These photos represent the five years that I served as youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church.

These photos represent the five years that I served as youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church.

Our new youth director–Kristi Larson–starts on Monday. I defend my dissertation next Friday. This is a big week that marks the end of a five-year chapter in my life. Grace was in a crisis in 2010. They were desperately looking for a youth director as the fall quickly approached. I was just waking up from my ministry coma and was the part-time director of Adult Spiritual Formation. God used the youth ministry crisis as a way to nudge me back into full-time ministry.

Since then I have been serving as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Youth Ministry and pursuing a PhD at Luther Seminary. It has been a full-throttle existence. Now that is coming to an end.

I reflect on the photos sitting on the bookcase in my office. There are five photos that represent five groups of students who publicly professed and confirmed their faith, and two photos that represent the two summer mission trips I was able to attend. It has been a privilege to serve alongside such a wonderful group of people.

I pray that God will bless Kristi, Tom, and Grace as we move into this next chapter together.

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