Jim Onstad has been a constant in Zion’s youth ministry for 16 years, working alongside five youth directors and hundreds of youth.
Jim was born and raised in Spring Grove MN, in the old Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Faith Lutheran of Black Hammer.
It is a small country church located north of Spring Grove. My parents diligently brought me to church, Sunday school, confirmation and Vacation Bible School. I have many great memories of that church!
Jim’s mother was a big influence on his faith.
She had arthritis for as long as I can remember. Her faith in dealing with this disease was passed over to me. I have had many more people who helped me with faith.
Jim’s favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 4:32
Instead, be kind and merciful, forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.
Jim and his wife, Audrey, have two grown children. Emily and her husband, Jay, live in Buffalo, attend Zion, and have daughters Anna (3rd grade) and Lucy (kindergarten). Pete and his wife, Sarah, live in St. Francis, MN, and their children are Lilly (kindergarten) and Gunnar (3 in September).
It is true when they say that grandchildren complete life’s circle.
Jim and Audrey moved to Buffalo from Moorhead in 1991, when there was only one ELCA church in Buffalo.
The first Sunday we met Pastor Ed and Pastor John, and the next Sunday Pastor Ed recognized us. That is all it took.
They met some great friends right away who have become lifelong friends, including Swaggerts, Mahlbergs and Bergquists.
Jim retired from the USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service in January 2010 after working for the agency in Buffalo, Waconia and Moorhead for 33 years. He also works part time as an Education Support Professional at Buffalo Community Middle School during the school year. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and waterskiing. Audrey retired recently, so they hope to do some traveling.
Jim served on the church council in the past and sang in the Senior Choir, but his real passion is youth ministry.
I believe this is the most important ministry. The youth are the CHURCH! I have had the opportunity to go on many mission trips with the youth. On every trip I have seen God’s work through these young people. Their minds are always thinking outside the box. Being around them has made me also think this way. I love what I do working with young people. I can honestly say that it makes me who I am!