By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Pastor Robert “Bob” Forsberg delivered his final sermon June 28, in which he read from Hebrews chapter 13, verse eight, which states “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
“My theology over the years has gotten very simple,” he said. “My theology is ‘love Jesus and serve Him.’ Five words … I would hope that’s what people have taken away from whatever I’ve been able to do, if I’ve been able to accomplish anything.”
Forsberg has served as the pastor of Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn for the past five years, and is less than two months shy of reaching the 42-year-mark of first being ordained as a pastor.
He graduated from the then-called Moorehead State College, located in Minnosota, in 1969 with his degree in Psychology, but felt called to serve in ministry. He served his first congregation in Malinta, located in the northwest corner of the state with a population of roughly 300 people, at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Pastro Forsberg arrived with just clothing, books and a chair to his name, but was pleasantly surprised to see his home had been furnished with the help of the congregation.
It was also at Trinity Lutheran Church where he would be introduced to his wife, Sandy, and would later have two children, Nathanael and Deborah. He describes meeting Sandy as the highlight of his ministry.
“The postmaster was the matchmaker,” Forsberg said. “The lady (Sandy) was in town collecting support to go to Africa as a Lutheran Bible translator. She was going around to individuals to get support. The [postmaster] said ‘you and this pastor may want to meet,’ so she left a note and I gave her a call. She came to one of our Bible studies and we felt that something special was going to happen.”
Between 1987 and 1997, he served at a church located in Trotwood and later moved to St. Marks Lutheran Church in Fairborn until 2010.
Community Members Dave Scober and Bob Emerson wished to form a congregation, and asked him to serve as the pastor.
Light of Christ Lutheran Church began its services at the former community center in Fairborn. However, it later moved to its permanent location on Second Street last year after a church building became open. Forsburg said he felt that getting the congregation into a permanent location was a milestone, and that the Lord was calling him to reach the point where he stands now.
“I’m looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me,” Forsberg said. “I don’t know exactly right now. I know I’m not finished as a minister, as a pastor, but I don’t know what the next call will be. It will be something, and I feel right now that He is giving me a break and something else will be coming later on.”
Within his career, Forsberg additionally served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and published a booklet based on John 3:16 in the Bible.
He emphasized Bible studies because he feels that it gives individuals the opportunity to reflect, discuss and grow.
“It’s our responsibility, our part of that relationship to do the changes, fall in line and hopefully understand why things happen the way they have for our benefit, our good. He’s our creator, He knows what’s best for us,” Forsberg said. “Getting people into the scriptures and realizing that our God is an awesome God.”
Forsberg writes devotional columns in this newspaper, and said he will continue to do so. He advises those beginning in ministry to be sure that there is a true calling to do so from God, and to have a thick skin in the beginning. He said forgiveness is essential as a pastor, but it will come easier in time.
“The two things you really need are a call from God and the ability to forgive,” Forsberg said. “Sometimes it’s not very easy, and sometimes you need a thick skin to make it through the little bit before you can forgive. Once you get to forgiveness and an opposition comes against you and things are said against you … once you can let that go to forgiveness, you’ll be okay.”