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How long have you been a member of Wheaton Bible Church?
Twenty-four years. We joined the church shortly after we were married because at WBC we found people our age with similar beliefs, and we enjoyed the worship services, including the Bible-based teaching.
Describe a memorable church experience.
When Wheaton Bible Church celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary, we had a big celebration under a tent in the parking lot at the Main Street campus. That evening, God impressed upon me that our founders trusted and followed God when they started our church and that I now share the responsibility with others to continue the work through trusting and following God.
How long have you been an Elder?
Just a few months. My first meeting was in February.
What is the most challenging part of being an Elder? What is most rewarding?
One challenge we face as elders is to rely as much on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we rely on the gifts, experiences, and talents God has entrusted to each of us. To lead others well, we need to allow God to lead us.
At the same time, watching God use the variety of gifts, experiences, and talents of my fellow Elders to lead us to consider complex issues from different perspectives and to arrive at a better decision, gives me a great appreciation for the Body of Christ.
How and when did you accept Christ as your Savior?
During sixth-grade youth group, I came to understand that Christ loved me and died for my sins. I asked Him to forgive me and committed to following Him as best I could. But it wasn’t until my time with the Navigators in college that God really began changing my life and making me a different person.
Do you have a favorite portion of Scripture?
Isaiah 44:3–5 was a promise I claimed in college while praying God would give me spiritual “offspring.” It reads:
I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, “I belong to the Lord”; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, “The Lord’s,” and will take the name Israel.
At the top of my memory card I wrote, “Promise of 3 men.” I prayed God would give me at least three men to disciple in college. What I did not expect is that twenty years later, God would show me His answer to that promise in giving me three sons to disciple (and a wonderful daughter as well). I continue to pray that God would “pour out his Spirit on my offspring and his blessing on my descendents.”
Tell us about your growing-up years.
A Wisconsin native, I grew up in the country, working on my dad’s “hobby” farm. We raised beef cattle and horses, chopped hay, built fences, and cleaned the barn a lot. I have two sisters, who are younger than me.
When the Green Bay Packers played home games, we always went to church early so we could be home before kick-off. In high school I had season tickets in the student section. My parents still live on part of the farm and recently celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Describe your family.
Anne and I met through Navigators at UW Madison and married after we finished college. We’ve been married 26 years. Our daughter, Abby, finished college in May and will join Young Life staff in the fall, reaching students in Waco, Texas. Our son Danny will be a junior at Moody Bible Institute and hopes to go into full-time ministry. This fall David will be a senior at Wheaton North High School, and Nathan will be in eighth grade at Wheaton Christian Grammar School.
Tell us a something about your life that offers insight about you.
As an engineer, I like formulas. Put in the right numbers, compute an answer, and make a decision. And while God created the physical order, I’ve learned that no formulas exist for the complex decisions
in life. God designed me to think logically and linearly, but he constantly challenges me to trust Him and live by faith—which often seems illogical or counterintuitive.
If you could speak with each member of our congregation, what would you say?
Please embrace fellowship with others in our body. Take a chance; trust others. Encourage others and allow them to encourage you. Good relationships take time to develop, but they are well worth the investment and are a blessing that will last forever!
I was a pretty typical sophomore, attending the University of Wisconsin, when my high school sweetheart broke up with me and started dating my best friend. I was heartbroken. I was conflicted. I knew in my heart that if I really loved them, then I should wish the best for them. But every time I saw them together, I felt anger and betrayal and jealousy—nasty feelings that I didn’t want to feel.
About that time, the Christian groups on campus sponsored an event that sounded interesting, so I went to check it out. A few days later, Bruce Johnson, a student Bible-study leader, stopped by to ask me a few questions:
“Grant, if you were to die tonight, where would you go?”
I had accepted Christ as a young teen, so I said I was pretty sure I’d go to heaven, but then he asked me, “Why? Why are you so confident you’d go to heaven?”
That question kind of stumped me. So he asked me if I wanted to study the Bible with him.
During the first few weeks of Bible study, I learned the answer to that question and lots of others. For the first time, the Bible really started making sense to me and affecting the way I lived my life. Most important, I learned that God loves me more than any individual could ever love me. The Bible teaches that God has a wonderful plan for my life. And that if I trust Him and follow Him, He’ll show me His plan.
And you know what happened? After I trusted Him I didn’t feel those nasty feelings anymore. God healed my broken heart and gave me peace about that situation. Eventually God blessed me with Anne, the love of my life, whom I’ve been married to for 26 years. And to this day, when things get tough, when people disappoint me, I remember that God loves me and has a great plan for my life; I just need to keep trusting Him and following Him.