Pastors with a desire to “energize” their churches gathered September 6 at Maranatha—a great place to find energy sources.
Many new pastors, and at least one new church, came to campus for Ministry Recruitment Day. The annual event helps pair students looking for local church ministry with churches looking for workers.
“Bringing in students is a good way to add energy to your church,” said Jeremy Horneck (’07), who became pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Sheboygan Falls two months ago. “I am the youngest member of my church by 15 years, so youthful energy would be a good thing.
“The experiences I had in my extension church while I was a student were a huge factor in my going into the ministry. So, while we could use the help, my ultimate purpose is to help prepare the students for ministry. I want that to be the focus.”
Leadership was Doug Richards’ focus during his 10 years as Maranatha’s Dean of Students. Richards (’88) said that will also be the focus of his work with college students at Waukesha’s Faith Baptist Church, where he is now senior pastor.
“We have a good group of young people, and we want some good college kids to encourage and mentor them,” Richards said. “Our church is growing and people are excited. We hope the students buy into that and bring their friends too.”
Chad Prigge, who became pastor of Watertown’s Fellowship Baptist Church on Aug. 12, agreed that he was also on campus to recruit students for “energy-intensive” ministries.
“Their enthusiasm helps contribute to a vibrant church spirit,” Prigge said. “The students will help us, especially in our music and youth ministries, I expect they’ll play a critical role in the growth of our church.”
Many of the students looking for a church home were freshmen, including Olivia Doerstling from Lantana, TX.
“I’m from a bigger church, so I’m looking for a smaller church where I can be really involved in kids’ ministries,” Doerstling said. “The type of worship service is also really important.”
Some churches are as close as a few blocks away from campus, but are as far as 3 hours away. Mark Dobbertin is the pastor at Faith Baptist Church of Wautoma, WI, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes away.
“We had some Maranatha students conduct a soccer clinic for us, and those kids really impressed us,” Dobbertin said. “We will give young men the opportunity to teach and preach in our church, which might push them out of their comfort zone a little, but will certainly help prepare them for ministry.”
There were many new pastors, and even some new churches among the 51 churches represented. Three members from Harmony Baptist Church in Beaver Dam came to recruit college students for their one-year-old church that is still seeking a pastor.
“They could help us out in a lot of ways, especially in music,” said Bob Johnson, a church member and retired pastor. “Their enthusiasm would be a good influence on our teens. Young people bring an excitement to your church that we’d like to see.”