Between chasing around his six kids (between the ages of 9 months and 14-years-old) and working for the family charter fishing business, Ben Maxson found some time for Lutheran Indian Ministries. As our newest employee, Ben will be taking over the Pastor position at Makah Lutheran Church in Neah Bay, as Pastor Winston eases into retirement.
It was a long and twisting road that brought Ben to Neah Bay and this position. A road that traveled through Wisconsin, Illinois, and Georgia, and included volunteer roles in outreach and music and a heavy focus on occupational ministry (ministry where you work). It was his wife, Natalie, who is Makah herself, and the pull of family that brought them back to settle in Neah Bay three years ago.
"We tried out a few churches in the area," Ben explains. "But I began talking with a member from Makah Lutheran who held his boat in the slip next to mine. I started to help with their worship music and things just kept rolling. Pastor Winston had been talking about wrapping up his time at Makah Lutheran but was looking for the right Neah Bay person, and I guess LIM thought I was that guy!"
There is no doubt that he is the right guy.
Because of his previous degree from Puget Sound Christian College, Ben has, in less than six months, been able to complete the classes necessary to becoming a Deacon (and is now preaching twice a month), while also preparing to start the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program through Concordia Seminary online. He has big and exciting plans for the LIM ministry in Neah Bay and is already doing work to get things started.
"We really want to focus on reaching the Neah Bay community as a whole. So, we're always thinking of fun ways to do that." Ben continues, "We've spent a lot of time recently on our multicultural center, updating some electricity, rebuilding the garbage shed, maintenance stuff. This week I'm starting to offer music classes to local families, piano and guitar, as a way to build relationships and to teach Jesus through music.
"But I'm really excited about growing our current child and youth ministries. We've been looking into some great children's curriculums and my big dream is to be able to start an Early Childhood Education program. The early Head Start program in our community is packed to capacity, and I want to be able to serve those families, plus is there any better way to get families through the door than to start with the littlest ones?"
We, at LIM, are thrilled to welcome Ben and his family on board and are excited to see what the future has in store for them and the Makah people of Neah Bay.