Whoever said you can’t go home again never met Daniel Coutz.
Coutz not only has come back to live in his hometown of Montpelier, he is also the new pastor of his home church. Coutz began his pastorate the first Sunday of October at The First Church of the Nazarene, 401 W. Brown.
This is the 28-year-old pastor’s second church in 3+ years of ministry. He will be a candidate for ordination next year, having just missed the deadline this year.
Coutz lives in the parsonage with his wife, Bethany, and their two children, Anna, 3, and Gideon, 18 months. The Coutz’s are also expecting a third child.
Coutz said he felt the call to be a clergyman of some sort while working as youth leader at camp in St. Mary’s. While praying for a group of teens that were coming to the camp, he felt God’s direction to go into full-time ministry.
“I first thought it was going be youth ministry,” Coutz said. “In college it was pastoral ministry where I decided to go.”
Coutz graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in 2013. He had graduated from Montpelier High School in 2007, but had taken some time off after getting married in 2011.
After working for three years at a church in Fulton, Ohio, he interviewed for an opening in Montpelier last April. It wasn’t a good fit, he said.
“I felt uneasy, I said no,” Coutz said.
A few months later, his wife suggested calling the church and seeing if the position was open. The inspiration seemed divine in nature, he said.
“It confirmed where we were supposed to go,” Coutz said.
The church had hired someone else, but that person changed their mind and Coutz was hired.
“God opened the door,” Coutz said.
It’s been a decade since Coutz had lived in Montpelier so coming home took some adjustment. There were many familiar faces, but the youth group which had been so vibrant in 2007 is now a shell, he said.
Attendance has averaged between 30 and 40 in his first month, Coutz said. Those who attend have responded well and their support is encouraging, he said.
To build the base up, Coutz wants to rekindle the youth and children’s ministries. The demographics will make that a tough task.
“We are the only church this side of the tracks and there are a lot of lower income people living here,” Coutz said. “The schools are nearby.”
Coutz’s sermons are developed from the Common Revised Lectionary, which offers passages for different events in the church calendar.
The beauty of the Lectionary is that it forces him to study and preach on topics he may otherwise not.
“I am not preaching my favorite three passages,” Coutz said.
On Nov. 6, he talked about All Saints Day and focused on John Wesley and Polycarp. The former led a reform effort in England which became the Methodist Church, the latter was a second century A.D. bishop who was martyred for his faith.
The purpose was to get his flock to stretch themselves, Coutz said.
Pastoring a small church means Coutz has to find a daytime job to support himself. He landed a job at Stark Truss in Edgerton. It’s a sudden departure from an office job he formerly held, but everybody has been patient with him so far.
Worship is mostly hymns, but guitars and drums are used as well.
The schedule at the church is:
Sunday school 9:30 a.m., worship is 10:45 a.m. and evening services begin at 6 p.m. Youth services are 7 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, call 419-485-4116.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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