Kristy Liebe has been selected as the Pastoral Care Pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Milbank, filling the void Pastor DeVern Schwenn left when he retired in February. Kristy’s full title is Pastoral Care Pastor and Children’s Ministry Pastor. She will also continue as the Kids Hope director, a position she has held since 2002.
As the Pastoral Care Pastor, she visits shut-ins, residents in nursing homes, and patients in the hospital. She also leads the Vespers services at all three long-term care facilities in Milbank and will lead the regular church service at Central four times this year. Kristy is also available to listen to and pray with those in need.
As the Children’s Ministry Pastor, she oversees the children’s programs for nursery through fifth grade students. This includes the Sunday school program, Wednesday night children’s program, and Vacation Bible School. Plus, she will continue to run her summer camp at Lake Poinsett as she has done the past five years.
Kristy talked about the power of prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit and how it changed her life. Until recently, her position as director of Kids Hope at Central Church was a part-time position. She also satisfied her love for children by substitute teaching at Koch School. “I was subbing one day, standing in the back of a classroom and praying to God for direction,” Kristy explained. “I had been struggling the last few months with my career and God gave me definite signs of where he wanted me.”
Later that day, she was at the church and Pastor Thom Bowsher told her “he felt God had been laying some things on his heart.” Thom asked Kristy to take the position as Pastoral Care Pastor. “I just stood there and tears poured down my face. I was in such awe of God’s answer to my prayers.”
Despite the feeling that God had given her direction, Kristy needed support. “I went home that night and talked to my husband about what had transpired. I thought he would tell me the job wasn’t for me, but instead he surprised me by saying I should consider accepting it.” As if that wasn’t enough, during her devotional the next morning, her lesson centered around the book of Jonah. Most people recall God called Jonah to take a message to Nineveh, but he ran away instead and ended up in the belly of a whale. It is considered one of the best illustrations of the folly of ignoring the Lord’s call.
“So, God knocked me on the head pretty hard and I knew this was where he was leading me, ” Kristy said. “The timing couldn’t be better and I feel honored to be a disciple of the Lord and blessed to work with the wonderful staff at Central. It has been an adjustment, as with any new job, but I am really enjoying it. I think I am going to like working with the extremes – the young and the old – and find ways to tie those two groups together.”
Kristy is a 1990 Milbank High School graduate. She obtained a psychology degree from the University of Sioux Falls in 1994 before returning to Milbank. She later earned her teaching certificate at South Dakota State University and worked as a paraprofessional in the Milbank schools. She plans to obtain her master’s degree this fall.
Kristy’s husband, Jason, is a local farmer. The couple has four children. Alex, 21, attends college at NDSU in Fargo, ND. Still at home is Maddy, 16, Max, 13, and Carter, 8.
Kristy can be contacted at Central United Methodist Church at 605-432-4766.