Association Of Free Lutheran Congregations

Meet Our Team

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.

Home » Meet Our Team
Pastor Clayton Wilfer

Clayton Wilfer | Senior Pastor

If you ask me why I’m a pastor, my answer is, “It’s all God’s doing.”

I grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  “We were ‘good’ Catholics in that we went to church every Sunday, observed holy days of obligation and so on.  But we never prayed together, we never read the Bible together.  It was the ritual of faith without the substance of faith.

So, like many other young men, I followed my heart which led me to an eclectic mix of careers: professional actor, make-up artist, training and development professional within corporate America.  It’s a much longer story of how those transitions happened, but in retrospect, I can see God working on me through it all.

Here’s one moment in my journey that really stands out: In the summer of my 30th year, I had a pivotal experience in which I felt God’s love.  On a sunny summer Sunday morning, I went to church.  During the service, I was literally overcome by the experience of God’s love.  His love was so vast that I knew I had only touched a very, very small part of it.  I was so overwhelmed that I cried uncontrollably.  God for me was real that day.  There was no doubt.

The next year I prayed more, but I still hadn’t read much of the Bible.  It was the summer of my 31st year that I started reading the bible because I wanted to learn more about my faith.  I realize now that God always points you to His word to learn more about Him.  So, during that summer, I read most of the Old Testament, and all of the New Testament.

Around this time, I met and married Heidi, who grew up in a Lutheran church.  We’ve been married now for 33 years and our daughter, Laura, is a singer-songwriter-musician who lives in Maui.  But when our daughter, was baptized it was within the Lutheran church.  I, too, became a member of the Lutheran church.  However, I recall even then my focus was first and foremost on being a Christian.  So, even to this day, I call myself a follower of Jesus who is informed by Luther rather than a Lutheran.

During our first 10+ years of marriage, I often felt the tug to go into ministry but kept resisting.  I often joke that a picture of my calling is of stubborn mule being pulled along by God.

A final turning point in accepting God’s calling came when I was sitting at a table with a retired professor from a local seminary. (Many years later, I found out that my wife had arranged for us to sit together.)  We started talking about the ministry and the possibility of me being a pastor.  He asked me if I thought I’d be a good pastor.  I said, “Yes, I think would.”  He then said, “Well, you better get going!  The church needs good pastors.”  His encouragement was the tipping point.  Once I made the decision, I felt full of joy.  Accepting God’s calling has been the fulfillment of many, many turning points.

Throughout it all, I have grown in my passion of being a follower of Jesus and making disciples.  I love preaching and teaching the gospel message of salvation because I truly believe it’s the most important message there is.  I can also see how God has shaped and equipped me through all of the twists and turns in order to help me walk alongside others in their journey of faith – no matter where they are on that journey.  So, are you willing to walk together, to be a follower of Jesus?

Council Members

James Waddell – President
Judie Agee – Vice President
Cheryl Cagel – Secretary
Bill Jenkins – Treasurer
Aleyne Larsen-Craig – Member at Large
Fran Klein – Member at Large
Grete Carlson – Member at Large

The Church Council of JOY Church welcomes your feedback. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please email us below.