Mitch Vedders Mitch Vedders

At Home in Rural Ministry

A conversation with Mitch Vedders, future pastor, as he prepares to pursue his call.

BEGIN . BELONG . BECOME

When did you know you wanted to be a pastor?

In second grade, a teacher asked us, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’  My Mom saved this paper. I drew a picture of me up on a pulpit. To have a set path has been a blessing—to have such a direct calling.

Where do you want to serve and why?

Rural ministry. I have a burden for these communities. I’m from a small farming town, plus I do a lot of hunting, fishing, and camping. How a rural area functions has always been a part of me.

What challenges in a rural area do you expect?

The culture in a lot of rural settings is changing with technology and the internet, pulling kids into the same situations city kids face. Families are falling apart in rural towns just as much.

How is Bethel Seminary preparing you?

By connecting me to quality resources, helpful knowledge, and specific training. I need these 3 things not only to sustain a ministry, but to grow in every area of life. I gain a huge benefit from close connections with the faculty and other students.

Is seminary different for you, given your goal?

In a rural setting, a lot of times you’re the only staff person. My friends [in seminary] are cuing in on specific roles, but I have to be more diverse in my abilities.

Are you getting prepared outside of class?

I lead a youth group at a small church. There are 9 kids, all from broken homes. Their lives are constantly changing and when I came, they had no concept of God. I try to keep routine and give them the basics: “Who is God?” “Why do we pray?” It’s been trial by fire for me, but I think I’ve been a source of stability and will continue to intern there.

How was it to preach your first sermon?

To be the center of focus so long with adults can be intimidating, along with the responsibility: It’s God’s Word. I enter into it with a lot of prayer. I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would, though, and I’ve been getting preaching opportunities outside of class.

Do you have a mission statement?

“Using servant leadership in a community of believers to continually press myself and others toward a higher level of Christian maturity.” I can’t wait to use my personal experiences to help show a rural community Christ’s love.