Alumni profile: Pastor Joel Arndt embraces the role of pastor in Detroit Lakes, MN
Posted March 14th, 2017
What does it look like when a Crown College graduate embraces his calling in ministry? For Rev. Joel Arndt, it means learning to understand his own congregation and their needs, to adapt and grow in his own faith and maturity, and to learn how to meet people along their own path.
In this interview, we asked Pastor Arndt to explain how he started serving as a pastor, which is currently at the Community Alliance Church in Detroit Lakes.
Pastor Arndt graduated from Crown College (then St. Paul Bible College) in 1987 with a degree in missions. He has a Master of Divinity from Bethel University. He has taught online courses at Crown College and maintains contact with college on a regular basis.
What is your current role and how did you wind up in that role?
Currently I am the Senior Pastor of Community Alliance Church in Detroit Lakes, MN. I came to Detroit Lakes following ten years of pastoral ministry in Glendive, MT.
What have you learned recently about how to help people grow in a church?
I was recently at a meeting where we discussed the concept of exegeting your congregation. This is taking an honest look at where the people of your congregation are. One way of doing this is through a simple set of questions. What are you thanking God for? What are you trusting God for? Recently I asked the congregation to take two minutes in the service to answer these questions. The response was incredible and has served to show me a window into the soul of the people of the church. I plan to incorporate these responses into the preparation of future messages.
What are the favorite parts of your job and why?
I love preaching! I love it when you see the lights go on in people’s eyes. To be a sharer of the truth of God’s word in a down to earth way is such joy. In addition to preaching at the church in Detroit Lakes, Becca and I are the pastoral care couple for our IW’s (International Workers for the Christian & Missionary Alliance church) in Cambodia. It is a privilege to be able to bring God’s word to these precious servants. I also love to get out with the people of the congregation. The area where we live is a sportsman’s paradise and this affords numerous opportunities to get out and go fishing and hiking with different men. I find these times to be rich as men are far more open to share their hearts when they are in fishing or hiking.
Is there a challenge you’ve had as a pastor that you’ve learned to overcome?
While pastoring in Montana I went through a time where there was conflict in the church. Upon meeting with the District Superintendent he kindly said that he recognized I had a very competitive spirit and that I liked to win. His words to me while hard were life-giving. I had to learn to listen to people and not defend myself and if warranted to ask for forgiveness. This is an ongoing lesson that I am continually working towards.
When you look back at Crown, what are some things you remember learning?
I fondly remember being in Jack Stimmel’s Gospel of John class. He taught and spoke with such a love for God’s word that it caused me to really look again at how I viewed scripture. When I was a junior I took intro to preaching with Dr. Smith. As I watched Dr. Smith I was moved by his passion to preach the word of God. He instilled in me a love for preaching that has carried through to this day.
What has God been teaching you lately about being a pastor?
God has been teaching me the importance of Sabbath. The church I pastor is a beehive of activity. There are always things calling for my attention. It has been an amazing journey to watch God bring rest and strength during this time. I have many requests upon my time but I have been learning that when we faithfully give to God what is His He takes care of those things at the moment seem so pressing.