International (MNN) — After 12 years of service, Bethany Christian Services’ Bill Blacquiere has stepped down from the role of President and CEO. Now, after choosing one out of the 50 candidates who applied for the position, Bethany has hired the organization’s fifth president: Chris Palusky.
“I’ve known about Bethany and I’m excited to even have the opportunity to talk about Bethany. When they were going through the recruitments– it’s one of the largest social service organizations in the world and they help a lot of kids, so I was excited to have that conversation,” Palusky says.
A Passion to Serve
Palusky has served in ministry for 20 years with a focus on international relief and development. He has worked with World Relief and as World Vision’s US Vice President of Private Funding and Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs. His work has taken him all over the globe, including Asia, Latin America, and the Balkans.
Palusky has a driving passion to serve at-risk children, which is one of the reasons he was drawn to work with Bethany.
“Bethany is also focused on the well-being of children in the U.S. and across the globe,” he says. “Even more pivotal to that, there’s a lot of organizations out there that work with kids for the well-being of children, but faith – faith is also very important to me. And Bethany has a tradition of leaders and an organization that faith is the foundation of it.”
Palusky is excited to be on board with more than 1,500 staff members full of faith in what God can do with a vision to serve vulnerable children and families.
Palusky says faith is simply part of who the organization is, which is imperative in the challenges ahead.
A Firm Foundation
As Palusky moves forward, he knows the world has changed significantly in recent years, shaping the work Bethany does.
Refugee crises and conflicts have broken families and endangered children all over the world. And in the U.S., where Bethany works in 40 states, Palusky has seen that “more and more children are in need of foster care.”
Since Bethany helps with local and international foster care and adoption as well as refugee resettlement, there’s a lot of work ahead. But Palusky says Bethany has a firm foundation that turns these challenges into opportunities to serve vulnerable families and children around the globe and in the U.S.
“It’s an opportunity because Bethany has, again, a strong history, [and has] been around for 75 years doing social services,” he says. “And we have very professional staff. So, I think that we’ve got a good reputation, and we know what the challenges are… [but] we’ve got a wonderful team of people that know the business and know what needs to be done.”
Short and Long Term Goals for Bethany
In the next few weeks, Palusky will have the opportunity to meet even more staff members. He will be traveling to Bethany offices in Ethiopia, California, and Georgia. His near-term goal is to learn more about Bethany, to understand where the ministry is at, and who the staff and partners are.
“I don’t want to come in with some preconceived ideas of ‘this is Bethany’,” Palusky says. “I want to learn Bethany. I want to get the flavor of Bethany within myself so I can better understand that.”
Looking at how widely Bethany has touched lives over the last 75 years, Palusky’s long-term goal is to cast a vision for what the next 75 years could look like and what the ministry hopes to accomplish.
Please, pray for wisdom and guidance for Palusky as he takes on this new role. Pray that the ministry will continue going to great lengths to serve the world’s most vulnerable and to minister and encourage the broken.
“I believe that God has put us all here for a purpose, and I have faith that God is good and God is using ministries like Bethany to reach the world’s most vulnerable.
“So, again, it could be in a place like Ethiopia, working with South Sudanese refugees, or it could be in southern L.A. working with kids that have been through a really difficult time. But I have faith that God is guiding us. I have faith that God is with us, and I have faith that God is working a way out for our vision and our future.”