From teaching science to preaching faith: Pastor takes path to ministry
It seems that God often calls the unexpecting into pastoral ministry — like modern Jonahs who never dream of shepherding a congregation. Such was the case for Rev. Brad Cusson, until he entered a season of discontentment as dark as the belly of a big fish.
Cusson and his newlywed wife lived in Huntington Beach, Calif. in a beautiful house they fixed up themselves. She enjoyed her job as a teacher in a local Lutheran school, they lived close to family and he worked with high school students teaching science in the public school.
It should have felt idyllic, but a squall stirred within his soul, a discontentment that caused confusion in the direction his life should take.
“It was a horrible, horrible time,” Cusson recalled. “I said, ‘There’s gotta be more.’” During this season, he decided to take Hebrew and apologetics at Concordia University Irvine (CUI), Irvine, Calif.
While taking classes, he started to wonder if vocational ministry was the direction his life should take. He spoke with his wife, Janie. Then he asked his professor, Rev. Dr. Charles Manske, who previously served as the college’s first president, what he thought about him entering the ministry. Dr. Manske immediately took Cusson to the president’s office, and they called the seminary to grant him admission.
“I went home and told Janie that if we do this, we’ve got to put the house on the market — and that is how I got to seminary,” he said
From seminary to LCEF investor
After seminary, the Cussons served for 18 years in Denver, where they raised their kids. While there, they worked with Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) to expand the church building and saw how LCEF partners with ministries to further their missions.
Cusson also learned about the opportunity to invest with LCEF and decided to deposit money with them and start funds for some of his grandchildren as well.
“It was really cool to be a part of the bigger process because now, in a sense, we’re joining the ministry not only where we are at, but everywhere LCEF is at too.”
In years that followed, Cusson was called to California to serve as the senior pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, where they also partnered with LCEF in another capital campaign to acquire a large warehouse building and remodel it for worship and ministry.
“LCEF has been with us through the whole journey … they caught the vision of the ministry … and partnered with us,” he said.