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Steven & Racheal McKnight Surprise, AZ

February 20, 2018 | Mikayla Heldt

Packing up and moving to another state for ministry after serving on staff at a church for over a decade can be a hard adjustment. However, Steven and Racheal McKnight were able to transition seamlessly from Texas to Surprise, Arizona, with the help of a few familiar faces from home.

Steven and Racheal currently serve on staff at Radiant Church with Steven as the Student & Young Adult Director and Racheal as the Student & Young Adult Coordinator. They transitioned into this role about 3 ½ years ago after serving for 10 years at their previous church.

“We had known for about the last 12 months of that time that God was preparing us for transition,” Steven says. “We didn’t know what it was.”

After continued prayer and faithfulness, the right door opened for Steven and Racheal to step into their current roles at Radiant Church. With the uncertainty that often accompanies transition, Steven and Racheal were blessed and continue to be blessed with the opportunity to work with trusted friends. Currently, their entire youth and young adult staff is completely made up of Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumni. Three team members were SAGU students that also served as young adults at the McKnights’ previous church. The last member, a SAGU alumnus and Arizona native, arrived a couple years later to complete the team.

Steven and Racheal both graduated from SAGU; Steven graduated with a degree in Church Ministries in 2012, and Racheal obtained her degree in Secondary Education, with a specialization in English, in 2011.

When asked what led so many alumni to serve at Radiant Church, Steven explained that during his time as a youth pastor in Texas, he and Racheal would take the students to as many SAGU campus days and district events as possible.

“SAGU was part of our culture and conversation,” he says. “We not only encouraged students to attend SAGU but there was no other place we would recommend when students felt a call to full-time ministry.”

Steven says that pastoring and now serving in ministry with these former students continues to be a blessing. The six are able to work closely together and relate to each other’s SAGU experiences.

“It really has been like serving with family,” he says.

The McKnights credit a major part of their preparation for ministerial careers to SAGU’s biblical worldview and quality of instruction.

“The influence in Biblical, ministerial and leadership instruction is pervasive,” Steven says.

As Steven continues in his ministerial endeavors, he encourages college students pursuing a career in ministry to become involved with a hands-on ministry that allows them to put the skills that they obtained from their coursework to use.

“I would encourage students to become involved in practical ministry, serving in the area they feel like God is calling them and to really practice personal spiritual disciples so that they are continuing to grow in their walk with God, seeking the Lord for His will and direction.”

To learn more about Radiant Church, click here .

To learn more about SAGU’s Church Ministry degrees, click here .

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at

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