Interview questions from Pastor David

A couple weeks ago I volunteered to be interviewed by Pastor David at Postings from Prairie Hill.  Below are the questions he posted on his blog followed by my answers to those questions.  But first, the rules for this meme are as follows:
1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by posting 5 questions for you. I get to post the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

Now…here it goes:
(1) You recently celebrated the third anniversary of your ordination. In these three years, what has surprised you most about ordained ministry? What has consistently fed you the most as a pastor?
When I first started here what surprised me the most was how much people cared about my opinion on various matters.  I remember my first council meeting.  Someone asked a question and immediately everyone turned and looked at me.  Time seemed to stand still as I peered into their eyes first wondering, "Why are you looking at me?" and then "Wow…people want to hear what I think".  That was hard to get used to and at times it still surprises me.  I think it is one of those reminders for me of the responsibility I have.  What I say and do matters; people are listening.

What feeds me the most is when I see people respond in service to others.  I am fed when I see the "Sunday school" (Wednesday Night Live) teachers working with the kids and having fun.  I am fed when I see council members get excited about worship and giving to ministeries outside the church.  I am fed when I see people choosing Bible study over something else (i.e. work, meetings).  I am fed when I hear people talk about their faith.

(2)This is your first call. Did you choose SW Minnesota, or did it choose you?
In a way I(we) chose SW MN AND SW MN chose me(us).  Connie and I grew up in the SW MN Synod.  Our hometown is only 2 1/2 hours away (we grew up together with me graduating 3 years ahead of Connie).  For both of us family connections are important so we wanted to stay close. So we requested to stay somewhere within Region 3 (MN, SD and ND) hoping to stay in SW MN.  And SW MN did choose us.  We were willing to go where we were called but thankfully we were called here.  Small town/small congregation life appeals to us even though there are times when a large congregation would be appealing.  But in the end, I would not trade my call to Salem for anything.

(3) What is one book, other than the Bible and Confessions, that you could not live without? And why?
I am going to cheat a little bit here and mention a couple books.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the one theologian I have quoted the most in my ministry with the Cost of Discipleship being the book that has influenced my faith the most.  I had heard the phrase "cheap grace" before but never really understood it.  After reading Bonhoeffer, God’s grace seemed to come alive in me in a new and powerful way.  God’s grace does not give us license to be "lazy" but it should motivate us to action.

A couple other books include: The Evangelizing Church by Richard Bliese and Craig Van Gelder; and A Story Worth Sharing by Kelly Fryer.  Both of these books helped me see evangelism in a new way.  Actually it placed a fire under me; so much so that I am getting involved with my synod’s effort to push evangelism in the Church – something you wouldn’t think you would have to do in the Church.

(4) If you were not a pastor, what you be doing with your life?
This is a hard question to answer.  This is my third career so I have tried others things.  I served as a program director of an ELCA Bible camp and I tried my hand at selling cars (my dad owns a car dealership).  I enjoyed my time at camp, but I burnt myself out.  And I enjoyed selling cars (for a little bit) but found out that I am a bad car salesman.  My dad has a gift…I don’t.  So what would I do if I weren’t a pastor?  Hmmm…this may sound kind of strange, but I could see myself running a Christian coffee house.  I love hanging out at the coffee place downtown doing my "ecumenical ministry".  I also have an accounting degree.  So combined with my passion for ministry, why not use both of those.  Plus…access to great coffee whenever I wanted.  You can’t go wrong with that 🙂

(5) What is one place you have never been, but would like to go?
In 2001, my wife and I were registered and set to go to the Holy Lands as part of my cross cultural education requirement for Luther Seminary (of course she wasn’t required to do cross cultural education but we thought it would be fun to go together).  Our deposit was paid and we were making plans…then 9/11 happened.  A month later our trip was canceled and the deposit was returned.  So my answer here (obviously) is the Holy Lands.  To walk in the areas where Christ and his disciples walked and lived would be a powerful experience.  To see first hand the area where some of the major events of our faith took place I think would draw me closer to the stories.  You can see and hear stories about mountains, but when you experience them first hand your perspective changes.  But my faith won’t be "incomplete" if I never get there.

And to steal Diane’s bonus question: what is one question you would like someone to ask you?
This is also a good question and I hope I have a good question for my answer. My question (for myself) is this: What is the most important lesson you learned from your parents? I ask this because I feel it is important for our lives as followers of Christ.  The lesson I learned came from my dad when I moved home in 1997 to work for him.  On my first day of work he said, "You treat every person who walks through that door as if they were Jesus (and I am not talking about crucifying him even though that is often how we treat people).  I will never forget that.  After all, isn’t that how each of us is suppose to treat everyone.  Imagine if the whole world followed my dad’s advice.  Hmmm…

Well…that’s it.  Thanks, Pastor David, for the thought provoking questions.  It was fun to ponder them again.  If anyone else out there would like to be interviewed, let me know.  I have enjoyed getting to know people through this meme.  Take care and God bless!


8 thoughts on “Interview questions from Pastor David

  1. I had a similar experience with a trip to the Holy Lands, only years earlier. I was in Isreal when we got turned around. Made it as far as the port of Ashdod. Ah…so close and yet so far.

  2. thanks for your thoughtful responses to my questions. I especially enjoyed your thoughts on #1 — and agree that the lesson of your Dad is a very important one, that more people could stand to learn.

  3. Joe – You’re right…this is fun. I will work on some questions for you as well.

    My dad is wise. I wish you all could meet him. Maybe I should post an interview of him. Hmmm…maybe I will work on that.

Comments are closed.