Living Word Lutheran Church has welcomed its new pastor, Kent Groethe. His wife, Kay, will serve as the new Director of Youth Ministries. The... New Pastor to Lead Living Word Church

Living Word Lutheran Church has welcomed its new pastor, Kent Groethe. His wife, Kay, will serve as the new Director of Youth Ministries.

The Groethes moved to Milbank from Arizona, but are originally from Minnesota – Kent from St. Cloud and Kay from Park Rapids. The couple met while attending Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. They also raised their three children while living in Minnesota.

They most recently resided in Fountain Hills, Arizona near Scottsdale. “We loved Arizona, but had forgotten how much we missed small towns,” Pastor Kent says. “ And Milbank is really beautiful.”

He served three years at a church in Fountain Hills as an assistant pastor. “The pastor had cancer, and God wanted me there to assist. We thought we would finish our careers there, but then realized it was going to be short term.”

While many people fight change, Pastor Kent’s ministry embraces it. In almost 30 years – he began in 1988- he has served seven different denominations and was an intentional interim minister for 12 of those years. “I served congregations in the denominations of Nazarene, E-Free, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, and three Lutheran churches. “It’s been really cool because each group of Christians has something different they emphasize, but each group agrees on the basic beliefs that make a Christian.”

Pastor Kent says he is best known for his leadership skills. “I have led for 20 years, and that is what I am best at. Even though life in Arizona was great, we realized God wanted us to move on. I needed to lead again.”

He says he was drawn to the Living Word Church by their vision. “Instead of advertising things they wanted a pastor to do, they said they wanted someone with a passion for Jesus Christ and someone to challenge them to do more and go farther. That was exciting to me, and that’s what I do. I help bring direction and vision. So, this is a great fit.”

Living Word Lutheran Church

The former pastor, Craig Werling, left Living Word Church almost exactly a year ago. “While a year seems like a long time, it’s about average in choosing a new pastor.” Pastor Kent says. “Most congregations take a lot of time to look at who they are, what they want, and where they want to go before they even advertise. That process can take months, and then the call process itself can also take six months. So, a year without a lead pastor is common.”

Pastor Kent’s hobby is also centered around the church and is what many people would consider a full-time career. He has written and published 13 Bible studies and several Christian books on a wide variety of topics. “It’s funny,” he says. “When I came to Milbank to interview, I found out that Living Word was using my curriculum in its Sunday school and confirmation programs, and a women’s group was using one of my Bible studies. But writing is my hobby; I do it for fun.”

Pastor Kent and Kay also started a Lutheran magazine called Connections. At first, the couple produced the publication themselves, but sold the magazine to Sola Publishing. “However, we still write, edit, and work for the magazine.” He is currently the magazine’s executive editor and also in charge of ads and rates. Kay works in the sales and marketing division.

Kay has her own hobby, too. She loves horses, but has spent the past 10 years without her horse. Now that the couple has moved to a rural area, Kay is excited about plans to bring her horse to Milbank and start riding again.

Pastor Kent says he looks forward to working alongside his wife. “She worked with the youth at our previous church, but we will be able to work together more now than any other time in my ministry. We both love kids. She will take the lead, but I want to be part of the youth ministry, too. We need to make sure kids are loved and mentored by as many people as possible.”

Staff Writer

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