June 21, 2024


Education is everything you need

IN THE SPIRIT: Grand Forks feels like home to campus pastor – Grand Forks Herald


In the center of the Sea of Galilee, Chad Brucklacher acquired divine affirmation about one thing he’d been pondering.

A spiritual experiments big at the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.), Chad’s endorsement came from 1 of God’s very own ordained.

“I professional a vacation to the Holy Land,” Chad claimed, “and the tour host, a feminine pastor from Indiana, stopped me and claimed, ‘I have a sense you need to have to be in the ministry.’

“I felt psyched and fearful. It was a thing I had been pondering about. I could see myself executing that but I was blown out of the water.”

Spouse and children devotions as a child, bedtime prayers with his parents, conversations about faith remaining a important section of lifetime, teen Bible camp ministry, even the vacation to the Holy Land, all melded to make the Rev. Chad Brucklacher the guy he is nowadays — pastor at Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Center at UND.

Chad, 41, his spouse, Sonja, also an ordained Lutheran pastor, and their children, Julia, 12, and Jordan, 10, moved to Grand Forks in July. Chad was mounted at Christus Rex in Oct, filling the place the Rev. Tim Megorden held for 17 yrs. In 2007, Megorden grew to become campus pastor at Concordia School, Moorhead. Sonja is executing pulpit fill in area ELCA churches.

9 yrs of parish ministry geared up Chad for campus ministry, a position his coronary heart has generally longed to be.

In January 2008, when Chad heard of the opening at Christus Rex, “it was incredibly enjoyable,” he said. “There are 187 (ELCA) campus ministries, and UND is just one of the most prolific web sites, one of the very best we have as a model. I thought this was a very good opportunity that I need to check out.”

1st, there was a February phone interview and then a March on-site job interview. Chad returned in April for a different interview with the 12-member call committee, which involved Kathy Fick, campus minister/director. “It had a ripple impact, and the exhilaration held setting up,” Chad stated.

On the 1st go to, Kathy mentioned she could convey to Chad “had a genuine feeling of calling to campus ministry. He also had pleasure for present-dependent ministry, that means rather than looking at what individuals need to have, we seem at the presents they deliver to bless this group. Chad was thrilled about a reward-based mostly ministry. Not every person is passionate about that type. Each of us shared a passion for Bible research and word and sacrament ministry. It can be a good match.”

Lynne Hynek, an Altru Healthcare facility nurse who graduated from UND in May well 2008, also served on the simply call committee. “Chad’s profile was remarkable,” Lynne reported. “We have been extremely fascinated in him, and you could tell he was intrigued in us. He had carried out his homework. He greeted me by my initially identify, and he had only seen me in a photo. His foundation was stable, and he was prepared to check out with college students wherever their religion may possibly direct them.”

Chad tells me Brucklacher, pronounced “brook locker,” is German for “bridge” and “laughter.”

He grew up on a dairy farm in close proximity to Freeman, S.D. Even during his confirmation many years, he was “internalizing a great deal,” about his faith. His first sermon was as a significant faculty junior Luther Leaguer.

But it was all through his religious scientific studies classes that Chad started to thoroughly realize how he came to consider in God and why.

“It was my campus pastor,” Chad said. “I was seriously impressed with his participation, and he affirmed my sense of contacting. I imagined if I go into the ministry, I might like to do what he is executing, doing the job with college or university learners. By the time I completed college, I realized I was likely to go through the approach of ordained ministry. “

Before seminary, nevertheless, Chad qualified with Tentmakers Ministry. Its eyesight is to have youthful men and women and grown ups with non secular maturity work jointly to broaden the Kingdom of God till the return of Jesus. With Tentmakers, Chad used one year in Pine River, Minn., and 4 several years in Buffalo, Minn.

In 1994, he entered Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, where by he fulfilled Sonja in historic Greek class. They married in 1995.

Following three decades of seminary, Chad hoped to do a campus ministry internship, but that did not get the job done out, so he and Sonja experienced internships in Wisconsin church buildings, where “I realized a lot about becoming a pastor,” Chad reported. The couple then returned to Wartburg and graduated in 1998.

“You are not able to just bounce from seminary into campus ministry,” Chad reported. “They (ELCA Synod) want you to 1st have a few yrs of parish ministry.” His a few years turned into 9.

Initially, Chad was named to a rural Beresford, S.D., congregation, and Sonja to a congregation right in Beresford. “As we ended up residing as new pastors and young mothers and fathers, we realized a large amount about getting each,” Chad explained.

He served rural Beresford for 4 many years. Sonja served in Beresford for 3 a long time and throughout the border in Akron, Iowa, for one particular year. Through the remaining yr there, “we ended up striving to handle a daughter attending very first grade in Beresford and a son in working day treatment in Akron,” Chad mentioned. “We would meet up with in the middle of nowhere to trade off children.”

Their up coming contact was to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Gillette, Wyo., the place they served as co-pastors for five a long time.

“A whole lot of fantastic matters came as a consequence of that,” Chad mentioned. “Our guardian/pastor hats ended up extra conveniently worn. We worked properly alongside one another, and we each sense we have complementary presents. I take pleasure in the community persona, Sonja enjoys the driving the scenes. She’s an elementary training key, and she enjoys performing with the very young and the outdated. I have normally liked operating with teens and younger older people.”

So, it appears to be that Chad has occur property to Christus Rex.

“It is really wonderful to finally get there at a place you have envisioned for yourself,” he claimed. “What I’m enduring is that this is a definitely fantastic phone for me, and I am in the ideal position. Staying a campus pastor is uniquely different. I want to be mindful to do additional programming of social gatherings so we can be intentional about building interactions with learners.”

Talking of home, Chad and Sonja both equally have roots in North Dakota. “Her loved ones came from the Rugby and Fessenden spot,” Chad reported. “My grandmother, Lillian Hagen, lives in Stanley, and I have an aunt and uncle in Minot.”

With his mother and father retired but still on the farm, “Grand Forks has turn into a hub for family members gatherings,” Chad additional. “Even though in seminary and on our 1st and next calls, we experienced a sense it didn’t experience like household. This has possible to really feel like household. I have a excellent sensation for both my career and being rooted.”

Dunavan is a Herald columnist. Reach her at (218) 773-9521 or

[email protected]



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