Mike Otterstatter, pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls, has been serving the community for a little more than six years, and in that time he has established relationships he is convinced are going to last a lifetime.
“God has done some amazing things here over the last six years,” said Otterstatter. “It is wonderful to see what he has done. It has been my privilege to be here.”
Otterstatter, who was installed in May 2007 at the local church, has been called to a new ministry at Martin Luther College in New Ulm.
Otterstatter admitted he never really thought much about leaving St. John’s, adding the church and the community have felt like home for him.
“I feel like I grew up here,” he said, adding the community’s culture was a lot like the place where he did call home.
“The people have felt like family,” he said, adding that includes people in the congregation as well as those who he met through other venues in the community.
Whether it was seeing someone he knew at the grocery store or at some public event, Otterstatter said he and his family always felt welcomed.
“The community experience we have had has been awesome,” he said.
In his new role as vice president of missions advancement, Otterstat-ter is going to be working in a variety of capacities at the college, including serving on the administrative council with the college president and the other vice-presidents.
That means taking a role in the operations of the college as they im-pact students and faculty.
Another area of focus is in alumni relations, as he helps coordinate special events at the college, whether that is choir concerts or sports tournaments. He not only is going to work with the logistics of getting those events going but also in interacting with the diversity of people who are visiting the campus.
The role also means being away from home more often, as he visits congregations nationwide.
“I will be out promoting the college in churches,” Otterstatter said.
After nearly 20 years in ministry, Otterstatter said this is the first time he is going to be working outside of the traditional pastoral role, and he knows that is going to be different.
Otterstatter admitted he is going to miss the everyday life of a church pastor, but added he is looking forward to the new opportunity.
“I will miss having that relationship you develop with a congregation,” said Otterstatter, adding he really enjoyed that chance he had at St. John’s.
Otterstatter has been involved in the college as a member of the governing board, and he said that work is going to continue – just in a different way and on a larger scale.
Page 2 of 2 - While Otterstatter is not going to be preaching regularly Sunday mornings, he is going to have the chance to preach at the college during chapel events, and as he travels from church to church across the U.S., he said the chance to preach in those churches is going to exist.
Otterstatter said he received the call from the college and then deliberated and prayed about it for some time before he determined this is where God was calling him.
“I feel highly privileged to be serving in this way,” he said, adding he is excited to know he is going to be involved with helping prepare the next generations of preachers and teachers as they learn at the school.
Otterstatter said he felt privileged to be at the local church when it built the new school, and he is confident that facility is going to serve the community well for a long time.
It is his hope the ministry he was able to do at the local church can continue, and he knows God is going to call the right person to the church as the new pastor for the congregation.
“I am going to miss this congregation and the community,” he said.
A special time of fellowship is being held this Sunday at St. John’s church to say farewell to the Otterstatter family. The event is being held in the fellowship hall following the second worship service that morning.
A light meal and short program are going to be held. The community is invited to attend.