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pastor jonathan

Jonathan Heierman

senior pastor ext. 203

Jonathan began his Christian journey shortly after his birth when he was baptized on December 22, 1957 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He grew up in a Christian family and in a church of Lutheran heritage and learned well at an early age the Bible stories of our faith and the meaning of God's grace (unconditional love and forgiveness), which is the central message of our church.He studied Martin Luther's Small Catechism and confirmed his faith in the ninth grade at Calvary Lutheran Church, Chillicothe, Ohio.

At Indiana University Jonathan studied anthropology and geology.

While at college he questioned the faith of his childhood, drifted from the church, and explored and sought spiritual fulfillment and knowledge in a variety of places, including the Himalayas of Nepal and the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona

He also worked seasonally for over a decade as a National Park Service ranger-naturalist mostly in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming.

During this time Jonathan reconnected with Debbie, a high school classmate he had originally met in the Jr. High trombone section. On December 27, 1981 they were married in a service they developed and wrote themselves.

Today they delight in being partners not only in marriage but also in ministry, and Debbie is on Calvary's staff as the Director of Spiritual Development. Together they have two wonderful and active growing boys, Adam and Nathan.

Jonathan received his surprising call to ministry in 1983 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio while preparing to attend medical school. There the Holy Spirit dramatically moved him back into the life of the church and relentlessly urged him toward seminary training at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus.

As part of the four years of seminary, Jonathan completed an internship in Lynwood, California (urban Los Angeles) and a unit of clinical pastoral education at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

He was ordained a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on August 14, 1988, and both he and Debbie were called by the ELCA Division for Global Mission to serve as long-term missionaries in Madagascar.

While engaged in language study in France, Debbie experienced serious complications following Adam's birth and they were forced to return to the United States to seek continued medical treatment rather than continue on to Madagascar.

Jonathan then received a call to serve at Joy of Christ Lutheran Church in Pearl City, Hawaii where they served in ministry from August 1989 until August 1998. With Jonathan's leadership this congregation grew from about 60 at worship to over 175 in a highly mobile military and very multicultural environment.

While in Hawaii Jonathan experienced a "conversion" from "head to heart" faith and experienced the power of a much more personal and intimate relationship with Jesus as savior. He also learned the importance of developing new approaches to ministry within our Lutheran heritage in order to share the old old story in ever fresh ways and the necessity of continuing to be a missionary in our increasingly unchurched United States.

In the spring of 1998 the Holy Spirit was again at work calling the Heierman's away from Hawaii and towards Calvary in Clarkston. Pastor Robert Walters (Calvary's senior pastor for 29 years from 1971 to 2000) was preparing to retire and the congregation was seeking to call their next senior pastor so they could overlap ministries for a time as part of the transition and keep up the momentum of growth.

Pastor Jonathan accepted God's calling to serve as Calvary's Senior Pastor in order to build on Calvary's vital and strong ministry, to guide the next steps in ministry growth, and to lead the congregation innovatively and with vision into the 21st century.

As Senior Pastor at Calvary Jonathan's primary roles and responsibilities are to be our:

  • spiritual leader
  • preacher and teacher of the faith
  • head coach of the staff and congregation so that we focus our efforts and effectively recruit and equip others to serve in ministry
  • visionary and planner
  • stewardship leader so that we mobilize the people and monetary resources of our congregation for the mission God is calling us to, and
  • administrator and entrepreneurial CEO with general oversight of the church so that the staff, structures and programs support mission and do not stifle growth.
  • When not at the church, Pastor Jonathan enjoys time with his family, travel, new learning and adventures, reading, eating interesting food, and outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkeling, backpacking and gardening. He is the primary cook in the Heierman family and especially enjoys international cooking.

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