Growing up in Menomonee Falls, Wis. as the son of a pastor, Jonathan Kruschel had a front row seat from which he was able to observe firsthand what would become his future career.

Kruschel said he did not know the exact time when he ultimately determined that he would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I think it just grew within me,” said Kruschel, who most recently served as an associate pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls.

Having studied in a Christian grade school, Kruschel went on to prep school and college in Watertown, Wis.

Following seminary, Kruschel was ordained and began his ministry in Burke, S.D. He served as a pastor for three congregations in that area.

“I did services at all three churches each weekend,” said Kruschel, “one on Saturday and two Sunday.”

Kruschel continued serving in that role for five-and-a-half years.

Then he received a call to move east into Minnesota to a church in a community called Redwood Falls. He answered the call to serve St. John Lutheran Church in 1987, and for the next three decades he would serve as an associate pastor for that congregation.

“I had never even heard of Redwood Falls,” said Kruschel.

While Kruschel enjoyed the time he spent in South Dakota, the move to Redwood Falls meant working with a larger congregation, and it gave his family an opportunity they were seeking.

The local church also had a Christian school, which is where the Kruschel children attended while they were growing up as part of the community. 

As an associate pastor, Kruschel filled various roles from working with youth to preaching and teaching.

“What I was doing changed a number of times,” Kruschel explained, adding during the 33-and-a-half years he was in Redwood Falls he served in all aspects of ministry.

What Kruschel was doing really depended on the other pastor who was also serving the local congregation.

During his time in Redwood Falls Kruschel served with five different pastors.

When Kruschel initially came to Redwood Falls he was not planning on spending more than 33 years at St. John’s.

However, as his ministry there continued, Kruschel enjoyed what he was doing, and so he stayed.

Initially Kruschel had planned to retire in 2021, but with the challenges presented by the pandemic, Kruschel opted to step down earlier.

Kruschel said he is truly going to miss the people of all ages he has been able to minister with in the community.

The Kruschels have settled closer to family and are adapting to their new surroundings.

Kruschel has not closed the door on new ministry opportunities in the future, but for now he is just going to enjoy life.