Kristine Berndt ’83 Heeren
Kristine Berndt ’83 Heeren went to her heavenly home on January 13, 2017 at the age of 54. In November of 2013, Kris was diagnosed with colon cancer. She valiantly lived the following three years through multiple treatment and surgeries. In December 2016 she moved into the Avera Dougherty Hospice House.
Kris was born May 23, 1962 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Judith (Stewart) Berndt and Herbert Berndt. Growing up, her time was spent in Rochester, New York with her older twin siblings, Julie and Jeff. Amongst their family’s adventures, Kris enjoyed living in Switzerland, traveling through Europe and spending summers at Bonnechere Baptist Camp in Northern Ontario.
She dedicated her life to the Lord and was baptized at age ten at Latta Road Baptist Church in Rochester, New York. Kris completed her high school education a year early from Greece Arcadia High School. Her free time was spent doing crafts, sewing and playing the flute. She continued her education, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Elementary Education with a minor in Music from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
In 1983, she spent a year traveling throughout the US and Canada with the NAB New Day Ministry. She served on the Discipleship team where she led seminars on outreach and evangelism. This is also where she met her future husband, Clayton, who was on the music team. This led her to South Dakota where she taught for two years as a 6 th grade teacher at Dell Rapids Elementary School.
In 1986, is she began her Master’s degree in Christian Education at Sioux Falls Seminary. Kris and Clayton were married on August 20, 1988 at Trinity Baptist in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 1989 they welcomed their first child, Chelsea, followed by Micah in 1991 and their “bonus” child, Savannah in 2000. Kris began her ministry serving at Central Baptist Church in Sioux Falls as the Director of Children’s Ministries.
Over sixteen years at Central she took on many roles including Director of Children’s Ministries, Pastor of Administration and Education as well as Executive Pastor. She then stepped into the role of Vice President of Operations at VantagePoint3 where her passion for teaching and mentoring continued for six years.
Kris joined the Good News Church ministry staff in 2010 where she believed that having a sense of belonging is key if people are going to become fully engaged in the church and committed to their own spiritual growth. At the heart of Kris’ ministry was discipleship, teaching and mentoring. Her favorite part was helping people discover how God could work in their lives and challenging them to serve him in their own unique way.
Kris was preceded in death by her mother, Judith in 1969 and her father, Herbert in 2016. She is survived by her husband Clayton, daughter Chelsea Redinger (Michael), son Micah (Anna Bartscher) and daughter Savannah; one granddaughter Ellis; brother Jeff Berndt and sister Julie Berndt; several extended family members, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.