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Called by God

Pat Jeffrey knew in his heart at an early age that he had a higher calling: “When I was a sophomore in high school, I felt a tug upon my heart to go and work for the Lord,”Born March 14, 1954, Jeffrey grew up in the farming community of Lexington, Neb. “I grew up in town, but was involved in the farming industry and enjoyed that,” he said. “You grow up and you know where milk comes from and chicken and hamburger.”After high school, Jeffrey set his sights on the Campus Life Youth for Christ – a nationwide youth ministry. “I had quite a few football scholarships from different schools when I graduated, but I wanted to go somewhere where I could get a bachelor’s in Christian education and work for Campus Life Youth for Christ.”Jeffrey found what he was looking for at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. While he worked on his bachelor’s, he volunteered for Campus Life Youth for Christ.During the summer months, Jeffrey returned to Nebraska, where he had a paid job with his church. He worked with children and youth. “I started right in the ministry, right off,” he said.Eventually, his home pastor encouraged him to think about the seminary. He applied to schools in Colorado because they were close to ski areas, he said. However, he attended the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa. And, to his surprise, he was near a ski area: 8 miles from the school. “The first winter I lived there, they had 89 inches of snow.”Jeffrey completed his field work as the director of Christian education in Cedar Falls/Waterloo Iowa. He graduated from the seminary in 1980 and became an associate pastor at a church in Washington, Iowa, that same year.The young people of his congregation played cupid with Jeffrey and encouraged him to meet Joyce, a vocal teacher at one of the high schools in the area. “They kept getting her to come to church, and they kept getting me to call her,” he said. He and Joyce were married in Washington, Iowa, July 3, 1981.Not long after they were married, Joyce had an opportunity to become the director of music at a church in Salina, Kansas. They acted on the offer and Jeffrey served as the church’s associate pastor for Christian youth education. They were there for three years, and Jeffrey said they began wondering what was next in God’s plan for them.In 1986, they moved to Encampment, a small town in Wyoming. “The town was about 500 people, and the church was about 75 people when I got there,” Jeffrey said.While there, they had two sons, and Jeffrey pursued a doctorate in parish revitalization through McCormick Seminary, based in Chicago. “We were assigned to several readings for approximately six weeks and rather than fly all the students to Chicago, they would fly the professor to Colorado,” he said. “I was the only student from Wyoming and there was one from New Mexico and nine from Colorado. We would meet in Estes Park for a week.” After a few weeks of a residency in Chicago and the completion of a thesis, Jeffrey earned a doctorate in 1994.During this time, even with a full plate, he helped start a new church in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which was 325 miles – one way. “I would leave Encampment on noon on Tuesday and arrive at 7 p.m. in time for a meeting,” he said. “Then I would stay overnight at the Motel 6 get up and leave at 5 a.m. the next morning and drive home and be home by 1 p.m.” Today, the church is thriving, he said.Although they loved living in Encampment, Jeffrey said he felt the tug on his heart to be open to where God wanted him. He ended up as a pastor in Haines, Alaska, where they lived for six years – then it was time for another move, this time to Colorado.In 2001, Jeffrey accepted the “call” to organize a church in Falcon. “It was called a parachute drop because we were not birthed by another church,” he said. Determining how to start the church from the ground up would be challenging. “Joyce and I sat in our living room and looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t know a soul out here. How do we start? What do we do?'” They started by opening the windows of their house and singing. And it worked – they met their neighbors.And then some.Grace Community Church was born. Throughout the last six years, the congregation of two has grown to 150. Grace Community Church is currently housed in a storefront at the Shops at Woodmen Hills; however, the church owns property off Stapleton Road, near Falcon High School, and Jeffrey is looking forward to building a church in the future.More on Pat JeffreyOf the places you’ve lived, which one was your favorite?Probably Encampment, Wyo. It was a small community and because it was small, people were really community-oriented. When you’re a town under 500 people, you have to really pull together.Favorite thing about Colorado?The availability of recreation and the beauty.Name someone you admire.Leroy Jacobson. He was the Campus Life Youth for Christ. All he did was disciple me in God’s word. He taught me to follow Jesus. He still works for Campus Life Youth for Christ in San Antonio, Texas. We still keep in touch.Favorite memory?When I got married. Both of us were pretty poor, but the community really put on a great wedding for us.

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