Shepherd of the Hills welcomes new pastor

July 20, 2010

By Paige Collins

The Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church has a new pastor after a year and a half of searching. The Rev. Drahus Oslik is a young and enthusiastic man, excited to bring his passion for ministry to Issaquah.

The Rev. Drahus Oslik is taking over as head pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. ‘I'm absolutely excited to be here,’ he said. By Paige Collins

His goals for the new ministry are to use the congregation’s energy to its fullest, to use his previous experience to bring new ideas and to encourage members to reach out to the community.

Oslik’s first service at Shepherd of the Hills was June 27 and he said he came away from it amazed by the energy of the congregation.

“I couldn’t have wished for a better first morning,” he said.

The church had been without an official pastor since November 2008. The process of finding the right one included the formation of a call committee, determination of the congregation’s priorities and multiple interviews with possible candidates, said Don Benson, a call committee member.

The church’s priorities as determined by the committee were preaching and teaching, the formation of youth ministries and community outreach, Benson said.Committee members interviewed two groups of candidates, without feeling a fit until they met Oslik.

“God led us to who we needed,” Mary Ardissono, church council secretary said.

As a young pastor, only in his sixth year in ministry, Oslik stood out to the committee as someone who could bring new ideas and grow with the congregation, Benson said.

“It was just one of those meetings that fit,” he said.

Born and raised in Slovakia, Oslik worked at a Lutheran church camp in Pennsylvania for multiple summers. It was there that he met his wife, and after the couple lived in Slovakia during his first term as assistant pastor, they moved back to the U.S. Since then, he spent the past three years in a rural conservative town in Pennsylvania, beginning to raise two young children.

Now, Oslik is anxious to see how the more liberal and populated Issaquah compares to his time in Pennsylvania.

“I see a great opportunity to do mission and reach out to the people here,” he said.

Shepherd of the Hills has been around since 1988 and is still a relatively small and forming congregation. Oslik said he sees that as a plus, because it allows for flexibility as he comes in.

One of his biggest goals is to help empower other people to help with the ministry rather than taking charge by himself.

“I don’t need helpers,” he said. “I need colleagues in ministry.”

Youth is an important focus for both Oslik and the congregation. Vacation Bible School at the church will be from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Aug. 9-13. Children will get lunch and participate in activities, games and Bible study.

Oslik thinks it is very important to reach out to the community and invite new members into the congregation.

“I would like to extend an invitation to the Issaquah community to people looking for a small neighborhood church full of loving, joyful people,” he said. “This is the place for them.”

Oslik will be officially installed by the assistant of the bishop July 25.

Paige Collins: 392-6434 or isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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