From the Pastor's desk

 

This month, I’d like to share with you an article from one of our own. Zach Meyer has been called to serve Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, Windsor Heights, IA. What follows is Zach’s introduction to that faith community, taken from the church’s April newsletter.

All the best, Zach!                              -- Pastor Tom Hillertz

 

I was born in Springfield, Illinois, but spent most of my life growing up in Champaign, Illinois. My mother was the daughter of an ELCA minister, so I grew up in the ELCA, and was very connected with my local church. Attending church was a family routine done each weekend, but my faith journey changed dramatically when I entered middle school.

The year I went to seventh grade is the year I first became truly introduced to youth ministry. Our home church had recently hired a new youth minister, a figure who has been influential in my faith journey ever since. He made our fellowship times informative and personal, while installing a great community along the way. He also made learning more about God fun and challenging, and I attribute this period as the time I personalized my faith. In fact, I credit youth ministry as the thing that truly caused me to have such a deep relationship with God, and this is why it is so important to me.

I enrolled at Carthage College in the fall of 2013, and I initially set out to study history with the intent of teaching secondary education when I graduated. However, while I committed a good amount of time to this pursuit, I actually spent most of my time engaging in various ministry groups. Looking back now I can see God was placing me in more situations to do ministry than anything else, without my entire knowledge of it at the time! Because I attributed so much of my faith to my years right before college, I was excited to “take it to the next level.”

At college I took part in theological discussions with a Lutheran Student movement, led a Bible study in the college’s Intervarsity Chapter, and attended worship at a local ELCA congregation each Sunday. However, in keeping with my love of youth ministry, I got involved the most with the college’s youth ministry team. As a member and later its president, I led lock-ins and youth based activities with a team of students from various Christian denominations at area churches. It gave me an outlet not only to have fun within the church (games with lots of running and screaming were common place for us) but also to connect with young people from the local community.

The culmination of my ministry experience in college was a summer abroad in Costa Rica with an organization called Experience Mission. For a majority of the summer I lived on the BriBri reservation in the Telemanca region of Costa Rica, spending time with my host family and experiencing everyday life in their community. In a primarily relationship-based ministry, we focused on simply living the local way, having daily fellowship while experiencing their personal experience with faith. The experiences I had on that trip live with me to this day, and have instilled in me a passion for living out mission every day of our lives, rather than just restricting it to a few select trips to different locations. My experience inspired me to write my senior thesis on evangelical cold-war missionaries to Central America, and how their methods and views of evangelism changed, like my own, from their experiences.

My view on ministry has always been two-fold: each of us develops our own personal, purely unique relationship with Christ Jesus, while at the same time we grow as part of a larger faith community. My experiences in and writing about missions to Central America has strengthened my resolve to unite evangelicalism and ecumenism within ministry, and unite social justice with the moral standards we are called to in the Scriptures. I am also a fan of several forms of worship. I grew up with the traditional hymns in my home church and I adore them. However, I have also experienced a variety of contemporary worship and praise songs both in college and abroad, and love them just as much.

I grew up in a family of five, with my parents and my two younger brothers. I consider myself to be a huge Star Wars nerd, and have loved superheroes since I was a kid (Spider-Man is still the best). I have never been good at sports, but I am a huge fan of the Denver Broncos and the Illinois Fighting Illini. I consider creativity to be my greatest trait, and have always loved collecting LEGOS and creating stories since I was young. Though sometimes I think they are a dying brand, I am a sucker for Western novels and movies (Louis L’amour is my favorite) and love Sunday comics like Calvin and Hobbes and Foxtrot.

A Few Other Quick Facts About me:

Some of my Favorite Quotes:

1. “In all this missions talk, you may begin to think, Well, surely you’re not suggesting that we’re all supposed to move overseas. That is certainly not what I am suggesting (though I’m not completely ruling it out!).” - David Platt, Radical

2. "Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." - Yoda, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

3. “It’s a magical world Hobbes ‘ol Buddy. Let's go exploring!” Last comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes

Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 22

Favorite Songs:

  1. Hymn - “Go to Dark Gethsemane”
  2. Contemporary Praise Song - “I Surrender,” by Hillsong Worship
  3. Country Song (Yes, I like Country) “Great Day to be Alive,” by Travis Tritt.