Miles Rohde is another recent addition to Mars Hill by way of the Lead Pastor Residency program
By: Mars Hill Church
Posted: Nov 07, 2013
Mars Hill Bellevue
What’s your story?
I was born in a small Minnesota town called Caledonia on May 14, 1972, to Michael and Bernice Rohde. Because of my father’s service in the U.S. Army, I had lived in Oklahoma, Florida, Hawaii, and North Dakota by my 1st grade year. I lived in Houston, Texas, from my 3rd grade year to my sophomore year in college. Born and baptized in the Lutheran faith, then later on baptized in the Catholic faith at the age of 5, my family and I were unconverted and sporadic in our church attendance. I experienced some success as an athlete in Texas football and baseball, but my pursuit in life was fairly self-absorbed.
On December 15, 1988, at the age of 16, I was invited by some Christian friends to a Christmas party where I was ended up being the only non-born again person there. Unknown to me, this group had been praying for me to come to faith for some time. One of the friends, whose home it was that we occupied, took me in his living room and shared the hope that he had in the saving power of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit used him to make me aware of my sinful state and that in order to be reconciled to God I needed to trust in Christ alone for salvation. So in his front yard I asked God to forgive me of my sins and I placed my hope and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.
How’d you know you were called into ministry?
In June 1989, while attending my first youth camp, I sensed the call of God on my life to pastoral ministry. Some try to describe what it means to be called by talking about “lumps in throats,” “increased heart rates,” and the like. For me, I experienced a singling-out of sorts in my heart and mind, as if I were the only person in the room. I didn’t even know what it meant to be called to be a pastor, and in retrospect, it was very subjective. That was until other adult leaders and pastors began to affirm what I knew to be true in my heart. I spent the remaining years of high school being discipled by a few wonderful pastors at Houston Northwest Church.
After high school, I interned for our senior pastor and then went off to college where I tried my best to run away from the call of God on my life. For 3 years I was successful. Not doing well in college, I moved to Minnesota where my family had relocated and, shortly thereafter, joined the Air Force in January 1994. In hindsight, the Lord was using all of this to bring me back to himself and to firmly reestablish his call on my life. I joined and trained in one of the most grueling and specialized career fields in the military as a Combat Survival Instructor (now called SERE Specialist). It was during this time that the Lord convicted me of my rebellious ways and brought me to a Bible-centered and gospel-driven church in Spokane, WA.
This is where I would meet my pastoral/life/marriage mentor, meet my future wife, and begin to pursue the pastoral call on my life in obedience to God’s call on my life. After seven years as a USAF SERE Specialist and a year as a government contractor/interrogator, I entered into fulltime Christian ministry in Spokane. In 2002, the Lord moved my wife and 2-year-old son to Minnesota where we would begin an 11-year pastoral journey that would include heartbreak, struggle, weakness, blessing, healing, renewed passion for the gospel ministry to which I have been called, and ultimately calling us to Mars Hill Church to be a part of the Lead Pastor Residency program. My wife, Pamela and I will be have been married 17 years this January and we have two wonderful children: Evan Michael (13), and Faith Noel (7).
What’s something you learned in your first couple weeks of residency?
I have learned that things move fast and that everyone, from staff to volunteers, work very hard and are on mission to making disciples and plant churches at Mars Hill. However, what has been a humbling surprise has been observing a significant culture of confession of sin and repentance among pastors/elders/deacons, etc. In a church culture where achievements and accolades are the ends pursued, there has not been a meeting I have attended or a conversation I have had that did not have a thread of understanding the seriousness of sin and the desire for confession and repentance. I could not be more grateful to serve alongside men and women who take seriously the grace of God that covers them, that compels them to confess and repent, and moves them to love and serve Jesus.
What’s a fun fact about you or your family?
My mother and father met in Tehran, Iran in June 1969. My father was stationed with the Army in Tehran, and my mother’s dad was working with an oil company and living in the Middle East. When asked where my parents met, I tell people Iran and proceed to get strange looks from them as they try to figure out why I don’t look Iranian.
By: Pastor Miles Rohde
Posted: Jul 08, 2014
Serve, suffer, rejoice, and love
In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul emphatically exhorts the Christians in Rome that he is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The power of God for the salvation of all who believe is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This power radically altered human history and changed lives for all eternity.
The encouragement that Paul shared with Roman believers is the same verse that I witnessed on the wall of a local church just outside of Dilla, Ethiopia. We worshiped there alongside hundreds who gathered in a church building that was a converted prison. Historically, this prison held numerous church leaders who were arrested for their faith in Jesus Christ under the Communist regime in Ethiopia. For many of us at Mars Hill Church (let alone in the American church), this verse is an encouraging reminder of the power of the gospel. However, for the Christians in Dilla, this verse is not only a reminder, it is a reality, a reality on which they stake their hope and survival.
I had the privilege of traveling with Executive Elder Sutton Turner, various lead pastors and deacons from Mars Hill Church, and members of New Covenant Foundation, who led our trip for us logistically. Our mission was to simply go, support, encourage, and, mainly, be transformed by what God has been doing in and through the believers in Ethiopia. Having been on numerous mission trips in my 15 years of pastoral ministry, I was fully aware of how I usually come away with being more blessed than being a blessing. However, I was not prepared for what I actually witnessed and heard.
Those with background on the New Covenant Foundation are welcome to contribute.