By Jacob Benoy
As soon as we got the job shadow assignment, I already had an idea of which profession I wanted to job shadow; a pastor. After reaching out to multiple pastors at different churches, I was able to work with a pastor from Peace Church, a Lutheran church in Eau Claire.
David Forke is one of four pastors at Peace Church. His official position is Associate Pastor for Community Life. This position includes both the general responsibilities of a pastor and the specific responsibilities of a pastor for community life. His general pastor duties include leading in worship, preaching, leading Bible studies, going out on visitation to those in the hospital and others who cannot make it to the regular worship services, going to meetings with the church staff, organizing volunteers, and participating in weddings and funerals.
Forke’s job specifically is to provide ministry that brings people together in a Christian community. These duties include working with the youth and children ministry, being responsible for the church library, helping plan the Wednesday night meal program, and planning retreats. One of the things he stressed was most important about his job was building relationships with everyone, not just one kind of person.
For his educational background, he talked about getting his bachelor’s degree in education at a synodical school, as well as the year of internship that was required to attain that degree. After graduating from his undergrad college, he moved on to seminary to study how to be a pastor. He spent three years in seminary and spent another year after that in the field interning at a church. This attributed to his pre-professional work, having to have so many hours of field experience during his internships.
Due to his various duties, Forke’s schedule varied day to day, making shadowing him a bit interesting. I got to watch him go out and connect with people, getting to see him relate to different people. Afterwards, we talked more about his job and some of his past jobs. He told me how his jobs in a factory and packing frozen meat actually helped him as a pastor. Through those jobs, he was able to better understand others better and able to better connect with blue-collar workers where their job was just that to them; a job. He talked to me again about how important it is to his job to be able to connect and form relationships with all sorts of people.