Meet Pastor Paul A. Ferderer
I was born on July 28, 1982, in Bismarck, North Dakota, and grew up in Linton, a small farming community in the central part of the state. As a child, I attended the local Lutheran Church with my grandparents, where I was baptized and confirmed. Though I remained a member of my home congregation throughout high school and college, these years brought intense spiritual struggles into my life. In these places of learning, I first encountered people and ideas that flatly rejected the Christian faith. At the same time, my home church’s denomination, the ELCA, began denying central Christian doctrines such as scriptural authority and even the resurrection of Christ. Amid such uncertainty, I still recognized the depths of my sin and my need for divine forgiveness. However, the confusion I felt about the nature and reality of God’s existence made such mercy seemingly impossible to find.
It was during this time of spiritual confusion that, by the grace of God, I found an LCMS campus chapel while attending graduate school at the University of North Dakota. There, I discovered that the Bible proclaimed God’s salvation as revealed in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In contrast to other campus pastors I had visited, the LCMS chaplain worked tirelessly to instruct and counsel me in Christian doctrine. Yet, for me, the most significant aspect of the campus ministry was its Christ-centered, reverent, and liturgical worship at the university chapel. Each Sunday, I gathered with the congregation to confess my sins and to hear the pastor speak Christ’s absolution. It was at that simple Sunday service that, for the first time, I heard and knew the Lord’s promise of forgiveness was spoken for me. After a period of catechetical instruction, I became a member of the LCMS and received my first communion on Easter Sunday in 2010.
My spiritual struggles before discovering the Lutheran confession of faith gave me a strong desire to proclaim this confession to others as an ordained pastor. After completing graduate school, I was accepted to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and began preparation for the Holy Ministry. During my Summer Greek course, I met my wife, Marie, who was studying sign language through the Church Interpreters Training Institute at the Concordia campus. We were married on November 19, 2011, at Christ Lutheran Church in Jackson, Mississippi, where her father, Jim Holowach, serves as a pastor. I completed my Master of Divinity in May of 2014 and, after an additional year of graduate study, received my first pastoral call to Pilgrim Lutheran Church on April 28, 2015.
I count God’s call to serve as this congregation’s shepherd as chief among the many blessings granted me in this life. My wife and I rejoice to be part of this congregation as together we confess our faith in Jesus Christ and share, as the people of God, His life-giving gifts.
Pastor Paul A. Ferderer