Dave Rupp is not what one would consider a traditional pastor. In fact, it took several decades for the new minister at Christ’s Victory Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls to answer the call.
Having grown up on a farm a few miles from Westbrook and graduating in 1972, the ministry was not on Rupp’s mind.
Actually, at that time Uncle Sam was on his mind, as Rupp was drafted into the U.S. Army and served from 1972-75.
When he finished his stint with the military, Rupp used the GI Bill to earn a degree in ag business, and then he went home to farm with his dad.
All along, another plan was in the works, though, even if Rupp did not know it. God had different ideas for him, and that plan would take him on a journey that includes more than 31 years of sobriety and three decades of helping others with chemical dependency issues.
Having earned degrees in psychology and sociology from SSU in Marshall, Rupp began a career in counseling that has focused on helping others.
He has served in various roles including working with individuals more recently at the Golden LivingCenter in Wabasso and opening his own location in Windom.
“I opened the Agape Counseling Center in 2010,” said Rupp, who also has a masters degree in counseling from Luther Seminary.
As a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, Rupp has worked with a variety of people and has used that opportunity to help them see there is more to life. What he has discovered is people need more than just a positive attitude if they want to recover. His counseling focuses on a faith-based approach.
People need God in their lives, he said, and it is that spiritual aspect that can truly help people overcome the issues of addiction. Rupp believes his real-life experiences as well as his counseling experience is going to serve him well in his role at Christ’s Victory Luth-eran Church.
Having attended Luth-er Seminary and taken a number of theology classes, Rupp has discovered a passion for study of God’s word and a desire to share that with others. Although Rupp did not plan to get in-volved in ministry in the kind of capacity he is now serving, ministry has been part of his life.
It is that ministry, in-cluding serving as a pulpit supply preacher for area congregations, that initially exposed the local congregation to Rupp.
From its beginnings as a church in the LCMC, Rupp has filled the pulpit on a regular basis.
What started as a fill-in when they needed him changed, so that Rupp was making the trip from his Windom home to Redwood Falls twice a month. He watched as the congregation grew from its first days to what is has become, and he is excited to be part of this growing church with people who are passionate about their faith.
Page 2 of 2 - Rupp said when the congregation decided to establish a committee to call a minister, many members encouraged him to apply.
Rupp said as he continued to get to know the people, he felt God was calling him to this role, and so he decided to submit his resume.
To become a pastor in the LCMC, Rupp had to become certified, and that meant meeting with leadership of the LCMC.
After an interview Rupp was officially certified to serve. He was ordained Sept. 8, which is the same day he was in-stalled as the pastor at Christ’s Victory.
Rupp is currently serving as a three-quarter time pastor and continues to offer his counseling services in Windom.
He plans to be in Redwood Falls on a regular basis to get to know the community and his congregation, with the goal of meeting each member of the church on their turf. He is currently keeping office hours Friday afternoons from 1-6 p.m., but he also comes Wednesday nights for church activities.
Rupp said he never sought out ministry in this way, but has felt God sought out him.
He believes his counseling experiences are going to make him a better pastor, and his role as a pastor is going to make him a better counselor as he continues to fill that role for the region.
“I am very impressed by the people at this church,” he said. “They are very enthusiastic. They are warm, welcoming and compassionate.”
Rupp and his wife, Sydney, are excited to help the congregation find its mission as it seeks to serve God.
Calling himself a theologian of the cross, Rupp said he is just an “old sinner saved by God’s grace” who wants to help others find that same salvation.