If the congregation of Community Baptist Church is interested in creating a classy eye-catching website, they have the right man to do the job. In fact, he’s got his own office in the church.
Community Baptist Church’s new pastor, Larry Lundstrom, has had a successful career in graphic arts.
Before Lundstrom began working in the church full-time, he accepted a position at Duke Energy out of Charlotte, North Carolina, providing the company with website and software development.
He and his wife, Myra, started a marketing firm, a business venture that put Lundstrom’s graphic arts skills to good use.
But Lundstrom has devoted much of his life to fitting in to the master’s design, beckoning people to the Kingdom of Heaven and encouraging them on their spiritual journey.
“The purpose of my ministry is to let people know that God loves them, right where they are, completely. And that He has a purpose for them,” said Lundstrom, who came to Kodiak toward the end of the summer. “He wants us to know Him and He wants us to know how much He loves us and what He made us for.”
Lundstrom said he loves to “walk alongside and genuinely get to know others and find out what God made them for — what makes them come alive — their passion and purpose.”
Lundstrom’s passion and purpose are found in Christ’s last command to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven: Go into the world with the Gospel, baptizing in His name and teaching His precepts.
“I take the Great Commission (very seriously. I would love to see (hundreds) of churches planted in Alaska,” Lundstrom said.
“I believe in the mission statement of our (Community Baptist) church — to be a … beacon of life and hope for those who need hope,” Lundstrom said.
Lundstrom grew up in LaMarque, Texas (part of the Galveston area), where chemical plants lit up the night sky.
His father, a Catholic, and his mother, a Baptist, split up and the mother raised Lundstrom and his siblings.
Lundstrom started Christian ministry as a volunteer for various churches. But the call to full-time ministry became painfully clear while he served Fellowship of the Woodlands Church (now Woodlands) in Woodlands, Texas.
As an “on call” minister, Lundstrom was responsible for hospital visits, counseling and Bible studies. He conducted weddings, funerals, and trained people to teach the “word of God,” he said.
Eventually Lundstrom became part of the leadership team at Woodlands. He later joined a friend who had launched Grace Fellowship Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Lundstrom was offered a permanent position with Woodlands, but turned it down. He was content to volunteer at the church and enjoyed his work with Duke Energy. Furthermore, Lundstrom felt disqualified for the ministry. This feeling of inadequacy, Lundstrom surmises, “was (the result of growing up in a single parent home (having an) absent father. I always wondered what my purpose was. What I was made for,” he said.
“When I sought after our Father in Heaven I started to find those answers. I started to learn what it meant to be a man — a real man. Not this ‘beat your chest’ type of man. What I found was that men were to love God and other people. It’s really that simple.”
While serving at Woodlands, the Lundstroms raised three children — Blake, Colby and Chloe. Three-year-old Colby was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2003 and died a month later.
It was one of the toughest times of their lives, Lundstrom said.
Colby was an “awesome kid,” Lundstrom said. He wanted to be Spider Man.
“Myra and I rode (an emotional) ‘rollercoaster’ for the next eight years. Our faith strengthened (but) it wasn’t without the reality of being angry one day and extremely hurt the next. And then having a day where you trust God’s plan. You experience all of those emotions,” he said.
In the Lundstroms’ grieving, Heaven became very real to them. “I often went back and read through (the gospels of) Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You pay more attention to how much Christ really talks about the Kingdom of Heaven and about eternity. He’s trying to tell us there’s something on the other side. He also tells us, how much God loves us. That (love of Christ and kingdom) became more real than at any other time; and it still is today,” he said.
Lundstrom said his grief forced him to evaluate how and where he was spending his time and talents.
After much prayer and discussion with his wife, Lundstrom decided to leave his high-paying job at Duke and say “yes” to the Lord and the church.
Lundstrom enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in a distance learning program. He continues his online studies today.
When Lundstrom left Woodlands, he served Life Church in Leander, Texas, north of Austin. He also accepted a position with James MacDonald’s ministry, Walk in the Word, a job that required the Lundstroms to move to Chicago. “We’re quite adventurous,” he said.
The Lundstroms’ most recent adventure took them to Kodiak, where they feel “right at home,” he said. “Kodiak reminds me of Texas. People are super friendly, and easy to talk to.”
Another reminder of his childhood home are the boats in the harbor. He grew watching the shrimp boats docked at the Galveston harbor.
The Lundstroms are making many new Kodiak friends through the church and Peterson Elementary, where Myra is a librarian. She has been in education for much of her life. She was principal of First Baptist Academy in Conroe, Texas, and worked at a middle school in Chicago where she was responsible to “keep the halls safe and decide where some of the kids would go if they got into trouble,” Lundstrom said.
Kodiak seems to be the ideal place for Lundstrom.
He said he loves being outdoors, hiking, mountain biking, boating and fishing
“Anything outdoors, you’ll find me doing,” he said.
Lundstrom will be the keynote speaker at the community Thanksgiving service on Nov. 27 at the Kodiak Bible Chapel.