Faith Alive: Rev. Eric Estes

March 13, 2010 

You’ve been here 1 1/2 years. Any surprises so far? No, not really. There are always things in the classroom of experience you have to deal with. In seminary, they give you the theological groundwork so you can bring God’s Word into the situations you face.

You used to work in information technology. For which company? I worked for the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, in software application and network support.

Did you always know you’d go to seminary? Near the end of my senior year in college, I felt a sense of call. I thought that I should go in that direction, but I spent 2 1/2 years in a career and got married. When I was 15, my pastors said I should consider church work, but I laughed and said no. Some kids know that early but I didn’t.

Is the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) your background? I was born and raised in it. My mom and dad have always been involved. My dad serves on the church Board of Directors and is an elder and teaches Bible study at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Orlando, Fla.

Do you have siblings? Yes, I have a brother in Miami. He’s an OB/Gyn. He also has a master’s in public health. His name is Christopher.

What makes Redeemer distinctive? We’re one of two LCMS congregations here. There aren’t a lot of Lutherans in Georgia. We bring the perspective of Reformation theology to Columbus. When I meet people, they very often ask, “What’s a Lutheran?” I basically say, “We teach salvation by Christ alone, through faith alone, and all matters of faith are based on the Word of God.” As a congregation, we host a lot of AA and NA groups to serve the community. It’s nice they can meet here. We are also beginning to do more evangelism and mission at Fort Benning. We have traditional worship and liturgy, when many denominations are doing away with it. When we take time to sit down with our children and people who are new to liturgical worship and explain the symbolism and teachings, people come to really appreciate it. Lutherans teach that in worship God is coming to serve us. Worship is not so much about our serving God, like punching a time clock, but God coming to us in His Word and Sacraments to give us forgiveness of sins and strength for living our Christian faith where God has called us.

Do you think the pendulum is swinging back to the use of more liturgy? Some young people who are part of the emergent church movement are bringing back old forms. We are not part of that movement, but I think what has attracted them to ancient liturgies is the sense of mystery and transcendence that they convey. A lot of people I talk to are interested in learning more about the historical worship of the Church.

Do you do much ministry at Columbus State? No, but we’d like to have more of a presence there. Our organist, Kristen Hansen, teaches at CSU and has had some of her students play. She’s helping us expose the congregation to more types of music.

What do you do in your spare time? I spend time with my family. That’s on top of my list. My son’s birthday was Ash Wednesday, and we had an early party with my parents who were here from Florida. I enjoy movies and reading and I especially like road biking, when I can.

What have you given up for Lent? I’m taking on additional spiritual practices and developing time for more study and reflection.

How old are your kids? 4 and 2.

What are some of your first impressions of Columbus? I really like it. When it was mentioned as a possibility, I’d never heard of it. I didn’t know Georgia well at all. Columbus is not too big and not too small. I love the Southern hospitality, the fried chicken and the barbecue.

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