by Greg West
I recently heard that my friend, Rick Schenker, at the young age of 59, went to be with our Lord in early August. Rick had been suffering from Leukemia for some time. I remember when I first met Rick in person. I was not yet affiliated with Ratio Christi, but Rick and I had met via social media and he reached out to me to let me know that he was going to be passing through town on a fund raising campaign and that he would like to meet face to face. We had breakfast at a local diner just a few blocks from my house and after spending just a few minutes with Rick, I felt that I was talking to an old friend, even though it was the first time we had met in person. We talked for well over an hour about our shared passion for apologetics and evangelism, but had to cut it short due to Rick’s upcoming fund raising appointment.
For those of you who might not be aware, Rick Schenker was the first president and CEO of Ratio Christi. Under his leadership, RC went from a fledgling ministry that had a presence on 10 college campuses to a full-blown thriving non-profit campus ministry on over 100 campuses.
It would be a couple more years before Rick, along with Ratio Christi COO, Blake Anderson, would bring me and The Poached Egg into a partnership with Ratio Christi. In 2013, Rick drove to my town of Springfield, Mo. from his home in Pennsylvania to be the keynote speaker at a fundraising event that kicked of the official partnership between RC and TPE. Rick was a tireless fund raiser and was never shy (like I am) about asking people to pull out their check books, and they did. About a year later Rick was instrumental in bringing me on board the RC National Team full-time where I have been serving since, along with maintaining and running TPE. Rick resigned from RC in 2014 to pursue other opportunities, but not before making sure that RC was a force to be reckoned with in campus student discipleship, evangelism, and apologetics ministry.
Over the years I would run into Rick at apologetics conferences and RC events. I remember being at one event where I was on a very tight budget and was worried that I didn’t have enough left in my bank account to check my baggage for the flight home. Rick must have overheard me telling someone about it because when I checked out of the hotel the next morning, he had left an envelope at the counter with enough cash to check my bags and enough left over for meals at the airport during a long layover.
This was the kind of man Rick was. The kind of person who always put others first. We often talked on the phone and he was always concerned about how I was doing. Rick was the kind of guy you could call anytime day or night about anything. I was very sorry to see him leave RC, but we kept in touch and our friendship continued.
I had just talked to him about a month ago on the phone and he was more focused on what I was going through and not anything he was going through, even though I inquired about his ongoing battle with cancer. I cannot think of anyone who has been a greater source of encouragement to me both personally and as a partner in ministry. I can say without a doubt that I would not be in full-time ministry today if it were not for Rick, and I strongly suspect there are many others who could say the same. Rick has left an incredible impact and legacy for the Kingdom that will likely never be fully known until Kingdom come. My prayers go out to his family whom I'm honored to have met but all to briefly. Rick's enthusiasm for evangelism and apologetics ministry was infectious, and his compassion and concern for others puts me to shame. Thank you for your life, Rick, I miss you so much already. I'll see you over there...
Read more about my friend, Rick’s legacy: