Lent is a time to remember and reflect. So we’ve asked a number of people to share their stories with us. Today, we hear from Steve Larson, one of our pastors…
Born in Livonia, MI, my parents raised me in the church on 8 Mile Road which eventually moved to Farmington Hills and became Faith Covenant Church. I have no “conversion moment” because church, God, and my relationship with both was simply part of life from the very beginning. Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights and the occasional event in between were set calendar items for our family. With Dad chairing the church, or the C.E. Board, or the Sunday school program, and with mom teaching, singing in the choir and baking, baking, baking for church events, “family” and “church” were in some ways synonymous. And through the church family, I grew.
From the age of 5 through the age of 8, we spent our summers (dad was a teacher, mom was home raising us) managing Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp in Onekema, MI. Being the “camp kid” was a joyful thing for me. I got to experience church, God, and my relationship with both outside the building and scheduled times. And through our camp experience, I grew.
It wasn’t until high school that I truly began to make my faith my own, however. In 9th grade, my English teacher soon learned that I would be fitting my faith into every public project she assigned. Whether “Share Your Talents Day” where I sang Christian music, or a report on “The Most Important Thing in Your Life” where I preached my first sermon, Mrs. Bauer always shook her head and graded me down, but continued to give me opportunities to share my faith in class. This was not easy for a shy, introverted, uncomfortable kid like me, but I never considered doing anything else.
A thespian and choir geek, I learned (sometimes the hard way) how to be comfortable in front of an audience. A leader in my youth group, I learned the organization it took to pull off a really fun event that still made a difference in people’s lives. And so through my high school years, I grew.
My call to ministry came just after CHIC ’88, our triennial youth conference. And I’ll tell you all about it… tomorrow.