Pastor David Peterson recalls the moment he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and called into ministry in 1982. He was in seventh grade at the time and attending a Pentecostal church in California. That experience served as an anchor to the call of God during his time in the Army and into marriage.
His calling was never fully realized until after 2009 when David and his wife, Tracy, went through a foreclosure. It was the height of the housing crisis and they both recognized it was time to make a change. They decided to go to church. Tracy had never attended a church before, and when they walked up to the front doors, a friendly elderly lady greeted her with a huge hug. She instantly knew she had found a place to belong. They were both welcomed, and in time, David was leading the youth ministry at the church.
A few years later, the Petersons moved closer to family who lived in northern Minnesota. David’s brother-in-law served as a deacon at a Baptist church in Badger, MN–a town of 375 people–and told him the church was looking for a new pastor.
At first David had no interest. The church was an old Mennonite building that had seen better days. There were less than 10 people in the pews of the 60-seat auditorium, and his sister and brother-in-law were in the process of moving away from the area. Then at a VBS event on the outgoing pastor’s final day, that pastor sought out David and told him, “This town needs a Pentecostal presence. It needs a dose of the Holy Spirit.” David walked away from that interaction and told the Lord, “Okay, God, if this is it, then start putting the pieces in place.”
David submitted his resume and was up front about his approach to ministry. He said, “I am a classic Pentecostal. This is who I am, and this is who you get.” The Baptist congregation didn’t flinch and voted unanimously for him in November of 2016. The congregation was excited to make a difference in their small community, and it matched perfectly with David’s kingdom-minded vision that focused on ministry outside of the church. As he puts it, “I’m more concerned about filling seats at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb than filling seats inside this building.” They started outreaches right away, including a Thanksgiving meal that same month.
In time the congregation grew and David started looking for ways to equip them. He started bringing a group to Mens Advance in 2017 and then the EQUIP Conference. Those connections eventually led them to join the MN District Assemblies of God on Easter of 2021. David abstained from voting and any discussion, and the vote was once again unanimous.
David encourages pastors to lead with open hands, keep planting seeds, and continually be reminded of the greater mission. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”