because of the heavy concentration of dust, are remarkably vibrant.

For college, I attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and graduated with a BA in Speech Communication. Truth be told, I spent almost as much time involved in Cru (then Campus Crusade for Christ) as I did concentrating on my studies. It was through my involvement with Cru that I learned to study the Bible and to depend on the Holy Spirit to direct my life. As I grew more confident in the God of the Bible, my heart to share Him with others also grew. I learned to share my faith, lead Bible studies and disciple fellow students.

After graduation, I joined Cru staff with the campus ministry. My first assignment was the University of Minnesota, whose student enrollment was twice as large as my hometown. After three years serving at the U. of M, I co-led the ministry at the University of Iowa. Seven years later, I moved to Indiana to become a Regional Director over four states. Eventually, I led nationally on the Executive Team for the campus ministry in leadership development.

A significant place of spiritual development for me was Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, where I earned a Master of Divinity. It was during these years that I also coached New Staff in Cru who were taking their first class in Bible Study Methods. It was rewarding helping others know and love God’s Word!

My husband, Ron and I married in 2007 and adopted our son John from China in 2010. While we lived in Colorado Springs, I directed a national leadership development program for Cru. After completing 33 years with Cru, I had the privilege of working with The Navigators for three years. The Navigators headquarters are in Colorado Springs and my responsibilities included establishing a new department focused on serving Navigator staff training, development, and soul care.

Why are you passionate about teaching the Word?

God’s Word has been my constant companion since I began walking with the Lord in college. I have clung to the promises of God when facing sorrow, criticism, self-doubt, and fear. God has used His word to fill me with hope, love, forgiveness, and joy! These facts have compelled me to share His Word with others who want to grow in their faith.

What I love about teaching the Word is seeing faith ignited in those who have ears to hear! When people take God at His word, they experience His power and faithfulness. Following God’s commands is not the easiest way, but “in keeping them, there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11).

Who or what inspired your career path?

My career path wasn’t intentionally a path. Rather, it has been ongoing invitations from the Lord to trust Him with a new assignment. I have had godly mentors and role models to follow who have helped me along the way. Looking back, I see how God prepared me for the next opportunity. While I haven’t always felt adequate for increased leadership, I view my calling to be a witness that God is more than enough.

What motivated you to choose Psalms to teach this summer?

The book of Psalms is rich in Jewish culture. It comprises communal Psalms, which reveal the victories and defeats of the God’s people, and personal Psalms, which express emotions ranging from deep grief to elation. It was Jesus’ prayer book, used as a hymn book for worship.

And true to Village Schools’ approach to scripture, the Psalms have an important contribution to the Scarlet Thread of Redemption. Matthew Henry writes of the Psalms,” We have now before us one of the choicest parts of the Old Testament, wherein there is so much of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that it has been called the summary of both Testaments.”

In addition, the Psalms teach us how to complain to God (lament). We observe that our raw honesty is not off-putting to God. He knows our doubts and our accusations that His timing is too slow, or that His protection feels inadequate. The book proves God can meet us in our despair and infuse faith into our hopelessness.

It also teaches us to praise God! Reading the Psalms reminds us of God’s character. The psalmist compares His protection to a fortress, shield, and a refuge. We are told that God’s faithfulness continues to all generations and endures forever.

One of the primary reasons that I am teaching the Psalms this summer is how much they have shaped my walk with the Lord. I agree with N. T. Wright, who wrote about the Psalms, “Sing these songs, and they will renew you from head to toe, from heart to mind. Pray these poems, and they will sustain you on the long, hard but exhilarating road of Christian discipleship.” 

What challenges do you see in current culture that knowing God’s Word can address?

Psalms 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise” (NIV). To be wise in this age, we need to know and obey God’s Word. Jesus modeled that this world was not his home and Paul reinforces this using tent imagery (2 Cor. 5:1-2). This implies that living God’s word means choosing not to live culture values that conflict with His love and holiness.

For example, as believers, we need to live out our unity in Christ. The “cancel culture” mentality has affected the Church at large. Congregations have become deeply divided because of Covid protocols. We have chosen political loyalties over living out our calling to be one body in love with Christ and each other.  Loving each other amid our differences is a powerful witness in our culture.

What would you say is the most important thing for Christians to know about the Bible?

The Bible is not just another good book; it has power. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

Meet our Summer Teachers: Laurie Besonen

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