What brings meaning to you as a pastor?
I personally experience the power of the words, “Jesus loves you” every day. This promise gives me hope and purpose in my life. In response, I strive to enable others to know how precious they are in God’s eyes, and to know that their worth is centered in their identity as a beloved child of God. Further, I seek to encourage, empower, equip and connect people, so that they see how their faith makes a difference in their daily lives, and, so that they are drawn closer to Jesus.
How did you become a pastor?
I graduated from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, with a B.A. summa cum laude, majoring in physics and mathematics. After college, I enrolled at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, to study to become a pastor and completed a Masters of Divinity. My studies in science strengthened my faith; I know the magnificence of the universe and I understand human’s ability to reason as one of God’s greatest gifts. In addition, throughout my youth, several key relationships, including my family and pastors, and the experiences of four summers spent working at Lutheran outdoor ministries in Wisconsin and Montana, and a service trip with Habitat for Humanity to Tijuana, Mexico, greatly shaped my sense of call to be a pastor. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role, and I hope everyone knows that, in their own unique way, they too are called to serve God as they bring comfort, healing and good news into the world around them.
What is special about Midvale Community Lutheran Church?
Midvale is a vibrant congregation where people of all ages praise, live and serve God together. The congregation is known for its role as a community center, for its ministries to help those without adequate food and shelter, and for its breadth of faithful leaders. The recently remodeled worship center is an inspiring space, and gifted musicians contribute to spiritually uplifting worship. Opportunities for growing deeper in faith through Bible study, faith-education for all ages, and small groups are an ongoing and expanding focus. This is truly a wonderful community called by the Holy Spirit to live out its purpose by making a difference in the world in Jesus’ name.
What else would you like people to know about you?
I am blessed to be able to be a partner, both in life and in work, with my wife, Pastor Katie Baardseth. Our two daughters bring us great joy and we gladly devote much of our time to being together as a family. I also seek time to read, spend time outdoors, and I am an avid runner and cross-country skier. In addition to serving as a pastor at Midvale, I have also worked as the Director for Evangelical Mission for the ELCA South-Central Synod of Wisconsin and I began my ministry serving as pastor of a congregation in California. I have written for Augsburg Fortress, Logos, and Lectionary Homiletics publications on topics related to sermon-writing. I also have a passion for the work of the Lutheran church in Palestine, especially the ministries of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. I am an area representative for Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a non-profit, ecumenical organization that seeks to support these hope-filled, life-transforming ministries in the Holy Land.