Maranatha calls a new Pastor!

Shawn Eckhoff has been called as bi-vocational pastor to

Marantha Baptist Fellowship in Topeka.

Shawn Eckhoff served in the Navy for 6 year as an electrician on a nuclear sub.   When Eckhoff got out of the Navy and went home, his parents invited him to church and he started attending.   But it was when his Grandma bought him a Bible that he started reading God’s word.  By this time he was a working the night shift as a prison guard in Hutchinson.  One night while on duty, in the quiet of the guard tower he was reading Genesis 6. Shawn said “I felt God calling me to repentance.  I fell down on my knees and asked God for forgiveness.  At that moment I was saved.”

For the next ten years Eckhoff was Police officer in Hutchinson.  It was during that time he went on a mission trip to Peru with a team from his church.  They were going to help build a training camp for Pastors.  Eckhoff was immediately struck by the poverty of the people in Peru.  But it was the commitment of the Christians in the local village to follow Jesus that truly touched his life.  They earned $12 a month and spent $1 each week for the family to travel  the nearest church in the city.    The Peruvian architect working on the project was a believer and he asked Eckhoff’s pastor how one would know if he’s being called to pastor?  The architect shared that he had a sense that he was being called to the ministry.  Here was a man who was wealthy by Peruvian standards yet he was ready to leave it all for Christ.

Eckhoff had also been sensing a calling from God and after mission trip, it only became stronger.  After returning home, he became more involved in the ministries of his church.  That sense of calling only became stronger.   But his heart was in law enforcement and he thought that was what he was meant to do.  One night driving home after a late shift at work, he was listening to KLOVE on the radio.  The announcer said “Maybe you are unhappy in your job. Maybe you are being called to something else.  We here at KLOVE are a praying family and would like to pray for you.” Shawn went home and went to bed. But later his cell phone rang and it was KLOVE, wanting to know if he had and any prayer requests.  As he shared his calling with his wife, Jennifer, she was not surprised.  One month later he surrendered to the ministry.  March 31, 2006 was his last day on the force and he began studies at seminary.

He is excited about his ministry at Marantha and has asked former Pastor Gary Roten to serve as mentor.  Shawn explains his vision in this way: “LIVE Jesus. ‘ L’ stands for learn – teach people about Jesus.  ‘I’ stands for increase in the knowledge Jesus – biblical application.  ‘V’ for serVing Jesus – we are to be servants. ‘E’ for evangelize Jesus– sharing our faith.”

Shawn and his wife Jenni and their two children Paige, age 13 and Cordel age 11 live in Topeka.  Pray for Jenni as she would like to find a job in nursing home.   We welcome the Eckhoff family to Flint Hills Baptist Association.

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