“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 (NRSV)
Reverend Dan Bader has always been committed to the itinerancy process, committing to discern what God has in store. As the passage from Esther suggests, being ready, “for such a time as this.” Dan and Monica Bader will move from Stillwater, Minnesota, to Rapid City, South Dakota, this summer. Rev. Bader will serve as the Southwest district superintendent. Dan will be following Reverend Bob Ruedebusch, who is transitioning to retirement.
Bader said, “I want to learn and listen. I hope to be a calm presence as I minister with the people of the Southwest District.”
Bader is currently serving as the senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Stillwater, Minnesota. In 2018, he began serving First UMC in the Minnesota Conference.
“It was a chance to connect with family. We had experienced a season of loss with close family members, and we wanted the opportunity to be closer to family,” said Bader. “I am and have always been a member of the Dakotas Conference. So First UMC knew that I was on loan, and I could always get a call to serve back in the Dakotas.”
Growing up in Aberdeen, the church was part of his life. Bader attended a EUB church in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He remembers attending the uniting conference, where the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church became the United Methodist Church. The vote to unite was held in Aberdeen when he was eight years old.
Bader felt a continuing call to ministry throughout his middle and high school years. He was a member of the Dakotas Conference Council on Youth Ministry (CCYM), attended camp, and participated in district youth gatherings.
“It was just a part of my life, who I was,” said Dan. “I was a camp kid. I attended Leadership Training Camp (LTC). Rev. Hank Kor was the head of CCYM, and he became a mentor to me.”
He attended Dakota Wesleyan University and majored in Psychlogy and Religion/Philosophy. After graduation, Dan headed to Claremont School of Theology in California. After one semester, he returned to the Dakotas, where he worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association, various camps and youth retreats, and Abbott House in Mitchell, South Dakota.
During this time, Dan married Monica. “Monica was from Sioux Falls. One of her hopes was that we would not end up in a small, rural area if I became a pastor. Well, guess what? The first church I served was White Lake.”
While working at Abbot House, he called Rev. Hank Kor. “I reached out to Hank Kor. Hank said, ‘So are you going to fish or cut bait the rest of your life?' He asked me to serve at White Lake and Underwood. After about three years, I headed to Methodist Theological School in Ohio.”
After obtaining his Masters of Divinity, Rev. Bader served at Huron (Riverview), Virgil, S.D.; Valley City (Epworth), N.D.; Pierre (First UMC), S.D.; in the Dakotas Conference.
In the appointment announcement, Bishop Laurie Haller wrote, “Dan has demonstrated effective and adaptable leadership in a wide variety of pastoral settings, from small-membership congregations to larger suburban and county-seat churches. This wide range of experience will be an asset to the churches of the Southwest District and the Dakotas Cabinet.”
Congregational ministry and worship have been a joy for Bader. “I really have enjoyed the opportunity to journey through every aspect of people's lives from birth to death.”
Dan is committed to coming alongside each congregation to assist them in living fully into their respective missional opportunities and guide them through this next season of our life together.
“I hope that I can help people discern where they are with the Methodist Church and how they will live out their faith,” said Bader.
To make the transition go smoothly, he will begin to meet with the cabinet in February, before the official start of his appointment on July 1, 2022, as the Southwest district superintendent.
Dan and Monica have two adult sons. Matthew is a teacher who lives in Stillwater, Minnesota. Nathan works in Washington, D.C.