Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2007

A pastor with a purpose

June 28, 2007

When Al Wolfe moved to Lansing from Atchison 10 years ago, he felt he had been called to do one thing to start a church from scratch.

Wolfe worked two full-time jobs at first to come up with the money to pay for the upkeep of the 70-year-old building that now houses the Bethel Tabernacle on East Eisenhower Road, and he still ended up maxing out three credit cards and having to take out a second mortgage to keep his vision alive.

Al Wolfe

Al Wolfe

"It was a big struggle there for the first couple years," Wolfe said. "But we're really starting to see some progress : especially this year things have been going well."

Wolfe, an ordained Pentecostal minister who still works full time in the auto shop at the Bonner Springs Wal-Mart, places an emphasis on youth ministry for his small congregation, which he said has around nine regular adult attendees.

"The kids normally outnumber the adults four to one," said Wolfe, who hopes to have a vacation Bible school in August.

He's holding out hope he can procure two new vans, to use to transport congregation members to and from the church.

Wolfe is used to subsistence living, though.

He used to preach on the streets before coming to Lansing, and, in Atchison, he lived outside of his means to run a shelter home on one side of a duplex he owned.

"If I can help someone out, I do," Wolfe said. "And this is my way of doing that."

"If I see people grow in their relationship with Christ and can be part of that, for me that's what it's all about. That's the main goal."

Wolfe encouraged anyone interested in attending the Bethel Tabernacle to join him for Sunday service at 10 a.m. or a Thursday evening service at 6:30 p.m.

NAME: The Rev. Al Wolfe

ADDRESS: 704 E. Eisenhower Road

OCCUPATION: Pastor, Bethel Tabernacle, and auto shop technician at the Bonner Springs Wal-Mart

FAMILY: Cheryl, wife

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN LANSING AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? "We moved in March of 1997; specifically, we came to start a church."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LANSING? "I don't know. I like the neighborhood where I live at and the flat land where we're living. Our house is nice and comfortable."

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? "I would say fishing, but last year I got that done three times. Fishing and gardening."

WHAT MIGHT SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? "I guess the idea that as a pastor I'm rather sociable; I'm pretty funny."

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED? "I guess 'make sure before you start' because I didn't have a lot of backing from folks even Christian friends when I came down here."

WHAT CLUBS OR ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU BELONG TO? President of the Abundant Grace Evangelistic Association

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