Mark Brandt calls his start in ministry a "real God thing." After graduating from Wartburg College in 1995 with a degree in music education, he found himself, as he describes, "jobless and penniless." He was unsure about teaching and instead found the church in the back of his mind. "I was burned out in my senior year of college," he said. "I didn't feel that's where I was supposed to go ... I could not go into a teaching job without a passion for it. I felt a strong call that year." Through the grapevine he found out Immanuel Lutheran Church in Forest City needed a youth director. Though he had no experience in that work, he pursued it. Seventeen years later, he is still working with young adults. Brandt spent several years at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Forest City, IA, before going to the Twin Cities. He joined the Hope staff in June 1999 overseeing junior high and high school programs. Seeing young people's faith grow, seeing new faces and kids bringing their family members with them to church was rewarding. His own faith was strengthened as a young adult. He started going back to church in eighth grade, he said, because he was "bored on Wednesday nights." The experience hooked him. "They were just glad I was there." He remains glad to be at Hope. He finds the church's growth challenging. That challenge has lead him to his role as the Online Campus Minister. "It's exciting to be a part of what God is doing. It's amazing what God does through normal people. ... I plan on being here until God decides he needs me in something else."
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