It was an unexpected path for Julie Higgs. As the music and worship leader at a singles retreat location, many people had told her she should become a pastor.
“I thought they were stupid,” Higgs laughs. But the supposed joke worked its way into a journey that has led now Pastor Julie to Adel’s Grace Lutheran Church.
She took baby steps at first. Having never gone to school to study how to become a church leader, Higgs was not altogether confident in her ability to guide an entire congregation. She admits she still had so many spirituals questions herself. So Higgs entered into what she called a “theological adventure.” Halfway through her seminary, Higgs realized she had come too far and grown too much to return to her previous job as a public policy analyst in California. So she continued on.
Higgs was the pastor of two congregations before she began working in the bishop’s office at the Southeastern Iowa Synod Center for Ministry in Iowa City. There she planned events and aided in formation for those who were beginning to transition from a learning environment to one of official clergy duties. However, Higgs felt her heart being called back to the congregation, and it was the Lutherans of Adel who welcomed her. She made herself available for candidacy into the pastor selection process and was happy to be elected as Grace Lutheran’s new leader by the members and committees of the church.
Her first official service was held on Aug. 18. During her installment on Aug. 25, Higgs was formally presented to the congregation and made a promise to serve them faithfully. She admits she expects a few bumps in the road as Grace Lutheran members become accustomed to her,
“It will be a part of the laughter (they) share,” she smiles. “I’m excited to journey with them through growth.”
With the congregation being so young in age as well as in membership, she knows they are open to change and wherever the Holy Spirit leads them. Higgs plans to continue building upon the strong foundation former Pastor Bernau laid for the church and “beef up” its programs and community outreach, she says.
She also plans to continue to “read like crazy,” learn how to quilt and get back to cycling. Her most recent accomplishment, besides her new position at the church, of course, is earning her doctor of ministry in preaching from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in May.
“Worshipping and preaching,” she says. “Those are my first loves.”
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