Hi, I’m Reverend Dr. Jeff Thurman but I prefer to just be called “Jeff.” My wife, Linda, and I are so happy to be serving the United Methodist Church in Ashland. I’m a life-long United Methodist. I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota but my family moved to Nebraska City before I was a year old. After graduating high school in 1975 I went to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln on a track scholarship. I ran the 800 meters. I really enjoyed my university years and competing on the track team. After graduating with a degree in Journalism in 1979 I went to Seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky and graduated in 1982. I received my Doctorate of Ministry in 1991 from Drew School of Theology in Madison, New Jersey.
The first church I served was in Harrison, Nebraska. Harrison is located 10 miles from Wyoming and 15 miles from South Dakota. The popular joke concerning Harrison is that, “It’s not the end of the world but you can see it from there.”
Harrison is where I met Linda. Linda was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and her family moved to Harrison when she was in grade school. Her dad, Robert, was a United Methodist Pastor until he started teaching science in Harrison.
Linda and I married in 1986. Linda was previously married and had four children so when we got married I became the instant father of three girls and a boy, two of which were teenagers. Talk about a fast and tough initiation into fatherhood. Linda and I then had two children, a son and a daughter.
We’ve served churches in Harrison, Silver Creek, Harvard, Stromsburg, and McCook. I then was selected to be a church planter and tried to start a new United Methodist Church in North East Lincoln in 2009. That was a difficult time as we were able to launch a small group but were unable to grow large enough to become self-supporting. In 2011, we shut down the attempt and we were appointed to Gothenburg. Our last appointment was in Benton, Kansas. Benton was just too far away from our kids and 7 grandkids so we requested to come back to Nebraska. We arrived in July of 2017. Ashland feels like home; because it is.
I still run almost every day, I play “at” golf, and enjoy watching the Huskers and playing the guitar. Linda plays the piano and enjoys reading, quilting, and spoiling the grandkids.
Although I grew up in the church and had nearly perfect Sunday School attendance, once I finished confirmation I thought I had graduated from church. I stopped going after 8th
grade. It was at that time that I also became really good at sports. I was a nice kid in high school but I was selfish and self-absorbed. Getting a scholarship to run track didn’t help my personality any. It was while I was at the University that I really learned who Jesus was and had my faith reawakened.
During my freshman year I recommitted my life to Jesus and shortly after that felt like God was calling me into full time ministry. I resisted being a pastor because I didn’t want to keep going to school. But God was calling me into pastoral ministry and so I ended up going to Asbury Seminary which greatly influenced my life.
I know that God loves me and loves you. I know that God can change your life and that he helps you get through the tough times. Our years in Lincoln and at Gothenburg were very tough. While in Lincoln my dad passed away. I was very close to my dad and that was a very difficult time. Then when we moved to Gothenburg our oldest son, Todd, passed away at the age of 33. Linda and I experienced three deaths in a very short time, my dad, the church start, and our son Todd. Linda and I know disappointment, loss, and grief. We also have experienced and know God’s love and care. The Gothenburg church demonstrated incredible love as they cared for us in our grief.
f you want to know more about Jesus and his love I invite you to come and worship with us and to study the scriptures and pray with us. If you are experiencing loss or grief I invite you to come and receive healing and comfort. If you’re questioning and searching I know what that is like too. Linda and I would be glad to search with you and offer you guidance from our searching and experience.
I know this has been a long introduction. I don’t have all the answers or have my life “put together.” But I do know Jesus and his love and that is what I want to share. So, if you think you would like to gather with us, grow with us, go and serve and love others with us, and give to others with us I invite you to come and meet us and this wonderful congregation we are serving.