From: Celina, Ohio
Educated at: Celina City Schools, Bluffton University, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary)
Family: spouse, Kristin Vought
Job: Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Arendtsville
Job’s reward: I am fortunate to be invited into the extreme highs and lows of so many lives. It is a joy to celebrate lifetime accomplishments, and an honor to be asked to speak about the promises of God in the struggles of life and at the end of life. My favorite part of the job are the less spectacular days, though. On the average weeknight, you will find people of all walks of life gathering together, praying, planning ministry, discerning the voice of God in today’s world, and hoping for the future. These are the moments where, in a small town, I get to see God doing a small part of God’s daily work.
Job’s frustrations: Sometimes I find that I myself, and at times the church universal, to be distracted from what God is calling us to do. It’s so easy to be distracted; I find myself feeling like a child in class where there are words of knowledge and wisdom being given freely to me, but I can’t help staring across the room preoccupied with the frivolous antics of my peers. The action of staying focused on the work of ministry and loving my neighbor seems like it should be simple, but it is frustrating to repeatedly find out that the action is rather difficult.
Very first job was: Helping out on the farm (I grew up on a commodity grain farm). I was first paid for work mowing lawns.
Favorite food: Anything that was made especially for me.
Pets: None, but I am a big fan of getting to know animals.
Hero: Anyone who works for justice and peace in the world. These individuals inspire me so much, and I hope to be counted among them.
Hobbies: Running, gardening, learning new things.
Pet peeves: The action of shouting down another person. I understand the temptation, but I also find that conversations change when people are welcome to express themselves fully as others listen just as fully.
Collects: I don’t really collect things. If anything, I do enjoy the experience of stories and music, and find them staying with me quite often.
Best friends: Kristin; I’d also like to list my brothers Brad, Nick, and Kevin.
Would like to have witnessed what event in history? I’d like to witness a day in Jesus’ ministry. Not necessarily a “signs and miracles” day, but an average day. I’d like to see how he walked, the manner in which he spoke (in this scenario, I would also like to understand the Aramaic Jesus used at the time), what his body language was like, when he prayed, when he slept, how he laughed, and these kinds of things.
Event that changed your life: In the third grade, I first sensed a call to be a pastor. Ever since then, I’ve explored what that meant for me as a person. I don’t remember too much of my life without that exploration. This is not to say it is a heavy weight, rather that it is a significant moment.
Your scariest moment: I was in a car accident in high school. My scariest moment wasn’t the accident, though, it was thinking of how it could have affected my family and friends. I realize this likely shows quite a bit of my inner thoughts. We are, though, getting to know me, and this is something I’ve spoken about on more than one occasion.
Your first memory: Lying on the floor of my parents’ house, staring at the ceiling, wondering.
Trait inherited from parents: I think things through, studying them from every angle I can think of. This is a great strength, and potentially a great weakness too. I also care how my actions affect others, which is another great strength and weakness inherited/inherently taught by my parents.
Piece of advice that you live by: Love the people around you.
Who needs a hug? Anyone who wants one.
Favorite reading/author: This is going to seem like such a “pastor” thing to say, but I am a big fan of scripture. I really like the stories, and how the compilation as a whole is okay with the tension between its books. I like the truth found in the balance.
Favorite spot on earth: Where my family and/or friends have gathered.
Website you visit most: Google.
Would like concert tickets to see: I don’t go to concerts a lot, but I do enjoy live music.
One bad habit: I tend to overthink things, and I sometimes fail to express these thoughts out loud.
3 items on your bucket list: I don’t really have a bucket list right now. I get the idea of one, but at this point in my life, I’m still trying to learn what all there is to do and experience.
Five minutes with: Anyone. I find people interesting. I will say that I also enjoy the opportunity to prepare for meeting someone, so that my brain isn’t somewhere else but rather in the moment.
What skill or lesson would you like to learn? I think welding, wood working, and sewing would all be cool things to learn. I’m interested in learning about most things, though.
What would people find surprising about you? I’m not sure… I’ve not met myself in the way others do, and I am usually surprised when folks find anything about me surprising. That’s not intended to be a self-deprecating remark, but my honest experience of genuinely being surprised at what folks find surprising.
What would make this world a better place? Love for self and love for others. Also, while I have the pulpit so to speak, universal access to health care, especially mental health.
What is the best piece of news you received lately that you would like to share? I was able to hear for the first time my niece speak (she and her family live in Ohio). That was pretty neat to hear.
How would you like to be remembered? Accurately. Not in a scientific measurement kind of accuracy, but in an honest memory of me as someone with strengths, weaknesses, faults, gifts, courageous moments and fearful ones too.