On Friday, June 14, Prairie College was host to a joint celebration commemorating the common roots and mission of the school and TeachBeyond. TeachBeyond was originally known as Janz Team Ministries whose founders were all graduates and/or staff members of PBI during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Brothers Leo, Hildor and Adolph Janz, along with Cornie Enns and pianist Harding Braaten were members of the Janz Quartet who were featured regularly on Prairie’s radio broadcasts, and who traveled widely with school president L. E. Maxwell on his preaching tours across North America. In 1951 the quartet was invited by Youth For Christ to hold six weeks of evangelistic meetings in southwestern Germany. The enthusiastic response of the German people led to the formation of what eventually became known as the Janz Team (JT), an evangelistic mission founded by the quartet who spent the next three decades (1956 – 1985) holding evangelistic meetings throughout German-speaking Europe, Brazil and across Canada as well.
Janz Team also founded Black Forest Academy (BFA), which grew into an international Christian school for children from missionary families serving in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. As interest in mass evangelism began to wain, a rapidly growing new interest in Christian education made BFA’s services and acquired expertise in this area increasingly in demand.
In 2009 the mission was renamed TeachBeyond (TB) and devoted its evangelistic energies into a family of ministries known as Transformational Educational Services. For 10 years this new direction was developed and led by its President, George Durance (Prairie, class of 73) , who stepped aside in the spring of 2019 to make way for the new President, his son David Durance.
As a way of celebrating the history of the mission and its strong connection over the years to Prairie, and anticipating an ongoing fruitful partnership in the future under new leadership, TeachBeyond and Prairie’s senior leadership and key supporters, both past and present, spent the day on Prairie’s campus. It was a day to remember the good things God had done through the partnership of the school and mission to date (over 60 Prairie staff and alumni have served with TB/JT for varying periods), and to look ahead to the opportunities for future joint ventures.