Christian Life pastor loves his job
Kent Boyum might have been meant to serve as pastor at Farmington's Christian Life Church. He married a woman from Farmington, and when he attended North Central University in Minneapolis he would come to town on weekends to attend the church with his roommate, Farmington resident Doug Heikkila. It took him a while to get here, but Boyum has been at Christian Life for eight years now. We talked with him this week as part of Pastor Appreciation Month in October.
How long have you been a pastor now?
I've been pastor for probably 22 years. In the middle of that, three years of it was doing mission work down in Central America. So actually 19 years of pastoring and three years of mission work.
How did you get into being a pastor? What drew you to that?
I grew up in the church. I had a great family -- very committed to the church, very committed to the Lord. All my life my parents taught me the most important thing was to follow what God wanted for my life. I wasn't sure out of high school what I wanted to do with my life, so I went to Indiana University for a year. But after that year in college I think I started to refocus as to really what God wanted. That summer after that first year of college God put a really definite call on my life to be a pastor. So I made preparations to come up to North Central University in Minneapolis and that's where I studied.
Was there something that summer that made you say, "This is for me"?
I remember one particular Sunday night church service. Often our church would close the evening by just coming to the altar area of the church and praying. I just felt really drawn. I was at that point where I just needed to hear from God what he wanted from my life because I didn't know for sure. That one particular night, one of the first Sunday nights of the summer back from college, I just remember time kneeling at the altar and I just felt God saying, "This is what I want you to do. Will you follow?" I felt like I got up from my knees and said, "Lord, that's what you want from my life." It's kind of a one-time moment. That's the call.
Is it something you'd given much thought before that?
Of course when you grow up in the church you're taught to be obedient to God's voice and be willing to do whatever God called you to do. But I had never felt the specific call until that point. But I was open to it. I kind of just needed circumstances of a young man searching.
You came up to the Twin Cities. Did it just feel right from the beginning? Did you ever feel like it wasn't the right thing to do?
I feel like that call was so definitive. That when I came I said, "This is the place that God wants me." I came and it fit in well. North Central University is one of the top universities for the Assemblies of God. That's the denomination I've been part of all my life. Actually, while I attended North Central I attended Christian Life with my roommate, Doug Heikkila. I met Doug so I started coming down to Farmington on weekends to go to church here, never dreaming in my college years that I would come back and be a pastor at this church.
You've enjoyed the job.
Absolutely love it. I couldn't find anything more fulfilling. I really love to be involved in families, in their lives. Specifically, spiritually in their lives. I love to watch their kids grow up and watch their kids grow into what God wants them to do. Being part of weddings and funerals and things that are very important road markers in people's lives. I just really believe in the church. I believe in the church family and what it has to offer to individuals. So many people are hurting or lost or aimless and they don't know where to turn, but the church always seems to step up and really come to people's aid and there's nothing that thrills me more than to see our church members really step into people's lives and meet their needs.
Is that what you enjoy most about it? The relationships with the people?
I think the one on one relationships with people or the family relationships are probably some of the most fulfilling to me. I love preaching. I love to see people respond to God's word. It's not what I have to say. It's what God's word really commands to people.
You mention the connection with people. I would think that could be difficult at times, when you mention the funerals, saying goodbye to someone.
It is, but the ability to step into a family's life, especially when there's been a tragedy -- they just feel the network or support system in a church family that surrounds them. I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It's very spiritual but it's also vital for them to know they're not alone in their loss.... Even in the most tragic moment God uses the church to connect people together.... That's why i think the church family can do so much to help and that's why I love being part of it. It's an honor.
Are there things you find challenging about the job?
The job is always challenging because people's issues, family issues, can be very complicated. I think probably the toughest challenge is how inadequate I feel. Inadequate to meet everyone's needs. Inadequate to always have the right answer. God's word always has the answer, but I don't, so sometimes I just want to help more and I feel inadequate in myself.... Anytime you work with people it's a challenge, but there's far more rewards.
It sounds like you're enjoying yourself.
Absolutely loving it. I can't ask for anything better. I'm extremely fulfilled in what opportunities God has put for us here. Our desire is to make an impact in the community and there's always room for us to do more.... And just the challenge. I have no two days that are alike, so coming into the office is exciting.... I don't have that mundane, repeatable job every day.... That's what makes it fun.