First Church of the Nazarene hired a new lead pastor in July, who was installed on Aug. 15 and is preparing to launch his first project for the Jamestown community.
The Rev. Jim Kraemer, former district superintendent of Prairie Lakes District of the Church of the Nazarene, said Kidventure, his new children's ministry program, will begin on Sept. 8 and is open to children of all ages. The program will meet at 10:30 a.m. during the regular worship service and will teach children Scripture.
"We want kids to have the opportunity to learn in a fun and safe environment," Kraemer said. "There will be games, but there will also be learning."
Kraemer's familiar with Jamestown, having grown up in Carrington and lived in Jamestown during his time as district superintendent for Prairie Lakes District. After being elected and serving five years as superintendent in the state of Illinois for the Church of the Nazarene, Kraemer said it was time to slow things down and come home to Jamestown.
"There was a pull in my heart to come back," Kraemer said. "I'm really happy we did because we love these people and we love the community."
Kraemer began his undergraduate studies at North Dakota State University before transferring to Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs to complete his bachelor's degree. He obtained his master's in pastoral leadership from Olivet Nazarene University and was awarded a doctorate in divinity from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas.
During his time as a district superintendent, Kraemer said he was overseeing as many as 90 churches at one time in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Though he's looking forward to taking a step back and enjoying ministering at a more personal level, Kraemer said he was able to accomplish a significant amount of work in building new churches for the Church of the Nazarene.
"The thing I enjoyed about being the superintendent was planting. I helped plant about 50 churches," Kraemer said.
Kraemer was a pastor for three churches before becoming a superintendent, and he said his passion for reaching out to people who are "unchurched" will be a large benefit for the First Church of the Nazarene.
"I really enjoy dealing with people that don't, for whatever reason, have a church that can take the love, presence and power of Christ into their life," Kraemer said. "I use those three words, love, presence and power a lot, to let people know that God really cares about them, no matter what they've been through."
Kraemer said his wife, Lezlie, is also extremely engaged in ministry while working in the eye care business. Kraemer said his car collection is a hobby that keeps him busy while away from the church.
"We just really enjoy being back in a community where you can get to know people, whether they go to your church or not," Kraemer said. "To be able to build friendships and relationships, and hopefully be able to encourage people."
First Church of the Nazarene hosts adult Bible study every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. followed by worship service at 10:30 a.m.