SHELDON—There are three guiding values to Pastor David Tank’s faith: He wants to cultivate his spiritual life, deepen his biblical knowledge and sharpen his ministry skills.
These values have guided his faith journey for over a decade, and Tank wants to share them with his new congregation at Crossroads Community Church in Sheldon.
The 28-year-old became Crossroads senior pastor on Sept. 13, replacing longtime pastor Bob Donley who left the congregation in July and moved to Texas.
Tank and his wife Sarah moved to Sheldon with their 10-month-old son, Owen, after spending the last five years in Chicago.
Sarah is from a small town in Kansas, and Tank grew up in Bettendorf just a block from the Mississippi River.
“We think Sheldon is a really healthy small town and it reminds us of the small town where my wife and I first met,” Tank said.
He attended seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.
After finishing seminary in 2018, Tank did a two-year pastoral residency program with the online ministry organization Unlocking the Bible in partnership with The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, a multi-campus church based in Chicago’s suburbs.
“That church has had a significant impact on our lives,” Tank said. “It’s really helped me prepare for ministry as much as seminary if not even more.”
It was during his residency that Tank discovered the three values that form the backbone of his approach to ministry.
“Those commitments to spiritual life, biblical doctrine and ministry leadership, those energize me,” Tank said. “That’s what I want to do in ministry and what I’m about.”
“They show me my great need for Christ because I can’t do those things on my own. I need the Lord working through me. I want to be a servant leader who models and exemplifies these things and helps lead others to do the same.”
From his first visit to Crossroads Community Church, Tank said he knew it was a congregation that shared his vision.
“Crossroads Community Church is a congregation that loves the word of God,” Tank said. “They want to grow, they want to be faithful disciples of Jesus.”
Tank has been preparing to take a leadership role in ministry for almost 12 years.
He first felt called to ministry when he was 16 and has pursued that call diligently since. Crossroads Community Church is his first full-time position, but Tank said his experiences during his residency have equipped him with the skills to lead fruitful ministry in Sheldon.
“It’s been a journey of preparation and confirmation,” he said. “I’ve gotten to serve and worship in many different types of churches, but I’m really at home in the Evangelical Free Church in the Midwest, so we’re excited to be here.”
Despite COVID-19 restrictions and a few positive cases within the congregation earlier in the month, Tank said his opportunities to meet with congregation members have been overwhelmingly positive.
“We have felt very loved and cared for ourselves by our congregation,” Tank said. “It’s a really good season to be here so far and get so much help moving around.”
Throughout the summer Crossroads has continued to hold services in-person and via livestream for congregation members who want to attend remotely.
Tank and the church elders have decided that for the month of October, the congregation will wear masks at church while O’Brien County and surrounding areas experience a surge of coronavirus cases.
“We’ve said we are going to wear masks this coming month to love our fellow members and our congregation,” Tank said.
With his experience ministering for congregations in and around Chicago earlier in the year, the addition of technology has not phased Tank. He has working with congregation members to build a website for the church to help the congregation pull together and find information no matter how they attend.
“I’ve been able to step into it and work along side a congregation that has already been proactive on these things,” Tank said.
In addition to leading Sunday services, Tank is excited to pitch in with the worship team. He is classically trained in piano and cello.
“I’m going to play some music during worship,” Tank said. “I haven’t yet, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity. It probably won’t be a regular part of my job, but will be a fun thing on the side.”
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated where Sarah Tank is from.