Cole Glanzer was recently called as the Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Waverly. We asked Cole to share with us how God led in his life and we think you’ll find his testimony very encouraging!
“When I was nearing the end of high school and thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and where I wanted to go to college, full-time ministry and (for sure) being a pastor were nowhere on the radar. The main thing I wanted to do was coach either basketball or soccer at a small high school like what I grew up in. I wanted to teach young people the fundamentals of the sport, as well as teach them how sports can build up really good habits. I also wanted to take opportunities to teach life lessons through whatever sport I would be coaching.
The Bible teacher at my high school, who eventually became my pastor in my junior and senior year of high school, asked me if I had ever thought about being a pastor. He suggested many times after that I should at least consider it, and each time my response was, “No way! Not me!” To do what I wanted, which was coach at a small high school, I knew I could not just coach. Most small schools cannot afford to hire someone who just coaches. They have to be able to either teach or be an administrator in addition to coaching, and so I decided to pursue secondary math education since math had always been my favorite subject in school.
I enrolled at South Dakota State University and met a friend there who had just finished a two-year Biblical Studies degree at a Bible college in Michigan. That was the first time I had ever heard of a Bible college. I thought that after I finished my math degree, I would go and study the Bible for two years and do the same thing that he did. That sounded awesome to me. After the school year finished at SDSU, I realized that teaching math was not really what I wanted to do. I enjoyed my classes, but I could not see myself in that role, at least not for the rest of my life. That was when I started to consider other options and was thinking about switching majors. About halfway through that summer I counseled at a camp called Royal Family Kids Camp, which is a nationwide Christian organization that puts on summer camps for abused kids. This was the third summer that I had done this, and after that week was when I felt God working on my heart to lead me towards full-time vocational ministry.
I applied to Faith Baptist Bible College in July of that summer and was accepted about a week before classes started. Through my classes, professors, Christian service at my local church, and various other factors in my four years at Faith, God confirmed in me the call to full-time vocational ministry.
During my senior year at Faith, I started looking at possible jobs that I could apply for to start working right after my internship that summer. The internship that I was going to be doing that summer offered me a year-long opportunity to help in their church (as a pastoral intern), at their camp (as a program assistant), and in their school (as a coach or substitute teacher when needed). My high school back home was looking for a new Bible teacher, as well as coaches for both basketball and soccer. So, I was trying to decide between these two and was leaning heavily towards going back home to South Dakota. That is when Pastor Eloe called me and offered an associate pastor position to me. At first, I turned it down because I was planning to go teach at my high school. That ended up not working out, though, and so my choices were either a year-long internship in Colorado or a full-time position in Waverly with Pastor Eloe. With my fiancé finishing her senior year at Faith this year and since it was a full-time position and not just an internship, and after much prayer and consideration, I chose to move to Waverly.
I know God’s hand was at work through all of this because I was not looking for this position at all. Pastor Eloe’s son was actually the one that got us connected and Pastor Eloe reached out to me, first. Also, I know God’s hand was at work in all of this because one of Pastor Eloe’s main reasons for bringing me on was so that he could give a young guy some “hands-on” experience as a pastor. He also wanted to give me an opportunity to put what I learned at Bible college into practice, while also having some guidance along the way. I really do not think there is a more ideal situation for a young pastor to step into other than the one I find myself in here at First Baptist Church in Waverly, and I know that it was 100% by the hand of God. “