Hi, I’m Ethan.
I serve our church as the lead pastor. My wife and I have a growing family, a web design agency, some rental properties, and a few other ventures. I just completed a stint serving as the mayor of our small town in Iowa, and we are putting the finishing touches on an extensive remodel of a historic 1915 home for our family.
Life is good.
But I believe that having a relationship with God is the most important thing we could ever do. The best life we could ever live. And I want other people to experience that good life, too.
So this blog is an attempt to relay some of my thoughts about that.
My experience in church and ministry
I grew up in the trenches (pews?) of local church ministry. My father has been a pastor since before I was born.
Over the years I’ve been involved in preaching, leading worship, serving communion, leading youth and family activities and programming, teaching Bible classes, recruiting and managing volunteers, planning events, performing weddings, serving on the church leadership team as an elder, and serving as a pastor with our church in Muscatine, Iowa.
In the early 2000s I lived in Israel for a year, volunteering with a social-aid ministry called the House of Light. I lived in an Arab town called Shefa-Amr, about 20 minutes from Nazareth, and took the bus twice a week to study Arabic in Haifa. I helped with a children’s ministry and we did camps to help Jewish and Arab kids get to know each other and build friendships.
I have a deep love for the Middle East. (I like the middles, apparently: Born in the Midwest, love the Middle East.)
In 2005 I traveled solo across North Africa, connecting with local churches and hearing about outreach work in these countries. One enduring memory of this trip was when I was asked to preach to a small church in a remote area in Algeria. The people were so warm and welcoming, and hungry for God. After the service we sat in circles, ate rice out of big shared bowls and drank water out of a little shared tin cup that was passed around.
I married my childhood best friend Bethany in 2009. She also is a traveler at heart and has a love for Latin America. She speaks fluent Spanish and is a TESOL teacher by trade. She has lived and volunteered in Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. She’s currently starting her own English learning program for adult Spanish speakers. We have three kids: Liliana, David, and Simon.
In 2009 I also started doing website design and development, which has now grown into a full-fledged creative agency called Big Imprint.
In 2011 my wife and I moved to a neighboring town to start a house church in an immigrant community.
These were some of the best years of ministry I’ve ever experienced, and also the hardest, by far. We were able to disciple several families and saw miraculous changes happen in people’s lives. After about three years, this effort wound down when several key members of the group moved away (one was deported, one went to prison, but that’s a story for another time).
We returned to serve in our home church, and in 2020 I accepted the role of lead pastor. It’s a church in revitalization and, although not an easy task, I consider it an honor to be spending more time serving God, serving our community, and introducing people to the best life anyone could ever imagine.