I was born in Gettysburg, SD, in kindergarten we moved to Sioux Falls, SD, and the summer after 4th grade we moved to Davis, SD where I finished school by going to Hurley High School in nearby Hurley, SD. I was number 4 of 6 not always well-behaved boys, some would say rarely behaved, but I didn’t ask mom and dad. I enjoyed football in high school, mostly because it was a place where I could take out my aggressions without being in trouble. As it turned out, I wasn’t terrible at it and enjoyed it greatly. I followed that up with a diploma in carpentry at Northwest Iowa Technical College, in Sheldon, Iowa. It was nice that they named the town for me, in preparation of my going there for a year. It was quite the honor, even if it was only in my head, and I would let people know it all the time. Eventually, I moved to Sioux Falls because that’s where the work was, and even in 1987 it was too big with it’s 45,000 or 55,000 people, for this small-town boy.
My family (not just our home) has a history of alcohol issues, I became another member of that club. My upbringing saw me in church on Sundays, I even was confirmed at the appropriate time. But, I would never know my Lord and Savior until well into adulthood. In fact, I walked away from “the church” for a period of time, tried returning when I met my bride and even for a while after we were married, before walking away from the hypocrisy again. In 2005, my marriage and my soul were saved, when my eldest daughter asked my bride and I to join her and her new husband at a “Weekend To Remember” marriage getaway. After that getaway, and some heart work by God’s hand, I entered Celebrate Community Churches doors in Sioux Falls. And God did some major reconstruction of my heart over the next few years.
I struggled still with alcohol, yet that desire was removed from me, when I gave my everything to God. I wrestled and fought with God for two years, asking over and over again, “What do you want me to do?” Because I knew that I wasn’t doing what God ultimately wanted me to do. And He responded every time with, “I want you to do more for My church.” So, I started volunteering for everything I could, and my bride walked with me in serving. We started leading a Life Group (Bible study), we started serving on any team we were asked to, starting as greeters out front, helped with Next Steps (Connecting with New Believers), marriage mentoring (because changed marriages, can change marriages), baptism, whatever. In the fall of 2015, I was changed way more and forever! Twice within two weeks I laughed at friends for suggesting I go into seminary. Then, I had an ugly Thursday at the plant I was working for and shouted (yep shouted) at God, “This isn’t what You want me to do, so tell me what I’m supposed to be doing!!” God responded, “I want you to do more for My church.” And I couldn’t believe it and said loudly, “Really!!” Then I calmed some and through tears said, “God, I don’t hear so good apparently, so please give me a ‘Gibb’s slap’!! (Google it from NCIS, think, a wake-up call that consists of a slap to the back of the head.) So, I will know that it’s from you.” On Sunday, our congregation was asked to “please stand up if God is asking you to do more for His church.” I’m not always the quickest guy in town, but this one was pretty obvious, so I stood up.
This was the start of a Journey to become the pastor at Celebrate Community Church of Canton. I came to assist Pastor Brian Loy, as he planted this church on Nov. 18, 2016, and he was going to mentor me until I went to plant another church. When Pastor Brian left to serve a church in another state, I was asked to pastor here. I wasn’t licensed and was totally under-qualified according to my human standards, but I trusted what I know God was asking me to do. So, after many affirmations I became pastor of God’s church here in Canton, on December 1st, 2017. God continues to guide me to raise up leaders in His Kingdom, to lead other congregations yet to be formed by God’s hand in this world. I pray continually for God’s hand to find the back of my head, and guide me in the direction He desires myself and His Bride in the world that He has me in.
Wherever you are in your relationship with God, He can use you and develop you. Never give up on you, and never doubt what God is asking you to do. Be diligent to take the steps God lays before you, and trust that God has a plan. Even if you can’t see His plan, continue to take whatever steps are placed on the path before you! He is asking you to do something. Are you willing to trust God and take that step, the one directly in front of you, and allow Him to lead you?