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When it comes to writing his devotions, FIC’s newest contributing editor, Joel Seifert, just wants to get out of the way.
“I want to make sure I study a section of God’s Word and see what wonderful things there are for us to think about and to find comfort in, and then I want to see how I can best get out of the way and let the Word that brought all the comfort and strength to me do the same for someone else,” he says.
Growing up in a called worker’s family—his dad is the district president of the Michigan District and his mom is a Lutheran elementary school teacher—Seifert decided early on to become a pastor. He says that he was bolstered in that decision after his first year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, when he emergency taught for a year at Arizona Lutheran Academy in Phoenix. “I received a wider view of the world and came into contact with more people than I ever had before who didn’t grow up with the gospel and who didn’t grow up knowing what God says or what he’s done,” says Seifert. “Seeing that need and seeing their reaction to hearing the gospel was a big encouragement.”
After his graduation in 2005, Seifert served for five years at Calvary, Thiensville, Wis., a large congregation near the seminary. In 2010, he took a call to Shining Mountains, a congregation of 110 people in Bozeman, Mont.
The contrast between the two ministries was noticeable. “But that was part of the reason to go out there,” says Seifert. “Here’s a little group of Christians who don’t have the big infrastructure or all the material blessings, but they have the same Word and the same love for it. . . . Sometimes you miss the wealth of resources and the large number of people and the huge ministry team, and sometimes it just makes your cherish all the more sitting around a table with three or four people to plan ministry and then coming together with the congregation to talk about how we can proclaim God’s Word and help take God’s kingdom forward.”
The congregation is growing. Currently meeting in a school cafeteria, the congregation is in the midst of a building project and prays it will be in its new building by the spring of 2016.
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Volume 103, Number 02
Issue: February 2016
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