For this little “bio,” I just want to express my deep gratitude for being appointed as an Elder at Connect Church. I am honored and full of joy to be returning to an official leadership role in a local church, and I look forward to serving you all as God grants me this opportunity among this family of believers.
Serving in a leadership role in a local church has been a dream of mine since I was in my early teens. I loved going to church from a very young age, at a time when Children’s church was not an option, so I would sit quietly with the book on my lap – not the Bible, which was rarely referenced in the Methodist Church where I grew up. Instead, it was the hymnal. I was drawn to the music of the church, and by the time I headed off to college, I had decided to major in music and minor in religion, figuring that I would be a Minister of Music at a large church.
But things changed a bit when, in my senior year, I met a bright, beautiful and confident Freshman who helped me discover my true calling: to focus on the Word of God and leave the music to the musicians. (Even so, my love for both worship and the Word continues to be strong cornerstones of my ecclesiology, as they merge in the Reformational idea of the “Regulative Principle.” Feel free to ask me for more if you wish.)
Cherie and I were married in Michigan in 1977, and a year later moved to Florida where we connected with a new church plant led by a Gospel-preaching former Methodist; it seemed like an obvious fit, and it was. After eight years under his leadership, and teaching adult classes for three of those years, we moved to Minnesota with our two little ones to attend Bethel Theological Seminary together, completing our degrees in 1992. Just one week before graduation, I received a call to preach at Bethel Baptist Church in Kerkhoven, Minnesota, and ministered there for nine years. While there, God gave me a heart for missions, which led to a position with ACMC, a missions mobilization network, first as an area director, and later as a lecturer. That organization folded in 2006 under the recession of 2005. Since then, I have been helping missionaries and humanitarian travelers “go from where they are to where God calls them to be” through a specialized travel agency called “MKI Group Travel.”