It all started on September 28, 1978. The time had come for me to make my entrance into the world. My mom had a rough night ahead of her and…
…OK, maybe I won’t take you all the way back to the very beginning!
Let’s fast-forward a few years!
On November 23, 1996 I married my best friend (Jessica Vogel), which happened to be the second greatest decision in my life (topped only by my decision to invite Jesus Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior!) (By the way, I was 18 years old and in the middle of my senior year of high school! I just thought you’d like to know that.)
Together we brought 3 amazing children into the world! (Justin, Jenni, and James)
In May of 2000 one of the biggest goals of my young life was realized when I was hired on the Peoria Fire Department as a career fire fighter. I loved the job and I loved the guys that I worked with even more. I thought I’d retire from that career, but God had other plans for my life.
From the time I was in junior high I sensed a calling on my life from God to lead others and preach the gospel. Even though I loved Jesus, I did not particularly love the gentle, yet firm voice of His calling that was a constant companion and a growing conviction in my life. I honestly spent a few years running from that calling.
But finally in the summer of 2002 I quit running and surrendered to God’s calling to go into pastoral ministry. I told God I was willing to go wherever He wanted me to go (figuring it would be somewhere in a tropical region complete with white, sandy beaches and palm trees). But again, God had other plans!
Through a series of events and open doors (and a story that is longer than you’d care to read) God clearly led our family to the small town of Flandreau, South Dakota to plant what is now The RESCUE Church. In April of 2004, we said goodbye to our friends, family, and the Peoria Fire Department, and relocated our family to Flandreau. When we arrived in Flandreau all we knew was that we were supposed to plant a Christ-centered, Bible-preaching church. We did. And God started to amaze us with His ability to use inadequate people like us to bring others to Himself and grow His church in miraculous ways! We got a front row seat to watch God grow our church from very humble beginnings into a vibrant and dynamic ministry that is making a huge difference in the lives of many people in our community and beyond!
In 2009, God gave us a very clear vision to reproduce our church in rural communities across South Dakota, the Midwest, and beyond through a multi-site church planting strategy. Currently, The RESCUE Church has 5 campuses in South Dakota, Illinois, and Jamaica as well as an internet campus.
In 2014, God threw me yet another curve ball when He opened a door of opportunity for me to return to the fire service as a firefighter with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. Although the prospect of being both a full-time pastor and a full-time firefighter was a little terrifying at first, God has shown me once again that when we seek and obey His will for our lives, He will give us the desires of our hearts. It has been an awesome experience to get to be back in the fire stations, bonding with the guys, running fire calls, and living out a God-given passion of my heart.
My life stands as evidence that God does not call the equipped…He equips the called! I am honored to serve my Creator who has the ability to use common, ordinary, and inadequate vessels to accomplish eternally significant things for His glory!