Homer Dobson preached his first sermon when he was 18, and since that day he has never really stopped doing it; now 87, Dobson has been serving in the pulpit for almost 69 years, with the majority of those years spent in two southern Minnesota congregations.
Homer Dobson preached his first sermon when he was 18, and since that day he has never really stopped doing it.
Now 87, Dobson has been serving in the pulpit for almost 69 years, with the majority of those years spent in two southern Minnesota congregations.
Having grown up in Cherokee, Iowa, Dobson said he had a pastor at his church who encouraged the youth of the church to seriously consider a life of ministry.
“I accepted that as a challenge,” said Dob-son, who knew from an early age he would pursue a life in full-time ministry. “I consider my life as an instrument being used to help people.”
After graduating from high school and marrying his high school sweetheart, Betty (the two are going to be married for 69 years in December), Dobson headed to Dakota Bible College where he learned the ins and outs of full-time ministry and how he could best serve God.
During his time in college, Dobson worked with churches, and after earning his degree he began working in a church that was in Huron, S.D.
The first four years of his ministry were in South Dakota, but then in the late 40s he began hearing another call from God.
“We went to Tracy, and I started at the Church of Christ there in 1948,” said Dobson. “I retired from preaching there in 2001.”
Four years after beginning his ministry in southern Minnesota, Dobson responded to another call.
“In 1952 I also started serving the church here in Lamberton,” he said, as he sat in the Lamberton Church of Christ sanctuary.
Over the next several decades, Dobson traveled the 18 miles between the two communities every Sunday morning.
“Years ago it would take me 15 minutes,” Dobson said, adding a few yellow pieces of paper convinced him the trip should take a little longer.
Dobson would start his Sunday mornings in Lamberton, and then get in his vehicle to make the trip back to Tracy for worship.
He added in those early years there were also services Sunday night, as well as each Wednesday. That means during any given week he could be preaching a minimum of five times.
“I very much enjoyed being part of both of these churches,” said Dobson, who continues to serve as the pastor in Lamberton.
He said there are about 40 members of the church, and each Sunday he still leads the worship and offers the message.
Dobson said he has had great people to work with at both congregations over the years, adding that is what he believes has led to the success of his long-time ministry.
“I also learned not to be out of town for a board meeting,” he said with a laugh.
While Dobson committed his time to serving the churches in both Tracy and Lam-berton, he also was active in community.
Dobson served on a number of boards, including the community health board in Tracy and the board for West-ern Mental Health.
Dobson also served two terms as mayor for the City of Tracy.
At the state level, Dobson was also called on to serve on the governor’s commission on crime control.
Being active, he said, has been important for him, because it helped him get out and meet the people in the community, and it allowed him to be an influence on what was going on in town.
Dobson said he spent time ministering to the congregations he served, but on a consistent basis there were also others in the community who would come to see him about issues they were facing, too. Dobson said he was always willing to listen and help people as he was able.
Continuing in his service in Lamberton was an easy decision, said Dobson.
“This church is so loving, and the people seem to appreciate me,” he said. “I certainly appreciate them and their kindness.”
While Dobson is still preaching each Sun-day and serving the congregation, the plan is for him to step down relatively soon.
“Our son, Tom, is moving back from Calif-ornia, and he is going to serve the Lamberton church,” said Dobson.
Over the years, Dobson said he has many fond memories of his time in ministry, and in Lamberton he especially enjoys what is known as Cycle Sunday. The event is held each summer at Kuhar Park just outside of Lamberton.
“It started when we noticed a group of guys in the church were riding motorcycles,” said Dobson, who still drives his Honda. “We decided to have people ride their motorcycles one Sunday, and that week the church was packed. So, we decided we would do it every year. Now it is so big we have to have it at the park.”
As the adventurous type, Dobson also said he had his own plane, but five years ago he decided to get rid of it and quit flying.
Now he just spends time driving around in his restored 1931 Model A Ford and his 1964 Chevy Corvair.
Another tradition Dobson said he looks forward to is the annual Thanksgiving service, which includes special music from the congregation. Dobson, who considers himself a traditional preacher, said he enjoys sharing about church doctrine.
Yet, he added, he also enjoys talking about everyday life and how people need to have a dynamic faith for a dying world.
Dobson sees the church has changed over the years, as fewer people are attending. He believes people just don’t have that level of commitment when it comes to spiritual things.
Looking back at his ministry, Dobson said he has appreciated how Betty served right along with him.
“She has demonstrated a devotion and dedication to serving that I have always appreciated,” he said.
Even in retirement, one can be sure Dobson is not the kind who plans to take residence in a rocking chair. After all there is ministry left to do.