“My education at Minnehaha in the late 70’s offered a Christian worldview that has made a huge difference in my life.” A Christian worldview refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs, or a lens, through which a follower of Jesus interprets the world and interacts with it.
A Family Commitment
Kirk came to Minnehaha his sophomore through senior year, driving from West Bloomington each day. “Students came from all over the Twin Cities--they drove from even the distant suburbs.” Many parents made a huge commitment to get their kids to the School-- the cost of tuition was a major financial investment as well as providing a car for transportation. Kirk’s mom went back to work to enable Kirk to attend. His parents had a conviction that they needed to sacrifice so Kirk could attend a high school that would provide a Christian foundation.
Kirk was taught the Christian worldview from his teachers and coaches at the school. Teachers prayed in the classroom and bore witness for Christ. The Bible was explained in a way to encourage critical thinking and understanding. Athletics had faith in Christ as the foundation. “Herr Kauls was a great example of a Godly man. My whole experience in the soccer program was fantastic. I was introduced to the beautiful world of C.S. Lewis through Rabbi Swanson’s class.”
Receiving His Call
In Kirk’s senior year, he was asked to interview someone who had a job that he thought he would enjoy. He interviewed his Youth Director from his home church. Through that experience, he felt God calling him to focus his life on students and families. Kirk got his Bachelor’s in Youth Ministry, his Master’s of Divinity thesis focused on Middle School ministry (Confirmation), and his Doctorate of Ministry dissertation focused on High School ministry. One of the things he loves most is to speak to high school students.
Kirk believes in what he calls ‘the 3 prongs’: having a Christ honoring home, attending a strong gospel teaching church with a solid student ministry, and sending your kids to a Christian school that offers a Biblical worldview throughout the teaching curriculum. “The biblical worldview MA laid as a foundation for my life affected me in a profound way as I left high school. My wife Julie and I wanted to prioritize passing that on to our kids.” This motivated Kirk and Julie to make the financial sacrifice to send all three of their kids to Park Christian School in Moorhead, MN where Kirk spent twenty-five years serving at Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church as Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Campus Pastor. In August 2015, Kirk began serving as Lead Pastor at Bethesda Lutheran Brethren Church in Eau Claire, WI.
Provisions of Faith
One of the phrases that he and wife have used for 25 years of Christian education is “do without so that you can pour within.” An older, wiser Christian man challenged Kirk that financially, especially in the United States, there is generally a way to make a Christian private school education happen. “It was a matter of saying we would take it year by year in paying for a Christian School. In our journey, we did that and asked the Lord to do supernatural things. And the Lord did supernatural things. (How come we are surprised?) The Lord sees the heart of parents willing to make a sacrifice and it’s worth the effort. You may not have the coolest clothes, the best vacation, or a new SUV. But at the end of the day, when your child graduates, you can know they have been given gospel exposure to our glorious Lord Jesus. An education like the one at Minnehaha Academy can be the roots you can give them so they have wings to soar.”
To The Students
What advice would Kirk give to current students? “Try things. Try being in a play, try being in band, go out for a fun sport, engage with leadership opportunities and realize that high school can be a launching pad---both academically and spiritually. Your parents are making a huge financial investment in you. You want to look back at these years at Minnehaha with no regrets. And oh yeah, say thank you a ton! ”