I’m a first-call pastor ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is a bit of a fluke, hence the title “Accidental Lutheran.” I grew up in the Roman Catholic church – 12 years of Catholic school and the whole works – but I left upon graduating high school in 1987 without ever really looking back … until I was getting married. Refused to get married in a church. My wife insisted that we at least use a pastor to officiate. I said, “OK, fine.” We landed on a pastor (his church was listed under the Bs in the phone book) who happened to be an ELCA Lutheran (whatever that was), and who happened to be free on the date of our wedding, and who happened to require of us 3 pre-marital counseling sessions, the final one of which happened to be 2 days before our wedding, which happened to be scheduled in the middle of a rainy season, which happened to flood out our planned wedding venue. The same pastor happened to offer us the use of the church, including the fellowship hall, since we were otherwise SOL, and he happened to not even charge us an honorarium. A month later, I decided that the community had been so gracious (in contrast to my memories of my childhood church) that we really needed to go and offer some kind of donation. We happened to be there on a Sunday at the time that happened to be a “traditional” worship service, which by no coincidence at all felt exactly like a Roman Catholic liturgy without the baggage I had come to associate with the Church. Something clicked, I got hooked. I happened to learn about the existence of a lay ministry school from our youth minister, whose mother happened to be the director of said lay school. I attended that school with a church-mate for 2 years, during which time I began discerning a call to ordained ministry. The rest happens to be, as they say, history.
I currently serve as a mission redevelopment pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tulsa – a lovely community of great folks from a variety of backgrounds. It’s a privilege and an honor to work among and alongside them.
I have a wife, two kids (a boy and a girl), and a neurotic German Shorthaired Pointer named Hildy.