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Pastor Kevin never thought he’d end up in Wisconsin.

As a lifelong West Coaster and graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, it only seemed likely that “first call would take me back to the Pacific Northwest, or maybe as far east as Montana or Arizona.” Even an internship stop in Missouri didn’t dissuade his thinking.

All of that changed when the Greater Milwaukee Synod came knocking. “To be honest,” Pr. Kevin recalled, “the only city in the synod I knew of was…Milwaukee, and that’s in the name of the Synod!”

When Kevin first started receiving church profiles, he was handed Spirit Alive’s, along with another church looking to share a pastor. As he read them, he couldn’t help but feel the Spirit’s tug each time he read Spirit Alive’s paperwork. “There was a mix of blunt honesty—not something you see from churches everyday—and real hope. Yes, it was a struggling church by all the 'usual' metrics, but there were embers clearly burning in the hearth.”

But just before he was ready to interview, the second congregation decided to pull out of the process, leaving Spirit Alive! and Kevin adrift. “It was painful. Both of us could sense the sadness and frustration at what had transpired.” Unable to afford to take a part-time salary, Kevin removed his name from consideration.

The Synod kept floating other churches, but none seemed to stir the Spirit in Kevin. Then, out of nowhere, synod staff reached out with new paperwork for Spirit Alive! After the falling through of a shared part-time pastor, he was told, the leadership of Spirit Alive! took stock and made a leap of faith: with enough in savings for three years of a fulltime pastor, they decided it was work risking it all to be reignited with the Spirit. “That sealed it for me,” Kevin said. “Too many churches peter out, afraid to try. Spirit Alive! was clearly saying ‘we trust God has plans, and we ready to risk everything to see them come to fruition.” Such tenacity to follow and trust one another and God was proof enough for Kevin to know, “I wanted to be their pastor.”

Three and a half years later, the Spirit Alive! family continues to embrace Pr. Kevin and one another. “Every week I am amazed at how that little tenacious church I was first intrigued by on paper grows in faith and mission.” Though he never thought he’d end up in the Midwest, Pr. Kevin is ever-thankful he and Kelsey found family, faith, and this amazing church—a church ever-ready, with bags packed, to follow the Spirit.

“I thank God every day for each person in this journey we are on together, and I’m excited for the places we will go together with God.”

Thank you for being an important piece of this welcoming, Spirit-following community of faith!