My Wartburg experiences guided my faith

By Silvia Oakland ’21, Dominic Hanson ’21, and Courtney Stucker ’21

The Rev. Brian King ’92, who graduated with a degree in history and religion, never thought his life would lead him to Wartburg College. King, who grew up in central Illinois, had never heard of Wartburg when he started his college search, but after meeting with faculty from his prospective department, he decided Wartburg would be his home for the next four years.

“I think all of those connections and the strength of the relationships led me to Waverly,” King said. “Dr. Terry Lindell, who was a history professor at that time and still is today, reached out to me and took the time to help connect me here. Same with the football coach and the pastor at the time.”

Lindell was thrilled when King chose Wartburg.

“He had an unusual circumstance coming here; he had an appointment to the military but a medical condition showed up which disqualified him,” Lindell said. “Wartburg became his choice, and we were absolutely delighted by it. He was an exceptional student.”

Life on campus for King was similar to that of any other college student. He participated in football, enjoyed the classes in his major, was a resident assistant, and became involved with campus ministry.

In addition to working hard in his Fall and Winter term classes, he also had an enjoyable May Term experience when he traveled to Seattle to learn how the ministries were best serving home-insecure populations, which King said were some of the most vulnerable people in the inner city. Seattle was not the only place King checked off his travel list while at Wartburg. He also interned with Sen. Chuck Grassley in Washington, D.C.

Brian King

“At Wartburg, all of the different opportunities that I had to choose my own learning path afforded me out-of-the-box advantages I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere,” King said.

Through King’s history major, he had the ability to develop his communication skills and help create a more long-term perspective of situations.

“Wartburg helped me learn to set and work toward priorities and goals, develop my skills in written and oral communication, and I learned how to work with people from diverse backgrounds,” he said. “It set me up for seminary and prepared me for everything that was to follow.”

King’s time at Wartburg was a commitment that was full of both leadership and service, two clear parts of Wartburg’s mission statement. King, a current member of the college’s Board of Regents, had been a national leader with Luther League, a religious association for young adults, and he came to Wartburg with history of service and leadership that allowed him to become a leader in programs on campus. After graduating from Wartburg, he went on to Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque.

As the senior pastor at Nazareth Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, King continues to find the intersections of faith and learning and uses his experiences to help shape how he treats other people in his life and work.

“He is the head pastor of one of the largest congregations in Northeast Iowa and is constantly pushing his congregation and finding ways to serve Christ,” Lindell said. “From taking youth on service trips to working with Habitat for Humanity, it’s really neat to see what Brian has become.”

King also is one of the many Wartburg alumni who have met their significant other on campus. He recalled sitting behind his future wife, Jen Lohmann, in a Western Civilization course. The two have been married for 27 years and have four children, two of whom have attended Wartburg.

“None of this would have been possible had I not have gotten to come to Wartburg College, and I am forever thankful that God had a different plan than I did in leading me to Wartburg,” King said.

King encourages students at Wartburg and those who might be considering the school to seize their opportunities at any chance they can. He challenges students to find a place where they’re going to become involved with whatever their passion may be.

“Wartburg is a place that offers incredible experiences in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the concert hall,” King said. “This a place where you will get involved, rolling up your sleeves and make life happen.”