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Center Point Church | Pastor David & Marie Savage

Some individuals dismiss the thought of rural ministry as dull, backward, and too far from the nearest department store. While all ministry has unique challenges, rural pastors have the opportunity to shepherd the community, not just their church. David Savage has ministered to the church and town of Mountain Lake, in the southwest corner of Minnesota, since 2007. Knowing God was specifically leading him to pastor in a rural community, David and his wife Marie met with former Superintendent Clarence St. John to share their hearts’ desires. When Pastor St. John learned that David and Marie wanted to move to a rural community, he got up, shut the door to his office, and said, “You can’t leave until we find you a church to serve.” Center Point Church was the result of that meeting.

When Pastor David came to Center Point Church, the average Sunday morning attendance was 30; now, 150 gather on Sundays, and well over 200 people make Center Point their home church. Trials and learning experiences marked the early years of his ministry. “Winter Blast”, an outreach event, initially was a disappointment. Years later, it is an annual celebration for the church and the whole town, drawing hundreds of participants. Also, each fall, the church provides a backpack giveaway for school children as a practical way to support the community.

David grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and has learned to navigate the challenges of living and working in a rural area. To battle potential isolation, he emphasizes the need for pastors to develop relationships with trusted peers with whom they can be vulnerable. “I listened to a podcast by Carey Nieuwhof, who shared how he began a new habit with a friend. Every night before bed, they text three sentences to each other: the best part of their day, the worst part of their day, and something they would like prayer for. A pastor friend who also heard the podcast asked, ‘Do you want to try this?’ Now, 3 ½ years later, we’re still doing this daily, and it makes a huge difference for me.”

It has been said that church leaders should ask themselves, “Would our community miss us if we weren’t here?” Center Point Church began in Mountain Lake 90 years ago and has increasingly poured into this rural southwestern community with each successive decade. David and Marie Savage anticipate more spiritual breakthroughs for the men, women, students, and children of Mountain Lake.