Why I Serve, featuring Chris Koehler
Posted on January 12, 2021 | Posted by Mary Stoneback
Chris Koehler and her family came to Ascension Lutheran Church a little over eighteen years ago, thanks to baseball. At that time, Chris’s son, Alex was eight and played on a basketball team with Bo Kelly. The Koehlers were invited to church by the Kelly family and the rest is history. “We found in Ascension a community that valued knowing one another. It was personal,” says Chris. Following coffee with Pastor Keith Hedstom, Chris learned of opportunities to serve at Ascension. “I like to say I was courted to serve,” comments Chris. Chris enjoyed getting involved in serving on council and the call committee. Inviting members to serve based on their God-given gifts was helpful in getting to know the congregation better, she explains. “It was also a great way to get to know others and be involved in the life of the community.”
A Grandmother’s Influence
Chris values being involved in the life of the church and credits her involvement today to her grandmother’s example. After moving in with grandma at the age of 13, Chris began to go to church regularly, serving on Altar guild and as a Communion Assistant. “I remember my grandmother’s kindness and singing the most. To this day songs like the ‘Old Rugged Cross’ bring tears to my eyes,” she reflects, “and she never said anything bad about anyone.” When Chris and her husband, Rob began to grow their family, going to church was a given. Rob’s family was also involved in church. “It was a no brainer for me, because of the formation I had, thanks to my grandmother and my husband’s involvement in church too,” explains Chris.
An Inspired Career
Today, Chris works as a school psychologist. Chris grew up with an uncle who was born healthy but after coming down with a bad cold, was hospitalized and almost died. As a result, he lost cognitive abilities on the right side. She remembers never seeing the differences or placing limits on him. To her, he was just her uncle. Chris’ connection with her uncle inspired her to become a school psychologist. “I work with children with special needs who are often in crisis. It’s not easy work, but I love the children I walk with and work with them where they’re at. They have incredible gifts to offer if we take the time to learn,” comments Chris.
A Faith Journey Continues
Chris’s personal faith journey continues to deepen from the roots from which it began next to her grandmother in church. She engages in Women’s Bible studies at Ascension, and continues to serve on council and with Ascension’s local food efforts for those in need. When asked why Chris serves, she says, “It is what God calls me to do, wherever I am. Thank God my grandmother led me to church. She led me to Christ and a community of believers I would not be the same without.”