By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Whether it’s cooking a meal or playing sports, Per Nestingen has a knack for finding deep meaning in everyday activities.
“I learned about God playing baseball,” Nestingen said. “The values in the game embody what a Christian life looks like.”
As the new youth director at Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Delano, Nestingen is excited to share his faith with grades seven through 12 on a full-time basis.
Pastor Lee Hallstrom said that this is the first time Light of Christ has had a youth director.
“We realized we wanted to put more focus on youth ministry,” Hallstrom said.
At the end of October, Nestingen was chosen from a pool of 22 applicants.
“We had very good candidates, but it was a unanimous decision,” Hallstrom said. “We felt Per had really good understanding of the church and our values.”
Nestingen grew up in south Minneapolis, and in 2010, he graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, with an English degree.
While in college, he was a four-year varsity starting pitcher, and an active participant in Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I was drawn to ministry, and people were asking me about seminary all the time,” Nestingen said.
He accepted a summer job as a high school counselor at Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Ferryville, WI, and ended up staying on staff as assistant program director for the next year and a half.
“I directed retreats for all ages, and planned Bible studies and devotions,” he said.
Nestingen also showed hospitality by cooking and serving meals for guests.
When he returned home to Minneapolis, Nestingen felt that working as a youth director would be an ideal way for him to continue meeting the needs of others.
“This was the only type of job I looked for,” Nestingen said.
At Light of Christ, the youth group meets Tuesday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m.
“It’s right in the church,” Nestingen said. “We have a family dinner together. I cook for them, and they help with the meal.”
Afterward, the group usually has devotional time or plays games.
“My goal is to help them build their relationship with Christ, so that they can go into the world as strong Christians,” Nestingen said. “It’s about faith formation.”
Nestingen also plans to organize fun events for the students, such as broomball, lock-in parties, caroling, and more.
Light of Christ Lutheran Church is located at 3976 County Line Road SE, and can be reached at (763) 972-2400.