Q&A with a Native American pastor

Kirk Massey graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., in 2015 through a joint program of the Apache Christian Training School (ACTS), East Fork, Ariz., and the Pastoral Studies Institute. Over the past 20 years, he and his wife, Sheree, has been involved with the Apache Lutheran Mission, especially in youth and family ministry. Kirk also served as field director, working with leaders in both the southern and northern reservations. Now he is one of two national pastors and two evangelists for the mission. Here he shares his hopes and goals in his new position.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pastor?

A: About ten years ago, one of the retired missionaries serving half time on the field encouraged me to consider becoming a pastor. It took a few years to finally realize that God was calling me to serve his people on the Native American field. It was in 2011 when the talk of becoming a pastor started to resurface, and the director of ACTS approached me with a plan. After praying about it for a while, I was led to take up the challenge.

I wanted to become part of a team and work alongside my brothers and also to be an example to the other Native American brothers and encourage them to take part in the work on the field.

Q: How did you feel when you graduated?

A: I felt happy, grateful, relieved, and humble. I was glad the official studying part was over and happy to get involved in full-time service to the church. I was grateful and humble to be walking through the ceremony on the campus where thousands of others walked after completing their studies.

Q: Where are you serving now? What are your responsibilities?

A: I am serving the whole Native American mission field but working closely with Open Bible Lutheran Church and Shepherd in the Pines Lutheran Church in McNary. . . . I will also teach in the Apache Christian Training School. But the biggest part will be to mentor the men in both congregations and walk and learn with them with the goal of one day getting them into the pastoral or evangelist tract of ACTS. Lord willing, maybe one day in a few years, there will be five to ten men getting ordained and commissioned to serve the churches on both reservations.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to have Apache men serve as pastors/leaders in Apacheland?

A: When the Wisconsin Synod sent missionaries to the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations, they were following Christ’s commission. . . . The Native American men who we will be mentoring and encouraging can take the gospel message to members of the reservations not only here in Arizona, but across the United States. I want my brothers to share in the joy of spreading the gospel to places that need to hear about their Savior.

Q: What opportunities does ACTS provide for Apache students?

A: The opportunity that ACTS offers to the students is the flexibility it has. . . . If a student has a full-time job and is available for only a few hours a week, the program can be delivered in a way to fit the student’s time but also can accomplish the goal of training the student in God’s Word. There are several levels in the ACTS program to train people to become a Bible teacher, evangelist, youth and family counselor, deacon, pastoral assistant, teachers, and pastors.

Currently, there are no men entering the evangelist or pastor tract, but there are many men who attend the classes to strengthen their Bible knowledge of law and gospel and ways to show their faith in Jesus and serve others. It will be an emphasis of the team as we work to move the Apache field forward to identify, mentor, encourage, and train more men and women on the field to become teachers and pastors to carry the name of Jesus to this reservation and to other reservations in the United States.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: Please continue to pray for the Apache field as it reaches inward to the members of the Apache field to strengthen their relationship with Jesus but also as we make plans to take this message to other tribes in America.


Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

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