When the Rev. Jonathan Torreson, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church’s newest pastor, began in ministry, he found a calling serving all age groups.
The native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, began as a senior in high school by filling a niche at a church that never had a youth ministry, taking on the role of youth leader and eventually growing the group’s membership from 15 to 120.
“It was a big growth that happened there,” he recalled. “I thought God was calling me to be a pastor and help all ages.”
Following that time, his grandfather suffered a stroke, and he was asked to lead devotion at the nursing home, and ended up growing to love nursing home ministry as much as administering to young people, he said.
Rev. Torreson, 30, will bring his experience to Our Redeemer, with plans to grow the parish in both evangelism and youth offerings, following his installation Oct. 10. He comes to Our Redeemer after serving as co-pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Decatur, Illinois. He replaces interim pastor Jeff Stephens in the position.
“I’m very excited,” Rev.Torreson, a resident of Bedford, said. “This is a perfect fit.”
He said when he first walked into the church on SOM Center Road, he saw quite a few young adults given the size of the church, which usually draws about 80-100 people each Sunday.
“This is something that is missing here,” he said of the need for a youth ministry program and young adult leadership.
“I like to bring for the youth something that may be different from most youth groups,” Rev. Torreson explained. “I not only like to give them a healthy and safe place to be and have fun, but I’m also big on starting youth leadership programs to give those kids interested in being a leader that opportunity.
“They can reach out to their own friends,” he said. “That’s largely where youth ministry has grown — kids reaching out to their own peers.”
Rev. Torreson said he plans to work on the church’s evangelism.
“They have a great desire to go out in the community,” Rev.Torreson said, “serving Solon and finding out where they are needed.”
He said this is a need even mores now with the state of the world as a whole. “When we have so many questions and when we are looking for answers and having a hard time finding them, I see that the church has the truth.”
Rev. Torreson said the church has established groups but he will look to grow and improve them even more.
He will also work to begin events in Solon that the community can look forward to, he continued.
“Churches should be a big centerpiece for the community to gather around,” he said, “whether or not you worship there or not, you can have fun.”
Rev. Torreson, who is married to Taylor and has a young son, Milo, said he hopes to begin such events as chili cook offs and carnival nights, as well as present a live nativity during the Christmas season.
“These events would be good for Our Redeemer and also all of Solon,” he said.
He said the congregation has decreased in number and he hopes to help grow it again.
“They have been in search of a pastor to take a paddle and help them move,” he said. “I’m very excited for this.”