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Hope Lutheran welcomes new director of Christian education

Kristi Bauer is the new director of Christian education at Hope Lutheran Church in Hastings. (Star Gazette photo by Katrina Styx)

For Kristi Bauer, church was as much a part of her childhood as school. Growing up in Worthington, her mother was a church organist and her father was a farmer who was very involved with their church. After school, Bauer often found herself going to church to do homework.

“I literally grew up in the church,” she said.

So it’s not too much of a surprise that she found a career in the church as well. As of early August, Bauer is the new director of Christian education at Hope Lutheran Church south of Hastings.

The position is one that was something of a miracle opportunity for her. A 2013 graduate of the Christian ministry program at Concordia in St. Paul, Bauer started her career in Christian education at a church in Bloomington. The location wasn’t the best fit, however.

“I’m not a city girl,” Bauer explained.

She preferred to find a church role in a rural location, more similar to where she grew up, but her husband commutes into the cities for work, she said, and finding a way for both of them to be where they needed to be seemed an impossible task.

“As God is the surprise master, there’s this little town called Hastings,” Bauer said.

She found the position at Hope through the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod district communications, and the role seemed to just fit.

“Doors seemed to naturally open,” Bauer said.

The position is a relatively new one for the church, she said. Prior to her arrival, the role of director of Christian education was filled by an intern through Concordia College.

“Prior to that, it is a new position,” Bauer explained.

Her role involves providing child and youth ministry from cradle to grave, both with the youth themselves as well as their parents. She oversees Sunday school, children’s ministry programs, preschool, confirmation classes, youth chapel and music and works with Sunday school teachers and almost 20 church volunteers.

Christian education is something that Bauer is passionate about. She said she’s particularly excited about confirmation classes at the middle school level, since that’s the time when many kids are doing identity seeking and often feel like they don’t fit in. It’s the church at large, she said, that has the responsibility to plug people in, “to see their purpose and potential through the lens of the Gospel.”

“It’s a matter of eternal importance, and I want to be a part of that,” she said.

One of Bauer’s goals at Hope Lutheran is to connect with the schools and other youth organizations in the community to see what sort of opportunities might be available there. She’s also working on helping Hope through a period of growth. The church’s preschool program is full this year, she said, as is the physical facility, so she’s helping figure out how to schedule everything.

Bauer said she welcomes communication from people. She can be reached by email at dce@hopeofhastings.com.

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