Meet David Anderson

by Pastor Heath Howe

The Rev. Dr. David Anderson is one of my greatest mentors when it comes to family ministry and passing along our faith. A co-founder of Vibrant Faith Ministries, David is a presenter, coach and author, as well as an ecumenically and internationally recognized leader in faith and family life enrichment. Over the years, David's teaching and training style has been described as inspirational and encouraging, biblically and theologically grounded, and always with an eye to the current context of daily life that needs Christ's saving grace to fill the world with faith, hope, and love. We are so blessed to have him join us on September 21st and 22nd when he will lead us in presentations, discussion, and activities that will help Holy Comforter become a leading community in the Christian movement and within the world in the coming years.

To prepare for his arrival, I conducted a small interview so the whole Holy Comforter community could get to know David a bit before he arrives. Here are some of the questions I asked him and his answers:

Who has made the greatest impact on your faith formation?

For years I would answer that by saying my campus pastor The Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop. He was the campus pastor at my college and later also at my seminary. However, the older I have become, I would say my wife Gloria. What I teach she lives so naturally. One never really outgrows some of one's family of origin and some of mine has inhibited my own faith expression at home. Gloria has been a real spiritual catalyst in our home. I think we have made a very good team, and I deeply appreciate her contributions to our faith formation growth over the years.

How did you come up with the five principles and four keys? Which are the cornerstones of Vibrant Faith Ministries?

It came out of my doctoral work at Luther Seminary. I had been a parish pastor for eight years and reentered the seminary to ask the question, "Is there such thing as a Lutheran/Christian spirituality, and, if so, what does it mean for parish ministry?" My New Testament work, my Reformation studies, and my research on modern analysis of how faith and values are passed on from generation to generation all contributed to what became the Five Principles and Four Keys. They both became solidified in my work at Vibrant Faith Ministries as we could see how the Principles and Keys actually worked for congregations. It has also been a delight to see how they also work ecumenically with a wide variety of Christian traditions.

What's your family's favorite of the four keys (caring conversations, rituals and traditions, prayer, and service)?  Why?

That's tough to answer. We are deeply committed to service of others and creation. The Four Keys are distinct but inseparable. For me, they lead to being the hands, fetd, and voice of Jesus in the world, so I tend to emphasize service. My wife is an exceptional school teacher (she has a group that prays for the students and staff every Monday morning) and has had a great impact on the lives of students and parents. My son Jeremy works with group homes and the care of adults with deep needs. My daughter Kirsten is the director of advocacy at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. I think all of our work stems from our sense of Christian vocation that comes out of baptism. When our kids were young we would do service projects together with other families and I do believe it has shaped us all for years to come. Hospitality in the home has been another way service has been a significant Key in our life together as a family. I do need to add that for me hymn singing (devotions) around the family pump organ is the next thing to being in heaven. I could go on and talk about my son-in-law, daughter-in-law and four granddaughters, but you get the idea. However, a grandpa can't resist one little story. The day after Freya was born (daughter of Kirsten and Matt), the larger family was together in the hospital room. Matt brought in dinner and asked Solvei, Freya's two-year-old sister, what table grace we should use. In response, she got off her papa's lap, walked over to the hospital bed with Kirsten and Freya, held Freya's hand and led us all in praying the Lord's Prayer. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. Until that moment, no one knew she knew the Lord's Prayer so well.

What's exciting about passing along the Christian faith to others?

Our individual lives and our global context all know the reality of sin through such experiences as pain, disappointment, despair, and death. There is nothing like the gospel of Jesus Christ to turn all of that on its head for individuals, families, and a world in need of grace, mercy, and peace. In our over-individualized culture, the Christian faith brings hope and life through community. I teach this ministry so that I can learn it. Right now I am learning how to pass along the Christian faith to four lovely little granddaughters, all under the age of four.

How do you think the Christian movement might be different in five years?

Those who identify with the Christian movement will do so more and more because it is who they are, not because it is simply culturally acceptable or expedient. The church in the home and in other small group settings will have a resurgence, something that happens periodically in church history.

For me, it is not his years of ministries, or his role as coach, teacher, researcher, or pastor that makes David such a powerful leader. It is his role as husband to Gloria, father to Kirsten and Jeremy and their spouses, Matt and Kirsti, and grandfather to Solvei, Freya, Lucia, and Sonja. David "walks-his-talk." His life at home reflects his beliefs. He lives his faith at home and with his family. David is the real deal.

Please join us on September 21st and 22nd and meet David. You will love him! 
Register here...