Bruce Rocke and his wife, Diane
by Zebadiah Demorest, Publications and Promotions Coordinator
“Question thirteen will be a regular question. Question: Who was in the city of Joppa…”
A buzzer interrupts Bruce Rocke g79, and a teen walks up to the microphone.
It’s the final Bible quiz match of the day, and Bruce, as always, is taking on his role as quizmaster.
“Who was in the city of Joppa praying? Peter?”
There is a slight pause. Bruce flips through the passage in Acts 11 and whispers to the timer sitting to his right.
“That is correct,” he says into the microphone, a small smile escaping him.
Bruce Rocke came to Fort Wayne Bible College in 1975. He first heard about the college through his sister, Laura (Rocke) Sailor fs70, who attended the college and was involved in the singing group The Singing Collegians. She came, with the group, to perform at his home church in Illinois. Inspired by the group and knowing that FWBC was one of the top choices for a Bible college in his denomination, he decided to attend.
At the college, Bruce became heavily involved in the campus culture. He had leadership opportunities and class offices; he was a student advisor for a year; and he joined the traveling singing group, Kindred. But his favorite memory from campus was meeting his wife, Dianne.
Bruce met Dianne in his junior year. Though she was a freshman, she started late so there was only a year age gap between them. He knew her a bit through various campus activities but did not think about a deeper relationship at that point.
“Some friends and I thought we were getting tired of dating and were going to become monks,” Bruce said.
Then, his roommate got a date with his dream girl. But there was a condition: she would only go if they doubled. So, Bruce went to the library in search of a date. He found Dianne, asked her out, and they have been together ever since! They will celebrate 44 years of marriage in June.
“I’m glad she was the one at the table when I was desperately looking for a date,” Bruce said.
While meeting Dianne was the highlight of Bruce’s time at FWBC, he also expressed deep gratitude for the learning environment. He was exposed, through Dr. Wes Gerig g51, to systematic theology and a deeper understanding of scripture. Through Professor Arlan Birkey g64, he learned that maybe he wasn’t the most skilled at languages, but he was given the tools to use utilize Greek as he studied scripture—a skill he still uses today. And, at FWBC, Bruce took his first preaching class during his senior year, in which he gradually discovered that perhaps preaching was a skill the Lord had gifted him.
After graduation, Bruce decided to attend Asbury Seminary, further exploring opportunities as a pastor. He graduated from Asbury and spent 4 years as an associate pastor in Morton, IL, followed by 8 years at another church in Bloomington, IL. For 25 years, he served at Groveland Bible Church in Groveland, IL, before accepting a job at Berne Evangelical Church three years ago.
“We came from enjoyable ministries but hard ministries prior to Berne,” Bruce said. “I just really enjoy what I am doing there. I am thankful the Lord brought us there.”
Through most of his ministry career, Bruce has been involved with the Bible quizzing program of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches denomination. Bruce first became involved with Bible quizzing when he was in 7th grade—a passion he followed through his high school years. In 1995 Bruce was asked to become the director of the quizzing program and has been serving in that role ever since.
“I love how Bible quizzing plays such an important role in teenagers studying and memorizing the word of God,” Bruce said. “I count it a high privilege to invest some of my life in this program.”
But his favorite memory from Bible quizzing is watching his own children participate and excel in the program.
In the interview, Bruce told me that his years at FWBC were some of the best years of his life. It’s where he found his calling, met friends that he still holds connections with today (even in Berne!), and met his wife.
“I couldn’t ask for more than what I got from FWBC.”