I was born November 6, 1949, in Freeman, SD, to the late Aaron and Emma (Schnabel) Koerner. I was raised on a small farm near Freeman along with three brothers and two sisters. I was baptized and have been a member of an RCUS church all of my life. My family comes from the ‘Germans from Russia’ migration and were members of the German Reformed Church for as far back as records are available.
As a young boy I attended grade school at a one room country school. I was catechized and confirmed by the late Rev. William Korn. Of all of the many blessings the Lord has provided for me through the years, I would count memorizing and being instructed as a youth in the Heidelberg Catechism amongst the most precious. I received my High school education from Freeman Public High. During these years I had the privilege of attending Heidelberg Youth Camp near Aberdeen, SD, for a number of years. It was through this camp that I met a number of RCUS pastors and was very influenced by their teaching and life of commitment to the Lord. Also at this time my pastor, the late Rev. Chester Ploeger, had significant influence upon me. These experiences led me to give some thoughts to pursuing the ministry. I worked hard to resist those thoughts, having come up with a number of reasons why I was not qualified. After graduating from high school I attended vocational school for one year studying auto mechanics. I also had an opportunity to join the South Dakota Army National Guard. It was through the experience of vocational school and military that the Lord kept taking away all of my excuses and convicted me to pursue the ministry.
I pursued my education for the ministry at Dordt College and Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. While at Dordt I met the love and companion of my life, Marcia Scholten whom I soon married. She was raised in the Reformed faith in Edgerton, MN, and has been a faithful supporter as the Lord has taken us to a number of places across the county in His service. The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and two sons and now one son-in-law and two daughters in-law along with six beautiful and very intelligent grandchildren. My wife and I praise God every day that all of our children and their spouses are faithful followers of the Lord and are raising their children to follow Him. Marcia and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary this past August.
I have served as pastor of the following congregations, Ebenezer RCUS of Shafter, CA, from 1977, until 1983; Hope RCUS of Sutton, NE, from 1983 until 1995; and St. John’s RCUS of Lincoln, NE, from 2003 until 2010. I served as organizing pastor of the following mission works, Covenant RCUS of Watertown, SD, from 1995 until 2001; Pueblo, CO, and Calhan, CO, from 2001 until 2003. I have also been serving as interim pastor of the Trinity RCUS of Sioux Falls, SD since April of 2013.
After doing some teaching at Heidelberg Theological Seminary as an adjunct professor, I was called to be full-time professor in 2010, at which time we moved to Sioux Falls, SD. I consider training men for the ministry to be a humbling and fulfilling experience. I believe that the Lord has prepared me for this with my years of service in the ministry. I have also been able to continue my education by pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree which I am scheduled to receive from New Geneva Theological Seminary on May 18, 2014.
I am firmly convinced that there is no greater privilege and awesome responsibility than to proclaim the Word of God to His people. I am grateful that He has seen fit to use me unto that end.