by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Rachel Van Dyke felt called to be a children’s pastor when she was 14, and she is on her way to fulfilling that call. She recently joined Living Hope Assembly of God’s ministry team as the director of children’s ministry.
“I love working with kids,” she said. “I love the energy of kids.”
Van Dyke grew up in Prescott, Ariz. She and her family have often travelled to Little Falls to visit her grandparents, Duane and Bernie Miller.
“It was awesome,” said Van Dyke. “We came more during winter because we love the snow. We went sledding and made ‘snowmans’ and went ice skating.”
Van Dyke and her sibling were homeschooled, but participated in activities at their local high school. She was on the debate team and in theater productions, and took classes in guitar and choir.
“I loved being homeschooled,” she said. “I love to learn and just devour books. I’m pretty sure I have a minilibrary.”
She graduated when she was 17. She took one semester of classes at Berean School of the Bible in Springfield, Mo. and one semester at Arizona School of Ministry in Prescott.
For a couple of years she interned at Life Point Church in Prescott as a kids’ pastor. She valued the time spent with her mentor, Jennifer Gold.
“I learned from her to get things done on time,” said Van Dyke. “Pre-planning is everything. Then I don’t have to stress out the day before a service.”
Van Dyke had recently been teaching worship team music at Prescott Christian Academy, living on her own while her parents, Michael and Sheila, had already moved back to Minnesota.
“I was teaching seventh and eighth graders,” she said. “Then Pastor Keith (Thompson, Living Hope head pastor) called and asked if I wanted to interview.”
After moving to Minnesota, Van Dyke is still adjusting to the late sunsets and the mosquitoes.
“After church, I’m trying to remember so many new people,” she said. “I recognize people but don’t know their names yet.”
Van Dyke’s responsibilities include all the children’s activities at Living Hope. She coordinates about 10 to 15 Wednesday night workers and runs the kids’ services on Sunday mornings. She also rides along during bus ministry before and after Wednesday evening classes.
The kids’ services include super-fast songs, games and lessons.
“They’re so fun; I love getting to work with the kids. They ask a lot of questions, and it’s awesome to be able to answer them.”
One of Van Dyke’s older brothers lives in Little Falls, while another older brother lives in Iowa. Her older sister lives in Minneapolis and her younger brother is in Army basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.
Van Dyke is still getting settled and unpacking boxes. She is cleaning off the shelves in her office.
“I’ll probably fill them in no time,” she said.