2015 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll
Washington High School, 1977
Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Chelsea Elementary, Central Elementary, Park Elementary, Central Junior High, Eisenhower Junior High.
Rev. Rick Behrens thinks that amazing gifts come with change. He has seen this first-hand. Behrens is senior pastor at Grandview Park Presbyterian Church. He has spent more than 32 years there, beginning as an intern. He is proud to have been a part of a total transformation that has happened in the church neighborhood over the past 10 years. When businesses and churches in the area were closing their doors, he decided to stay. He believed that God put him there for a reason.
Today, the once blighted area is a true neighborhood serving first-generation immigrant families. He helped found the community organization Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation to help these families.
In high school and even early in his college years, Behrens had no desire to be a minister. In fact, he majored in theater and voice at Ottawa University. As he was working on his master’s in theater at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he became interested in learning more about his faith. So he dual enrolled at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. He took an internship at Grandview Park and has been there ever since.
Many experiences impacted his life when he was growing up in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. He remembers writing to a pen pal in elementary school, and being intrigued when his junior high history teacher dressed in costume to enhance the lesson. He is thankful for his exposure to the arts and humanities during high school.
Behrens believes that you really don’t belong to a community unless you are serving it. So he continues to be involved in a number of community organizations including the Presbyterian Urban and Immigrant Ministry Network and the Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board. In 2001, he co-chaired the Citizens for Quality Education Committee, which successfully helped to promote the passage of a bond issue for the KCK Public Schools to provide air conditioning, building upgrades and technology improvements.
“If you’re going to be a part of transformation and change, you have to get involved and work for things,” he said.
His advice for today’s students is, “don’t be afraid to try something new. If it doesn’t work, don’t see it as a failure. Learn from it.”