I grew up in a Catholic family that went to church every Sunday, but we were the family that sat in the last pew and were the first to leave. For college, I attended St. Olaf, and I did attend church more often than not, but that had a lot had to do with the fact that it was a good excuse to go out to breakfast afterward!
The first time I stepped into the doors of CPC was for the funeral of a good friend who passed away when she was just thirty-two. Jody Phenow had been very close with my friend, walking side-by-side with her through her final journey with cancer. My impression was that this was a really good church, and I should check it out. I came here the next Sunday, walked in, and the parents of my best friend were standing there! I started attending CPC and quickly connected with a men’s group.
Friends encouraged me to attend a class offered at CPC by Mike Kramer, a year-long walk-through-the-Bible class. When attending Catholic mass, I would hear three readings of Scriptures—but I never understood how they were connected. I’d tried to read the Bible on my own, but it didn’t register. When I started going to this class, it was my first exposure to Bible study. At that point, I felt that the Holy Spirit really entered into me, and I could start to make sense of what I was reading—it started to come alive. Every time I read it, it was like, Wow. This is me. This relates to me. I never knew this. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes and my heart to the Word, and it captivated me. I couldn’t read enough of it! It was during that Bible study that I said to Mike, “I don’t really know if I’m saved.” And he said, “Well, I think you are, but let’s just do it right now.” So I admitted my sin and my need for Jesus and my desire to trust in Him. It was a marking experience for me.
Bible study has been a foundation for me. My wife, Kim, and I joined Community Bible Study and were leaders for 16 years and still participate to this day. I’m still involved in the same Friday morning small group that I’ve been attending for years. Small groups are really special—you share life together, you know things about each other that no one else knows, you have a “family” that you are able to share your challenges and joys with. There’s a special bond that happens when it is a group of Christians that doesn’t happen in other relationships because you are sharing your faith and your spiritual lives.
I am very honored to now be an elder at CPC. I prayed about it, and I felt the Lord wanted me to do this. I was at the New Members lunch recently, and I was so encouraged by the excitement around the table of these people who are joining CPC—hearing of their commitment, the sense that this is a place of community, a place of acceptance and belonging. I think this church is going to have tremendous impact for His glory.
I see the elders as the spiritual board of directors of this church. Our job is to be listening for where God is leading us. The elders are all gifted people in different ways, but we also need to put those gift asides and listen to His quiet voice about where He wants to take us. Because that’s the most exciting place to be.
Tim became an Elder in May 2018.