INTERIM PASTOR KEITH HUNHOLZ
I was privileged to grow up in a family that felt it was important to go to church. In my early years, I was baptized and learned to pray. I went through the confirmation experience at the church where my family was involved. But I longed for more in my Christian experience. I had a deep hunger to know more about God, and searched for answers to questions I struggled with.
Even though I was in church almost every Sunday, something was missing. My life was driven by fears. There were many things I really wanted to try, but nagging fears of failure kept me trying. I went off to college hoping to find some of the answers I longed for, and somehow to find that elusive pathway to fulfillment. Between classes one day, curiosity drew me to a seminar entitled, “Christianity in the Business world.”
To my surprise, the speaker didn’t say anything about going to church. He said religions are all about trying to please God, and that is what I was trying to do. But Christianity is about having a relationship with God. He affirmed many things I understood: that God loves each of us, that all of us have sinned, and fall short of God’s glory, that Christ died on the cross for our sins. But he went on to say that like any other gift, I needed to receive God’s gift of Christ and the forgiveness He offers. That day I opened the door of my heart to Christ, accepted His forgiveness, and invited Him into my life to make me all that He created me to be.
Gradually, my guilt was gradually replaced by the assurance that Jesus not only loves me and forgave me, but He is with me, to help me. My fears gradually were replaced by a new confidence that comes from the Lord working in and through me. I went to college searching for answers to some basic questions of life. As those answers became clear, my new desire was to share what I found with others. That remains my primary purpose in life.
While attending Elmbrook Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin, during my seminary years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, I met Kay Olsen, and we served together for a time as friends in the adult single’s ministry. In October of 1977, I was called to an associate pastoral ministry in Monroe, Wisconsin, and shortly thereafter, Kay moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to develop her counseling skills and integrate them with her Christian convictions. We renewed our friendship several years later, and it was at that time that God began to draw us together and we were married on March 28, 1981, at Elmbrook Church. God has since blessed us with three children, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, as well as the privilege of serving as pastor in six churches over a period of thirty-five years, the final 16 years at St. Peter Evangelical and St. Paul’s Christian Church in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. My life verse, Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel,” has been fulfilled in my life as I have had the opportunity to study the Scriptures, live out my faith, and teach God’s Word through a ministry in numerous local churches. Following my retirement from pastoral ministry, I became affiliated with Interim Pastor Ministries, and presently serve on their behalf as Interim Pastor at Bloomingdale Christian Church.
Herb Van Horn
Cherry Van Horn