Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Vocational Elder; Executive Pastor
Campus: All Campuses
- Ministry Assistant: Ruth Gulbranson (612-338-7653 x464)
- Pastoral Assistant: Bryan DeWire (612-338-7653 x468)
Sam’s early life was formed on a farm where he gave himself to Christ at the age of five. His family moved frequently, living in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Montana, and northern Minnesota. Sam’s main desire in life is to become more like Jesus. He met and married Vicki in 1973. In 1974, he graduated from St. Cloud State with two majors: Elementary Education and Psychology. Further studies at Trinity and South Dakota State concluded in a Master’s degree in Education in 1979.
At some point during his 16 years of faithful ministry and assistance to three pastors of the Brookings (South Dakota) Wesleyan Church, Sam became aware of Bethlehem, and God slowly drew him in this direction. His interest in joining our pastoral staff centered “on an earnest desire to come alongside and foster a great and deep appreciation of a grand and glorious God—to engender an unbridled enthusiasm for the preeminence of Christ.”
He labors to provide ministry design and coordination, working with our various ministries to ensure that the goals of our church are being worked out. As our “vision keeper,” Sam fosters an atmosphere where the Vision Statement can move forward in the life of the church, and he seeks to ensure an esprit de corps among the pastoral staff, elders, support staff, and congregation. He mirrors the compassion of God relationally within the body, a gift God has grown in him through a wide variety of experiences including the loss of two children, Aryn and Jordan (through miscarriage), and the parenting, teaching, and enjoyment of daughters Dawn and Mandi.