A leap of faith
Max Seeland has been a Lutheran his whole life. Back in 2016, he came to an eye-opening conclusion.
“I had become stagnant in my faith,” Seeland said. “I wasn’t getting what I needed.”
Instead of ignoring his notions, he decided to take a leap of faith and try a different church. One trip to Good Shepherd changed everything.
“I came one Sunday and never left,” Seeland said. “I knew it was the right place to be.”
Since then, he hasn’t looked back and has devoted his retirement to service. His story highlights how giving back to others often gives back to us.
Serve as we have been served
Seeland says he has been blessed in his life, and realizes others are not so lucky. Wanting to serve others, he sought out volunteer opportunities shortly after joining Good Shepherd. One event led to another, and pretty soon Seeland found himself involved in multiple ways.
Director of Spiritual Programming and Development Sarah Iverson noticed Seeland’s spirit. A friend of Seeland’s for the past three years, Iverson saw Seeland submerse himself in service.
“Max is that guy that you will always see at church, and you’re not sure what he’s doing there,” Iverson said. “He’s the one car in the parking lot, and you’re not quite sure who it is.”
Over the past five years, Seeland has helped support the Food Pantry Garden, fundraise for Team World Vision and serve food for the Holy COW. But that’s not all.
Little by little, Seeland began going beyond what was asked of him, picking up odd jobs here and there.
“He’s this generous guy who’s out shoveling snow in the columbarium, watering the corn or weeding the campfire pit, just because it needs to be done,” Iverson said. “He sees this as an extension of his home, so he’s willing to, and wanting to, take care of it.”
And Seeland sees Good Shepherd as just that — a second home.
A second home
Because of volunteering, Seeland was no longer stagnant in his faith.
He thinks about his days before Good Shepherd often. Yet he says the feeling he got his first Good Shepherd Sunday never quite went away.
“Good Shepherd has offered me so many opportunities,” Seeland said. “We’re really blessed here for our programming, our leadership, the staff, the pastoral care that we receive. Just from top to bottom, every time I walk in here, I get refreshed.”
Seeland hopes others can have a similar experience, regardless of their faith background. He knows that it may not be easy walking in Good Shepherd’s doors for the first time. It may not be easy volunteering in an unfamiliar area. But Seeland wants to speak to the weary.
“You don’t have to be afraid of who you are or what you know about Christ because there’s room for everybody here,” Seeland said. “Good Shepherd is just a wonderful place.”
So maybe we all can follow in Seeland’s footsteps. As he has shown, the reward of stepping outside of our comfort zone can be worth it. Because once we do, we all can rekindle flames and feel like we belong.
Want to serve beside Max at Good Shepherd? Reach out to Donna Maysack.