New youth pastor comes to Faith Evangelical Free

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Ryan Thompson began working as the student ministries/worship pastor at Faith Evangelical Free Church in Prairie du Chien in late February. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

The Faith Evangelical Free Church in Prairie du Chien welcomed a new student ministries/worship pastor, Ryan Thompson, at the end of February. Bringing with him a lifetime of service and commitment to the Lord, Thompson believes he’s following God’s calling to serve locally.

Faith Evangelical Free last had a youth pastor in 2012.

“We’ve been praying since then that God would send us the right person,” Pastor Mike Jacobson said. “We wanted to pay off our church debt (and did in July 2015) and that allowed us to be more aggressive in our search. Ryan’s really been able to hit the ground running for us.”

Thompson was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and grew up in Dunkerton, Iowa. He spent most of his childhood at Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp in Vienna, Mo. He also worked there as a young adult. He graduated from Emmaus Bible College (where his parents met), in Dubuque, with a double major in youth ministry and Bible studies. He then carried out his internship at Bridge Christian Community church in Dubuque.

Prior to Prairie du Chien, Thompson spent over a year working for Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque in both the New Hope and New Pathways programs. There, he dealt with troubled adolescents who had either offended or were abused.

In recent months, Thompson, who started writing and playing music, and singing in 2012, decided he was going to audition for the TV show, “The Voice.” He even had someone willing to pay for his trip to audition. But, God had a different plan for him and he followed that instead.

That plan is why he’s now serving in Prairie du Chien.

“I’ve basically been treated like a new family member here. I’ve been amazed,” he shared. “The change happened very fast. I think they moved me in five minutes flat and they donated furniture and loaded my pantry. I think my possessions tripled in one day.”

An installation service for Thompson took place March 13, as the congregation officially welcomed him and “recognized God’s call on his life,” according to Pastor Jacobson. The pastor from Bridge Christian Community came to the service and provided the Homily. A special letter written by his mentor, Sonny Williams, the director of Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp, was read during the service. Also, Faith Evangelical Free presented Thompson with a plaque and a potluck in his honor.

“Ryan has his own niche. He is working with grades fifth through high school and also the music program at the church,” Jacobson explained.

“I’ve also been going through our whole song book and making it uniform, and leading youth group and the One Way Club,” Thompson added, extending an open invitation to area youth to attend the free Wednesday night children’s club for a meal, open gym, learning, singing, games and more starting at 5:45 p.m. each week. “I’ll be doing all the music on Sundays to work with the message (Jacobson) is preparing. I’m building up the song book for the youth group and starting a choir too.”

Jacobson said that having a choir is also a renewed offering at the church and that anyone who likes to sing is welcome to join.

A self-proclaimed “nerd,” Thompson will work on updating the security system needs at the church as well as all policies and procedures.

“It’s important to provide a safe environment for everyone, especially the kids,” Jacobson noted.

In his spare time, Thompson is the lead singer/songwriter of an indie acoustic band, Crissy Drive, and he would love to entertain others interested in joining in his band or simply his love of music. He would also like to share his musical skills with the community as he makes connections in the Prairie du Chien area. Of course, Christ is first and foremost in his life, and he enjoys playing ping pong and engaging in other “nerd stuff.”

For more information, visit faithchurchpdc.org or call 326-6959.

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