Monday, June 25, 2012

Dennis Kreiss

Pastor Dennis Kreiss became the most recent pastor of Pine Grove Community Church  in Roseburg, Oregon, the first of January 1992. Pine Grove has a combined background of the circuit riding reformed tradition of the Brethren Church and the Sunday School revival movement of the Baptist tradition.  

Pastor Kreiss was raised in the reformed tradition. His favorite part of growing up in a large family of six boys and two girls were the yearly summer month-long camping trips in the Redwood forests. There he learned to love the Creator and his Creation. During his most mischievous years, Dennis began to wonder if he was going to heaven or hell and when he asked his mother, she had the pleasure of leading him to Christ.He says, “I am amazed that I grew up stone-bored in church and came away believing in God.” 

This God-consciousness was nurtured between his junior and senior years in high school when a young man  from the  Moody Bible Institute interned with his church and befriended him. During their many walks and conversations, Dennis was “immersed  in the need to serve this God he barely knew."

Pastor Kreiss went to Western Bible College in Salem, Oregon (now Corban College). While there, he heard Warren Wiersbe talk. From that experience he carried away what became his true faith in Wiersbe's words: "You can have as much of God as you really want, and as little of God with which you are satisfied. Pastor Kreiss went on to finished his education at Cascade Bible College in Bellvue, Washington.

"The real work of discipleship is in the teaching," says Pastor Kreiss. "If you are going to impact the world, you have to teach. One important way to measure your maturity is whether or not you have graduated from learner to teacher, from apprentice to disciple-maker.” In addition to being an intentional disciple, Dennis is pastor to a vital and lively congregation of disciple-makers. He is also a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a self-published writer.
All of his books have come out of his role as disciple-maker. The Evidence Locker, his most recent title, is in many ways his research for The Resurrection Files. In both books he mixes his understanding of the chronology and study of the disciples and their natures to create books that are part fictionalized accounts and part teaching.  They back-fill the stories of the appearances of Jesus to the disciples over the forty days following the Resurrection. Each story brings the emotions that must have rolled over the disciples like a shock wave. Pastor Kreiss sees these forty days as the hinge of history.

"If people could just grab hold of the Resurrection it would revitalize the church in America. It was the rocket fuel that impelled the first century believers to spread the gospel, and could do the same today.” Pastor Kreiss says the disciples with greatest impact on his faith surprisingly are the women. "They had to deal with incredible disbelief from the apostles. What a diverse group they were – women who had lived in deep poverty and rejection and women of wealth and position. Nowhere else but in Jesus could they be bound together.” 

He hopes to have found a publisher interested in perusing these books in a combined form by the end of the year. Just writing these books and sharing these stories has revitalized his life and faith. “Faith is an incredible battle full of personal and emotional distraction. I hope someday someone will be able to say, ‘He finished well.’”

Article based on telephone interview conducted 6/20/12

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