We are Chad and Kirstin Magnuson, and we both grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and met each other in high school. After marriage and many years of hard work, we felt we had “arrived” at our dream life.
In the Bible, when Nehemiah learned that his hometown was in ruins, he was moved deeply: “I sat down and wept and mourned for days” (1:4). What’s more, he felt compelled to leave his prominent place in a faraway land to rebuild it (2:5). In a similar way, the Lord has broken our hearts for the people of our homeland, and we feel compelled to help rebuild what’s been ruined.
After growing up in Wisconsin, we married one another and dove head first into our careers. Our work took us to Virginia, where we chased success. We thought we had it all: fulfilling vocations as a university professor of psychology and licensed marriage and family therapist, three delightful children, close friendships, and a thriving family life. Like Nehemiah, we enjoyed this “palace” life in a distant land.
Then came the holy disruption: we received a sudden, surprising call to pastoral ministry. During the next 3 years of prayerful discernment, the Lord confirmed this call through visions, dreams, and prophetic words.
Finally, in 2018, after 9 years of Chad’s teaching in higher education, our family embraced a new level of sacrifice, leaving our comfortable, stable, predictable life for a life of Gospel risk to prepare for pastoral ministry. We relocated our family to the suburbs of Chicago to train in a church planting residency at Church of the Resurrection.
In the summer of 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic, we moved to Appleton to begin the work of starting a new church. We are thrilled to be back in the Fox Cities and part of the renewing work that God is doing here!