MORRIS – After working for 30 years as an executive manager at Caterpillar Inc. , Steve Cook retired to fulfill a new purpose.
“God called me into ministry after 30 years of service. Its a little bit of an interesting story. I felt God call me into ministry, but I said when I turn 55 I’ll retire from Caterpillar and everything will be good. But he kept pressuring me. So at 48, I ended up leaving” Cook said.
After pursuing the call, Cook obtained his Master’s in Ministry from Olivet Nazarene University in 2007.
After his education, he began a four-year tenure at Ottawa First Church of the Nazarene, known as Crossroads, as executive pastor. The congregation grew from 200 people to more than 1,000.
It was during this time that he felt God stirred his heart to start a brand-new church in his hometown of Morris.
“Morris has always held a special place in my heart, as it is my hometown. So when I felt the call to start a new church, Morris was the obvious choice,” Cook said.
The dream, Cook said, focused on reaching those who weren’t currently attending church for whatever reason and share the truth that they mattered to God. He said he completed that dream when he become the lead pastor and founder of Living Water Church of the Nazarene.
His dreams didn’t end there. Cook is the president of Alliance Counseling and Coaching, where he works with his wife, MaryAnn, to help people achieve group’s full potential.
During his time in Morris he got to know the Rev. Craig Benson of the Grace Lutheran Church. When Benson would go on vacation he would call Cook to ask him to fill in for Grace Lutheran while he was gone. In May, after suffering a loss, Benson retired and the church council asked Cook to come preach a few times while they searched for a new pastor.
“After filling in for about five weeks, the church council called me up to set up a meeting and said we found a new pastor. And we want to call you. It was a bit of a shock, but it was exciting,”Cook said.
He said he is looking forward to getting to know his congregation and being a part of the long vision God has for Grace Lutheran Church.