September 7, 2011

A long journey to be a pastor

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

It’s been a long journey for Rob Favorite, the newly-ordained Senior Pastor of First Lutheran Church in Watford City. But, according to him, it’s been a good one.
“If you’d have asked me 10 years ago if I’d be doing what I’m doing, I’d have said you’re crazy,” says Favorite of the turn his life has taken.
Favorite’s journey started in Philadelphia where he worked at a printing business and his wife, Ardith, a Watford City native, was working as a teacher. It had become a dream of theirs to retire and live in Ardith’s home town of Watford City.
In the fall of 2004, Rob and Ardith decided that the time had come to make their big move. They bought land from Ardith’s cousin north of Watford, and in the spring of 2005, they packed their belongings and headed west.
With their home not quite completed due to some building complications, Rob and Ardith were forced to rent an apartment until their house was finished. However, that didn’t slow them down.
Rob got a job at Jack & Jill as a meat cutter and he started attending First Lutheran Church.
He walked into the church office one day to switch his membership. And, having helped out at his church back home, Rob offered his services should they need any help.
“How about pulpit supply?” Karen Broderson, First Lutheran Church secretary, questioned, having chosen something that wasn’t in Rob’s repertoire.
“I said sure to make a good impression, thinking they would never call me,” Favorite chuckled.
But three weeks later, they did.
“I was incredibly nervous and I didn’t sleep at all the night before,” stated Favorite.
According to Rob, it went really well and people couldn’t believe it was his first time.
Since that first time, he was asked to fill in a few more times, as First Lutheran Church was in the process of getting a new pastor.
Five weeks after Pastor Chris Montgomery arrived, he offered Rob an assistant pastor position with the church. Amazed and honored, Favorite accepted.
He started in March of 2006 and was given leeway to engage in ministries including funerals and preaching and, in time, Confirmation, baptisms and communion.
Then, in the summer of 2006, Favorite solidified this path for his life. He began an Associate in Ministry DVD program, which took him two years to complete.
He then started down the road toward ordination, enrolling in the Lutheran Church’s Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) program.
It’s a program through the Lutheran church for ministers in rural or urban areas, that allows them to attain their education for ordination, while still working in their local church.
Three times a year, Favorite would take classes through one of two seminaries: The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Berkley, Calif., or the Luther Theological Seminary at St. Paul, Minn. There would be pre-course reading, one week of class at either location, and then post-coursework that would be graded.
All-in-all, it took him five years. Two years to finish his Associate’s in Ministry and three years to complete the TEEM program for ordination.
“I feel very fulfilled, privileged, honored, and relieved,” says Favorite.
While the journey toward ordination has ended for Favorite, culminating in his Ordination Service this past Sunday, Aug. 28, Favorite knows that the end of one journey is really the beginning of another.