Rev. Mark Smith

My journey into the pastoral ministry began long before I realized it. As a young teenager I felt that I was being called into the teaching ministry of the Lutheran School system in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I pursued that call and served as teacher and then principal for 18 years. During that time the Lord was preparing me for the pastoral ministry by helping me achieve a master’s degree, to become more comfortable working with adults, helping me become a leader and teaching me to be comfortable proclaiming His Word publicly. Suddenly in 1995 that ministry came to a close but immediately God opened a new ministry to me. He led both me and my wife into the financial services industry. Specifically, He directed us into the Lutheran focused ministry of Aid Association for Lutherans, now Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. For just over 10 years we served to help people provide for their families financial needs and to consider ways in which they could continue to give to their church even in death. All the while, as I served as a representative for AAL, increasingly I felt the call to serve as a pastor. As I met with couples, in their homes, to discuss finances, the subject of church affiliation and attendance would come up. I would have a wonderful time helping those couples identify the type of congregation they’d feel most comfortable being a part of and then I’d direct them to one of the many congregations that I served.In early 2006, as things were changing at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, my wife and I concluded that it was time to pursue the needed training to become a pastor. After the good people at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana accepted my application for enrollment, we sold our home, stored much of our belongings, packed the rest and headed for Fort Wayne. The pre-requisite Greek class was very difficult, but God guided me through. The next two years were a very enjoyable and challenging learning experience for man who’d been out of school for some time and friends were made. My vicarage was ideal in every way. I was blessed to serve a pastor and congregation in sunny southern California.In 2009 I was placed in an unknown city in a foreign land. We knew that God would have us serve where He wanted but we were not thinking Fort McMurray, Alberta. So far, it is a great fit–thanks be to God!

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