Fifteen Years


September 11 marked the end of our family’s fifteenth year in Steamboat Rock. A large gathering of folks we had never met had unloaded our household belongings off volunteers’ stock trailers before we even arrived. Pam was expecting Chaylie, who is now starting her freshman year at AGWSR. The Highway 20 Bridge had just been dedicated. The two services had recently started sharing the sanctuary because lightning had struck the sound system in the fellowship hall. The church had Sunday evening services but no small group ministry. We had two computers for the church that shared one dial-up internet access. LuAnn Miller was our part-time secretary and Mark Donaldson was the youth pastor. George Folkerts was the janitor; he would make coffee and come in and drink it with me every day. Jim Kramer was the chair of the deacon board. Sandy Trampe was preparing to lead a team of adults and youth to Brazil. Royce Luiken was the moderator who had seen the church through turbulent times while dying of cancer.

The people of this church did so many nice things to welcome us. They had a pantry shower where we were loaded with groceries and TP. We received name-brand sweetened cereal that thrilled our kids.  Nathan was our oldest in sixth grade and had to wait to attend youth because all sixth graders were in AWANA. Jani was in fifth grade, Kyle third grade, Jessica first grade, Bethany four years old, and Natalie one year old. With our large family I asked the church to remodel the upstairs of the parsonage to update a bathroom and add another three quarter bath.  

My brother-in-law came to the area to visit us at Christmas time and stopped first in Hy-Vee at Eldora.  When he came into the parsonage he said, “I think you are going to get your bathroom.” We asked him what he was talking about and he said he overheard people discussing the vote on the bathroom at a table in the Eldora Hy-Vee. One man, I don’t know who, said, “I don’t see why they need another bathroom.”  

Another lady at the table asked him, “How many bathrooms do you and your wife have in your house?”  

“Three.” The man answered rather sheepishly.  

“There you go.” She replied. My brother-in-law after only five minutes in the area had already heard discussion about the intimate areas of our home. Welcome to small town church life.  

The bathrooms were changed, the church’s name has changed, the building has changed, the staff has changed, the constitution has changed, the people who make up the congregation have changed, the people who make up our family have changed (Karis was born), but the good work of God in the people of this congregation to welcome others continues. This past Friendly Valley Festival Sunday put God’s work in you on display for the whole community to see: the wonderful speaker that Bryce found for the service, the Nerf Wars Crystal organized for the children, the Evangelism Team and Community Team’s great lay out of the games and meal at the park, the great music served up by Brian and the musicians, the Small Group that served so willingly and joyfully to prepare the meal, the laughing, playing, and visiting together, and all those who helped clean up. What a joy to see you all in action!

I am grateful to have spent over one fourth of my life with this congregation. I look forward to where the Lord will lead us and those he will call to join us in the years to come. 



Blessings - Pastor Harrison


Friendly Valley Festival Fellowship


Jim Kramer - Community Life Pastor


Helping Our Students Get “Sticky Faith”

"God is not the friend he was in high school. He is now more like the grandparent in the home that I visit only on holidays or special occasions." – Ely 

Dr. Kara Powell and the Fuller Youth Institute have been doing work over the last decade to nail down some specifics to answer exactly how many students struggle with their faith after High School and some possible solutions that will increasingly diminish that number. 

A huge range of percentages have been thrown out over the past decade as to the best guess of students who are leaving the church and essentially their faith after High School. Since I’ve been a youth pastor, I’ve heard a range from 25% all the way up to 80%! Based on the Fuller Youth Institute’s documented research, they concluded that the percentage is right at 50%. For more information on the entire study, visit

The goal we should be thinking about as parents, youth ministry and as a church is what they call “Sticky Faith”. 

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  • “By “Sticky Faith” we mean a combination of characteristics, all of which exist in a dynamic tension…

  • Faith that is both internalized and externalized: a faith that is part of a student’s inner thoughts and emotions, and is also externalized in choices and actions that reflect that faith commitment.  These behaviors include regular attendance in a church/campus group, prayer and Bible reading, service to others, and lower participation in risk behaviors, in particular sex and alcohol (two behaviors we are studying specifically).  In other words, Sticky Faith involves whole-person life integration, at least to some degree.

  • Faith that is both personal  and communal:  a faith that celebrates God’s specific care for each person while always locating faith in the global and local community of the Church.

  • Faith that is both mature and maturing:  a faith that shows marks of spiritual maturity but is also in process of growth.  We don’t assume a high school senior or college freshman (or a youth worker for that matter) will have a completely “mature” faith.  We are all in process.”

There is much to dive into in this great description of Sticky Faith. However, I want to make a plea for you to consider how you could help a student get Sticky Faith. Two of the main components to students having sticky faith include: intergenerational relationships and a safe place for students to doubt. I believe one of the great ways this can happen is through mentoring. Mentoring is taking some time (preferably twice a month) to invest in a student in a one on one relationship where you talk about the ups and downs of life, have some form of discipleship study and where you provide a listening ear to the student. In essence, you get to know them, build a relationship over time and encourage them to follow Jesus further. 

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I believe we’ll have 5-10 students who will be interested in mentors this year. Would you be willing to invest an hour twice a month in our sticky faith movement? This would go from October-May to get things started. Please talk to me about this opportunity if you’re interested. From there, I will meet with you to help train and discuss more about the mentoring process. Please reach out if I can answer any questions for you. This can be an extremely rewarding ministry not just for our teens, but for our adult mentors as well!



Blessings - Pastor Bryce



Family Camp at VCBC


Last month my family and I were able to attend Village Creek Bible Camp for their Labor Day Weekend Family Camp. 

Village Creek is a year-round ministry that offers camp experiences, retreats and tons of fun. This was the most fun our family has ever had at a camp. There were so many activities and the food was AMAZING!

Something that sets VCBC apart is their mission of offering life-changing experiences and their ability to enable all ages to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. 


Included in the activities, food and fun was Chapel twice daily. At first, admittedly, I thought two Chapels per day with four small children would be a bit of a challenge and probably exhausting. I was completely wrong. I would say I felt more energized and encouraged leaving Chapel each day then when I walked in. VCBC knows what they’re doing, and I also believe our obedience of going to Chapel paid off big. I said to Jacob often, “Where else could we go for a family vacation, have this much fun and be given the privilege of honoring God through Chapel and the study of His Scriptures?”. 

Beyond the intimacy with Christ, we were able to have so much time to be with each other! For us with small children, VCBC assigns you a helper throughout your stay to sit with napping children so you can continue to have fun with your older ones or take an older one to something while we have one-on-one with others. We were absolutely able to spend quality time together and with our children individually even on our extended weekend. 

Another highlight worth noting is the affordability. You see the retreats, and camp options HERE, to include pricing. It’s amazing to me how low the cost is especially when you consider most of the activities, lodging and food (which is all provided in that fee). 


I know a lot of our families send their children to Village Creek for summer camp and I can see why. This ministry and camp is amazing! I just want to encourage/challenge the families who have been meaning to give this family camp or retreats a try to DO IT! Something cool I saw at Family Camp was how vast the ages/demographics were. We had a family with just their toddler, family reunions, little ones with their parents and grandparents, and families with teens just to name a few. 

You won’t regret checking this out! If you’ve never even heard of Village Creek and have questions, I’d be happy to answer them. 


In Christ — Crystal Carroll

Children's Ministry Coordinator