New pastor getting acclimated at Bowler’s Grace Bible Church

Prayer helped him find his way to the ministry
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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Pastor Doug LaPoint, wife Racheal and children, from left, Galilee, 7, Gethsemane Rose, 2, and Elijah, 7, make their home in Shawano. LaPoint is the new pastor for Grace Bible Church in Bowler, which has a congregation of about 50.

The new pastor at Grace Bible Church in Bowler didn’t follow a traditional path to the pulpit.

Doug LaPoint, 33, grew up in the Oshkosh area in the Methodist faith and, like many young people, didn’t go to church while in college. With a strong interest in math and science, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeking a degree in engineering mechanics, which is basically an education in how things work.

Along the way, LaPoint became aware of an insatiable desire to know more about the Bible. He taught himself to read Greek and Hebrew so he could study the Bible through its translations.

He credits “The Mystery” by Joel Finck and “Things That Differ” by Cornelius Stam for sparking his interest in Bible Church theology, a nondenominational religion that is spirit-led and uses a master/apprentice approach to learning rather than a traditional seminary.

LaPoint realized that he had been gaining a lot of knowledge but wanted to share what he was learning with others, and he prayed to find a way.

His mom called one day in September 2016 to report their pastor had accepted another call. She asked if LaPoint would be interested in serving as a lay preacher for four to five weeks while the congregation sought another minister. LaPoint accepted and preached once a month until February 2017.

During that time, he also took on the task of teaching three 13-year-olds their confirmation lessons.

Divine intervention can be viewed as being at the right place at the right time. LaPoint attended the 75th anniversary celebration of Grace Bible Church in Oshkosh in February 2017. While there, he offered a prayer request that he might find a parish.

Jim and Marianne Murphy from Grace Bible Church in Bowler were also at the celebration. As their pastor, Charles Barrett, had recently retired, they invited LaPoint to deliver sermons at their church, which has about 50 parishioners.

“What impressed us most was his attitude,” Marianne Murphy said. “He’s very mature at just 33 years of age.”

LaPoint and family (wife Racheal and children Elijah, 7, Galilee, 5, and Gethsemane Rose, 2) moved from Oshkosh to Shawano.

“I feel like I’m doing what I was called to do,” LaPoint said.

He was installed as pastor on Dec. 3.

“I look forward to every Sunday,” LaPoint said. “The congregation made me feel welcome and at home.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Grace Bible Church

WHERE: 401 W. Main St., Bowler

WHO: Pastor Doug LaPoint, 920-203-7277.

WHEN: Sunday services are at 10 a.m. Bible study and Sunday School begin at 9 a.m.