1) When did you feel the call into ministry?
I asked Jesus into my life when I was about five years old; shortly after that I heard the call to ministry. My first exposure to the idea was at my grandmother’s Mennonite church: A man with Gideons International shared about placing Bibles in Germany. Around the age of six, I would answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “A missionary!” Since then, I have always loved hearing from missionaries and going on mission trips. While at Alaska Christian College in 2002, I was challenged to shift my call from missionary to preacher. I haven’t looked back since that time.
2) Why Bethel?
God brought our family to serve in Bethel after 14 years of vocational youth ministry in Alaska. In my time serving with Covenant Youth of Alaska, I visited Bethel a number of times and never even considered for a second that God would call me here. I always thought I would be a pastor in a small village (400 people or less). But God knew better. As my family and I were prayerfully considering what God had next for us, we asked God to bring us to a place that could help change the culture of Western Alaska churches from having a consumer culture to a discipleship culture. When I came to candidate in Bethel I was immediately drawn to the small group ministries already in place – BECC is a church of small groups. Additionally, God used the desire of the church in “Being a Light to the Delta” (reaching out to the smaller villages) to confirm to us that Bethel is clearly where God wants us to be. And we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
3) What has helped shape you in ministry (think education or experiences)?
Arvada Covenant Church (my home church during high school):
- Their emphasis on God’s global mission
- Opened my eyes to the amazing ways God is working throughout the world and how He invites us to join Him in what He is doing!
Alaska Christian College (’02):
- I read through the entire Bible for the first time.
- Received Biblical counseling for some of the hurts in my life.
North Park University (BA in Youth Ministry ’04)
North Park Theological Seminary (M.Div. ’12)
- Prerequisites for being ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church to Word and Sacrament in 2015.
- One of my favorite authors and speakers.
- His “boots on the ground” theology has challenged me to take a closer look at how everyone in the Church is called to disciple and serve.
4) Passage that you think applies to your current role in ministry or guides you as you move forward in this ministry?
Matthew 5:13-16 is my life ministry passage. We are called to be salt and Light for a purpose – so that others may glorify God in Heaven. Through the Holy Spirit, we are called to share the Gospel hope of Jesus Christ with a lost and hurting world.
5) What helps you the most in your relationship to the Lord?
My wife and family teach me constantly about God’s character and challenge me to be more Christlike. Being in a real community with people, where we see each others’ faults and flaws, we have a real opportunity to forgive and love that way God intends us to. When I am in genuine community with other Jesus Followers, I am usually strong in my walk with the Lord. When I am neglecting to meet together with other Believers, sin and the enemy can cloud my thinking and I have to repent and get back into deeper Christian community with my spiritual family. Christian community prompts me to dive more into God’s Word daily and to rely more upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
6) Specific areas of ministry that you oversee in the church?
As the Senior Pastor I try to have my finger on the pulse of all of our ministries and try to encourage and equip our congregation to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Preaching and teaching ministries
- Celebrate Recovery
- Bethel Winter House (homeless ministries)
- Quyana Café
- substitute leading Men’s Bible Study
- occasionally leading Family Bible Study on Sunday nights.
Favorite book of the Bible? … The Gospel of John – but I love them all!
Favorite book outside of the Bible? … End of the Spear by Steve Saint
Favorite board game? … Tough one. Settlers of Catan, Risk, or Ticket to Ride, depending on the company.
Favorite church activity? … Potlucks!!!!!!!
How many states visited? … 31
Job description in 10 words or less: … Encouraging, equipping, empowering the Church to fulfill the Great Commission.