Remembering 3 Former Pastors

05.12.17 | Heartbeat | by Lisa Severson

Remembering 3 Former Pastors

    The New Hope Church family sadly experienced three former pastors passing away in 2016. Each one, Ken Meyer, Tom McDill and Steve Goold, was influential in leadership. All three left a sizable impact, not only on this church, but on the EFCA and world-wide ministry. Read about these three leaders who helped shape this church.

    Ken Meyer 1932–2016

    Ken Meyer became senior pastor at Crystal Free Church as it outgrew its original site in Crystal, Minnesota. By 1962, expansion was needed and included a Fellowship Hall, chapel and new kitchen. On April 1, Sunday school children were invited to help celebrate by bringing shovels to break ground. 

    Ken’s son, Pastor Kevin Meyer, recalls that those early CEFC years attracted many young families. “My dad seemed to hold a particular ability to be both strong and tender which inspired people to follow him. Many of those young people later became leaders during Pastor Tom McDill’s years as senior pastor.

    He describes his dad as very bright and filled with energy and purpose. “I’ve heard my father referred to as a leader of leaders. He had a unique combination of a pastor’s heart and a businessman’s mind. Every organization he led grew in size and influence. I remember him teaching adult Sunday school, preaching on Sunday mornings and evenings, and leading a Bible study and prayer meeting on Wednesdays. He did all the weddings, funerals, counseling and oversight. Those years exhausted him. It was an era when churches typically had just one pastor on staff.”

    Don Holsten attended seminary with Pastors Meyer and McDill and developed friendships with them and their families. “Pastor Meyer was a people person, an independent thinker who was quick on his feet, but imaginative and clever. He wanted everyone to know Christ and had a way of getting people involved, helping them find their place.”

    Ken Meyer’s people skills went beyond good hiring sense. “He was personable and had a great sense of humor. He was always friendly to us young people,” says Ginny McMillan who grew up at CEFC. She and many others remember the “blessing basket” Ken passed around. It was a friendly opportunity to express thankfulness for how God provided. LaVonne Atwater says, “It was so much fun, a highlight of each worship service.”

    Ken and Carol, his wife of more than 62 years, were later instrumental in developing Torch Trinity Graduate University in Seoul, South Korea. The Meyers were extensive world travelers. It’s estimated that they visited more than 100 countries. Travel focused on Christian education or the charity Food for the Hungry.

    Ken was instrumental in giving former Minnesota Viking Head Coach Leslie Frazier his first coaching position. Kevin Meyer describes what happened:

    “My dad contacted Mike Dikta when Trinity needed a football coach. Dikta said, ‘Leslie is religious like you and may have had a season ending injury. You might want to contact him.’ While Frazier tossed out my dad’s first letters, he finally ended up contacting him. Leslie sensed the Lord say that he should call and he ended up as head coach and later went on to coach a Super Bowl team, eventually becoming head coach of the Vikings. Leslie called my father every week until my dad died.

    There are many stories like this of my dad’s leadership sense and faith when God called him to do something.” Kevin says that Coach Frazier referred to his dad as a mentor in character and leadership. He describes this knack Ken had for foreseeing trends, attracting talented people and training leaders. “He had an ability for equipping and releasing people to succeed.”

    • Glenview EFC, IL: 1956–1961
    • Crystal EFC (NHC), MN: 1961–1967
    • EFCA Director of Christian Education, 1967–1970
    • Started FCYF Evangelical Free Conferences
    • First EFC, IL: 1970–1975
    • Trinity International University/TEDS: President, 1974–1995
    • Torch Trinity Graduate University President, South Korea: 2001–2005

    • Trinity Seminary & Bible College (now Trinity Evangelical Divinity School/TEDS), Master of Divinity
    Luther Rice Seminary, Doctor of Ministry

    • Trinity International University (TIU) Chancellor
    • Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents Chairman
    • TEDS balanced budgets for five years during a poor economy
    • Trinity Seminary & Bible College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity united: TIU

    Ken Meyer was survived by his children Keith, Kevin and Caryn Magnuson, and extended family. His wife Carol passed away in March 2016

    Tom McDill 1926–2016

    Crystal Evangelical Free Church experienced rapid growth during Tom McDill’s pastorate. In 1967, a second education wing was added. Tom is also remembered for wise biblical counsel and the Evangelism Explosion ministry into the community. 

    Church growth continued, but further building expansion was prohibited by the city of Crystal. That’s when the vision for a move to New Hope was born. Tom was instrumental in purchasing the current property on Gettysburg Avenue. Several key staff were added and Genesis House, a dynamic coffee house ministry located on the same property began. A new 800-seat facility on our present site was dedicated on Easter Sunday 1977.

    Dr. McDill’s vision had its mark on New Hope Church’s “for all people” focus. His keynote message at the EFCA’s 100th Anniversary Conference in 1984 included a call for a strong Free Church effort to reach urban populations and ethnic groups in our country. He spoke of wanting to lead “people to think about reaching new immigrants, reaching our cities and increasing our missionary force” EFCA Beacon, August 1984.

    That same care and concern for people wasn’t lost on those in the church family. Ginny McMillan remembers, “Pastor McDill would always look you straight in the eye when you spoke with him. It was like you were the only person in the room. He listened attentively and respectfully. In college I became confused about the infallibility of the Word of God. I didn’t have convincing answers for people who questioned it and this bothered me tremendously. He graciously took time to help me and recommended some books. I will forever be grateful.”

    Don Holsten reflects on Tom McDill as “brilliant, an excellent preacher, prayer warrior and a real theologian. He was a family man. He was enthusiastic and positive. And he valued honesty and providing a simple and clear gospel message. Tom took time for people and wanted to find solutions for their problems.”

