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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Gone fishin’

Pastor lives the dream as he fishes for people and bass

When Jesus called his disciples to “fish for people,” Jay Grave’s bi-vocational ministry might have been exactly what he had in mind.
 
“This is the Holy Spirit, who put these things in place,” said Grave, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Camdenton, Mo. He’s referring to both his work at Our Savior and his job as a professional tournament angler and bass fishing guide.

This partnership of pastoral work and personal passion is called bi-vocational ministry, and although preaching and bass fishing seem like an odd combination, Grave couldn’t be more thrilled.

In a confluence of events Grave claims could only be possible by divine intervention, he left his call in Minnesota and stumbled into his life as part-time pastor of Our Savior after his mother died last year.

Grave didn’t enjoy the administrative work involved in serving a large church. “I didn’t get to pastor,” he said. “And when my mother passed away and my dad decided to move to Missouri to fish, I told my wife I was going to move with him.”

In a spur-of-the-moment move, Grave took his wife and two daughters to Camdenton to help his father search for a house. During the trip, they visited a small church they had passed earlier.

“That’s when things started to get crazy,” he said.

When he walked into Our Savior, Grave was met by congregational leaders who happened to be in the building for a meeting. Grave discovered they were searching for a pastor. When the head of the call committee arrived for the meeting, he mentioned that they were looking for a pastor with a family and young children — Grave’s daughters then entered the room.

To top it all off, the committee told Grave they wouldn’t be able to pay him full time. Perfect. He was also planning a fishing guide career. Grave’s family moved to Camdenton last year. In February he was installed at Our Savior and started a bass fishing guide business.


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