From the Pulpit: The Rev. Kevin Roland Olson: A thankful leader
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Rev. Kevin Roland Olson of Trinity Lutheran-Egypt Mills Church came to Missouri from Victoria, Minn., "a formerly 'small town' west of the Twin Cities," he said. Olson said that he moved to Cape Girardeau in May 2004 because he felt called by God to serve here. The pastor is 47, and though he is referred to as "Pastor" "Kevin" and "Pastor Kevin," his favorite moniker is Dad. When not giving sermons, he enjoys tennis, football, reading and being a father and husband.
Q: What drew you to serve the church in a leadership role?
A: My thankfulness to the God who saved me in Jesus' death on the cross, a desire to serve Jesus and share his good news of salvation with the lost, a heart for those who are earnestly searching for meaning and hope and who struggle in faith and life.
Q: What education/background/studies did you go through to become a pastor?
A: I went to Concordia Teacher's College, Seward, Neb., for my degree in secondary education, with majors in theology and history. I taught New Testament and world history as a high school teacher at Lutheran North, Mount Clemens, Mich. I attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where I received my master's of divinity degree.
Q: What do you think makes this church special?
A: Trinity Lutheran-Egypt Mills is a community of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who faithfully gather to receive God's heavenly blessings (the forgiveness of sins, life in the living present and eternal salvation) in word and sacrament. The people of Trinity have a heart for serving the Lord Jesus and living out their faith in their service to others. They love and respect God's word for what it is -- the living and changeless word of Almighty God himself. I am impressed at how these believers in Jesus regularly pray for one another, study the Bible together, and strive not to conform themselves to the whims of a changing world, but instead, to influence it as they themselves are being formed in the image of Jesus. They also cherish their Lutheran heritage and history, their common confession and the desire to see the Kingdom of God grow.
Q: What's your favorite verse and why?
A: My wife Paulette and my wedding verse, Philippians 2:1-11, especially focusing on verses 5-8: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!"
The verse constantly reminds me of Jesus' tremendous sacrifice for me, and for my fellow brothers and sisters, on the cross of Calvary. It demonstrates to me the way he desires for me to live with my wife, family and my brothers and sisters in Christ, as together, we follow him.
Q: What's your favorite part of being a pastor?
A: I am invited to share in some of the most important occasions in the lives of those I serve. I am humbled as I get to watch the Holy Spirit's work as people grow closer to Jesus and into a deeper relationship with him.
Q: What's your favorite day of the week and why?
A: This is a dangerous question for a pastor. While I love serving the Lord and his people on Sunday, I also enjoy my "family day" on Fridays where I do things with my family, have time to rest and retreat to study the Bible quietly, and pray in quiet places.
Q: What events or occasions does your church have coming up?
A: We have ongoing opportunities in worship, Bible class and Sunday school; a vibrant youth program that annually attends Servant Events (and plans to attend a National Youth Gathering in New Orleans); a growing ministry in support of Christian marriages called TLC, or Trinity Lutheran Couples; an annual old-fashioned hayride and bonfire for the community and numerous family activities. We also hold two suppers, one in the spring and the other in the fall, in support of our ministries.
Q: What program have you done with Trinity Lutheran Church that you are proud of and why?
A: Here at Trinity, we try not to focus on "programs" but on Jesus, the "Word made flesh" himself, and his beloved people. We go for the "good stuff" of word and sacrament. As for pride, I have none to claim. The Scriptures declare, "let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31)
Q: Do you have a prayer, psalm or verse you would like to give our readers for the day?
A: O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet (Psalm 8:1-6).