I was blessed to grow up in a pastor’s family. As a result, I heard about my need for Jesus at an early age and made a commitment to him as a young boy. Following my decision, my parents and church nurtured my faith through family devotions, Sunday School classes, summer camp, youth group and more. I was so blessed.
That doesn’t mean, though, that I always lived my life for Jesus. During my early teenage years I fell in love with basketball. I practiced all the time and went to summer basketball camps. I attended a high school with a great basketball tradition. During those years I believed in Jesus but I didn’t really live for him. I lived for my dream of playing basketball. During my senior year in high school our team began the year ranked #1 in the state. I was living my dream. Then, we lost a few games and I didn’t play well. I lost confidence. Towards the end of that disappointing season I realized I needed to fully surrender my life – my dreams, my goals, my plans to Jesus Christ. I did so. It was the best decision of my life.
Following graduation I went to Bethel College to get an education and continue playing basketball. Bethel nurtured my faith and gave me life – long friendships. It’s also where my basketball days came to an end during my junior year. Amazingly, though, God opened up an opportunity for me to use my love for basketball when I was recruited by a friend to be a volunteer on the Senior High Youth Staff at Wooddale Church. The youth group had some guys who loved hoops and they wanted someone to hang out with them. It was a perfect fit. Looking back, I had one skill in my life at the time – I could “ball.” And, God took that one skill I had and put me in a ministry where that skill was needed. I learned that God uses whatever we offer up to him.
My role as a youth group volunteer soon expanded to teaching Sunday School to the rest of the Senior High students. That led to an internship position, going to seminary and becoming the Senior High Pastor at Wooddale. I learned that when we keep saying “yes” to God he leads us, grows us and uses us to help others.
During the early days of being a youth pastor Kris and I married. After six years of marriage we had three great kids, Kara, Megan and Cooper. Then, after 10 years of youth ministry God moved me into a new role at Wooddale as Discipleship Pastor. It’s a role I loved for the next 15 years until God powerfully and clearly moved our family from Wooddale to Northwood. Now, I like to tell people I love being pastor of Northwood Church. Northwood is a church with a good heart – a heart for God and for people. I’m blessed by God to be her pastor.