Local pastor to be featured on KFXB
By Molly Moser
Tyler Strickfaden never wanted to be a pastor. In fact, he says it was the last thing he wanted to do.
“I don’t like standing in front of people. I’m very comfortable to be in the background,” he says. “In 2007, I felt the call to be a pastor from God. I didn’t want to do it, so I ran from it for a year.” Strickfaden says that year was one of the worst of his life. “I’ve never felt such a lack of peace.”
“The moment that I said okay, fine, I’ll do what you want me to do, it was like instantly, peace was restored,” says Strickfaden. “Ever since then, I’ve loved it.”
Strickfaden studied with the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago while continuing to work at a grocery store. He became an associate pastor at a church in Benton, Wis., and it was there that he met his wife, Stacie. The couple has two children, Caden (age 7), and three-month-old Titus.
At Christmastime last year, Strickfaden was offered another opportunity. When an interim pastor at Living Water Bible Fellowship (LWBF), located along Highway 52 in Guttenberg, met Strickfaden during a gathering in Wisconsin, he mentioned the church. “He said, ‘I’m at this church right now that’s looking for a pastor,’ nudge nudge, wink wink,” smiles Strickfaden. Though the opportunity came as a surprise, Strickfaden and his wife visited Living Water and prayed over the decision. “We felt this is where God wanted us to be,” he says. That realization was a large part of the reason they relocated to Guttenberg in May, but Strickfaden says there was another determining factor. When asked, “Why Guttenberg?”, he says without hesitation, “The people. They are fantastic, and so welcoming. They care about what’s going on in each other’s lives.”
Like most new pastors, Strickfaden had to hit the ground running when he began his work at LWBF. In addition to lending his ear to those who need sound practical and biblical guidance, he and Stacie lend their musical talents to services every other Sunday. He recently began a well-attended men’s Bible study, which meets at 9:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month.
Living Water Bible Fellowship is made up of about 70 worshippers. It began in 2000 as a home Bible study, and then moved its meetings to Guttenberg Public Library. The church incorporated in 2004, and outgrew two more locations before moving to its current setting. LWBF was received as a member church of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) on March 2, 2009.
What, exactly, is an Evangelical Free Church? “We preach from God’s word,” explains Strickfaden. “That’s our source for wisdom, for learning, for guidance, for everything.”
For those interested in learning more about LWBF’s senior pastor and the church itself, Strickfaden will give a half-hour television interview followed by a half-hour message on KFXB’s weekly program, Coming Home. KFXB is a Christian television station operated out of Dubuque, and Coming Home is a program focused on introducing area pastors. Strickfaden will be featured on the program at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 26. Mediacom viewers can tune in to channel 12, and others can view the episode on Youtube.
This year, Strickfaden celebrates his first Christmas as a senior pastor. He has several big goals for the New Year. Developing a youth program at LWBF tops the list, and another move is imminent. The church will soon outgrow its fifth location in 13 years. “We can seat 78 in our sanctuary, and we are at 80% capacity. It’s time to start looking,” Strickfaden told The Press.
Although Strickfaden admits he still gets nervous every Sunday over being in front of a crowd, his audience has nothing but positive things to say about their new pastor.
“We count our blessings every day that Pastor Tyler and Stacie decided to move to Guttenberg and pastor our church in joyful worship,” said Kevin Hennessey, a member of LWBF.
“Pastor Tyler and his family have been received well by our growing church family. Pastor T, as we endearingly call him, has brought a high level of energy, consistency, and continuity to our church services, our congregation, and our local community,” Hennessey told The Press. “He also brings a tempered spirit and healthy sense of humor that allows us to find peace and joy while in his presence.”