Big changes ahead for local pastor

Published 11:07 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Dan Kahl, youth pastor for Our Savior's Lutheran Church will be moving to Waverly, Iowa, with wife, Pastor Lissa Kahl. -- Eric Johnson/

Dan Kahl is preparing for one of the biggest changes of his life.

Since January of 1996, he has been the associate pastor of youth and inter-generational ministries at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin. That will change on Jan. 29, Kahl’s last day on the job. Kahl and his wife, Lissa, accepted positions as co-pastors at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waverly, Iowa.

For the past 16 years, Kahl has helped more than 450 youth go through confirmation. He’s seen marriages, baptisms and deaths of countless Our Savior’s members.

Email newsletter signup

“We are involved with people’s lives from the most powerful moments of their lives — birth, baptism and death,” Kahl said about he and his wife’s connection to locals.

And more than anything else, he is going to miss those people.

“That’s the hardest part,” Kahl said about leaving all the people he has known for so long.

“It’s just tough knowing I’m going to miss confirmation this year, graduations,” he said. “There are people here I have become attached to that I am going to be missing.”

Over the years, Kahl has shared experiences with members on mission trips in Juarez, Mexico; St. Louis, Mo.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Vancouver, Canada and many other places he can’t recall. He’s also been a member of the contemporary band at the church.

Though Kahl has spent time in Waverly, Iowa, helping with flood relief, he hasn’t met the members of the church. While it may take time for him to get to know everybody, he will likely fit in well. Part of the reason Redeemer hired Kahl is for his musical talents, so Kahl will serve as a musician in Redeemer Lutheran’s band.

Yet “hired” may be too strong of language for Kahl.

“It’s not a job,” he said. “It’s a calling.”

Kahl’s wife had been pastor at a church in Sargeant, which meant the couple’s children sometime attended both churches. Now, the family can serve at one church, together.

Before Kahl leaves, however, Our Savior’s will do one more special thing for Kahl, when it holds a farewell service for him on Sunday, Feb. 5.