    "Tom’s daughter, Jane Schultz, recalls her father being “a humble servant for godly principles and lived them out daily in his work and in our home, so we were blessed to be his children! Dad was involved in the lives of those in his congregation. He did visitation, one-to-one counseling, and prayed for and supported people through times of concerns and crisis." Jane also recalls that the property where the church is currently locatedhad been slated to be used for a shopping center. "My dad and the church board felt God leading them to build right there. One day Jim Hagman (board member) and dad stood on the current property and prayed together, asking God for a miracle. God provided."

    Dr. Ed Ferrell remembers, “My wife and I had only been members of Crystal Free for a couple of months when Tom was called as pastor. Right away it was evident that he was a firm believer in the authority and inerrancy of the Bible. I was later elected to the deacon board and then chairman. As a young man, I needed a lot of help and Tom was a good mentor. Being very diplomatic, he led by example rather than decree.”

    LaVonne Atwater fondly remembers Tom McDill teaching Kingsfolk and Crystal Classics Sunday classes. “He always started off our class with a humorous Ole and Lena joke.”

    • Grace EFC, IL: 1951–59
    • Liberty Bible Church, IN: 1959–67
    • Crystal EFC (NHC), MN: 1967–1976
    • 3rd EFCA President: 1976–1990
    • EFCA Moderator and vice president: 1973–1975
    • Home Missions Board
    • Christian Education Board
    • Great Lakes District Board
    • Greater Minneapolis Association of Evangelicals Board
    • Trinity College & Alumni Boards

    Philadelphia College of the Bible
    Northern Baptist Seminary
    Trinity College, BA
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, M.Div.
    Bethel Seminary Doctorate of Ministries
    This was the first Doctor of Ministries degree conferred by Bethel Seminary.

    • Vision to begin outreach from CEFC into northwest Minneapolis. 
    • Vision for a move to New Hope from Crystal
    • Helped facilitate Trinity College back into the EFCA
    • EFCA churches: 536 to 1,000, Membership: 56,000 to 165,000

    Tom McDill was married to Ruth for 52 years prior to her death. He was survived by his wife, Doris, of 14 years, and children Karen Carner Lee, Jane Schultz and Steve, and extended family.

    Steve Goold 1948–2016

    Steve Goold was a nationally-known mentor and strategic thinker who served New Hope Church with vision and a commitment to God’s Word. He loved the congregations he pastored and served in interim preaching roles in retirement.

    Pastor Dave Rodquist spent many years serving closely with Pastor Steve as Senior Associate Pastor. “Steve used the phrase ‘commitment to excellence’ all the time. That was his lifestyle and what he looked for in ministry. He used to say, ‘I am not looking for perfection, but I do expect excellence in everything we do.’”

    Steve’s daughter, Lori Shedd, backs up that sentiment as she refers to her father’s ministry as “marked by excellence, perseverance, consistency, intuitiveness, righteous anger in the face of foolishness, love of people, commitment to the ‘underdog’ and not afraid to stand alone.” Lori describes her father as a true soldier in battle. She reflects on God’s sovereignty in leading the family to bury his body right next to soldiers and veterans who had fought earthly battles. “In my eyes, dad was a soldier if there ever was one. He didn’t just fight earthly battles, he fought spiritual battles. He stood guard on behalf of the people and the church that the Lord entrusted him with, and he fought through the Spirit’s power until the day the Lord took him home.”

    Lori points out her dad’s love and commitment to family. “We always knew that the greatest joy dad had in life besides Jesus was his family. Each one of us knew that to our core. If everything else failed in life, dad would be there for us.” Jim Fultz calls out that attribute as well. “I greatly respected his love for his wife and his children, and for his support of their interests. And they in turn always demonstrated love for their husband and father.

    One of Pastor Steve’s trademarks was an uncanny ability to remember names. LaVonne Atwater recalls how he didn’t just say “hi,” but included people’s names. Many also experienced that generosity expressed in tangible ways. Lori reminisces, “My dad’s giving was not calculated. It simply made sense to him to fulfill a need if it was right to do so.”

    Don Holsten was on staff at NHC from 1997 to 2004. He recalls Pastor Steve as an intelligent, visionary with a lot of patience in dealing with health issues. “Pastor Steve always emphasized planning ahead and excellence in ministry. He had a knack for recruiting great staff. I saw him take time with individuals in the church family. His broad knowledge of Bible history and excellent understanding of world history added a great impact to his teaching.”

    • Emmanuel Church, CA: 1978–1990
    • New Hope Church (CEFC), MN: 1990–2014
    • Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) Board
    • EFCA Board (TEDS Representative)

    • Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa
    • Talbot Theological Seminary in La Mirada, California
    • Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Illinois

    • Vision for the High & Holy Calling church-wide focus
    • Spear-headed name change to New Hope Church
    • Led the three-year campaign to pay off a $3.9 million facilities mortgage debt in 2015

    Steve Goold was survived by his wife of 46 years, Pam, his children Lori Shedd and Steve, and extended family.

    leaders leave a legacy

    God provides leaders for seasons in a church family. Inevitably, senior pastors leave a mark as God uses their unique combination of skills, experience and personalities. As you spend time in the NHC family, you’ll likely recognize aspects of these three men’s legacies still alive here to this day.

    What's Your story?

    You're a person of influence as well. Have you thought about your family history and the legacy you'll leave one day? No doubt you've faced some bumpy roads, maybe even fallen flat on your face a time or two. Stop to consider how God was at work even through those seasons. Take time to consider the people and experiences God has allowed to cross your path. Share the stories of His presence in your life. Invite Him to shape your life to be a blessing for generations to come.