Now that tax season is over, one Certified Public Accountant is exchanging his papers for a pulpit.
Allen Redenius is retiring from his CPA business to become a full-time pastor at the First Covenant Church in Fort Dodge. Redenius has loved his job as a CPA, but after almost 40 years in the business, he said, it is time to move on.
"Since I was a boy I've had this calling in my heart," Redenius said. "At 62, my time is short. I have to answer that calling."
Redenius has been following that call to ministry for years now, doing what he calls pulpit supply at various churches.
"When a pastor is gone I fill in. I've helped out at several churches in and out of our community for the last 10 or 15 years," he said.
He filled in at First Covenant when the former pastor left in 2009, and found that the Covenant denomination was a good fit for him.
"I grew up Lutheran. For almost 40 years I was a Methodist. Now I'm in the Covenant denomination, which is a real blessing."
He said he liked its "attentiveness to the word of God. It was like I discovered a diamond in the rough."
The church eventually asked him if he would consider becoming full time.
Doug Utley, chairman of the church, was not on the committee that asked Redenius to become full time, but he did vote for Redenius, he said. Redenius preaches well, he said, and is involved in other church programs.
"He does a very good job in the pulpit. It's quite evident he's spirit-led, and he can go with the feeling in church any particular morning. He doesn't just stand up and read his notes," Utley said. "He's very knowledgeable about a lot of things.
"My wife has a high school youth group," he said. "When we get to the spiritual part of it he helps with that conversation. He talks to the kids about their spiritual lives, and answers their tough questions about life in general."
Redenius has used his Christian focus in the CPA office. His work has always been a "marketplace ministry," he said.
Some deep discussions have evolved from doing people's tax returns, he said. "Often it leads to witnessing. It's often more than just tax advice that I give."
He gave an example: "One of my clients came in and said he had cancer. We finished his tax return, then I came around the desk and we talked about life. Another time I prayed for a man having trouble with his business, and he cried on my desk. No one had ever prayed for him before. That's what I mean by marketplace ministry: being able to witness overtly and subtly about who Christ is."
Although he's happy for the new opportunity, Redenius said his will miss the CPA practice.
"Somebody asked if I would ever retire. My comment was, all my clients are my friends, and if I retire I won't have any friends," he said. "Sure, I'll miss this, because I've been doing it so long. I'll miss the contact with my clients, that's primarily it."
Carolyn Rogers, his administrative assistant, said Redenius' office has been a welcoming workplace.
"The nicest thing is it's sort of like a family," Rogers said. "We get along very well."
Redenius' partner David Bowser, CPA, will be taking over Redenius' clients. Redenius said it would be a seamless transition.
Redenius said his new job will be a good way for him to serve not just the church community, but the Fort Dodge community as well.
"If you're going to retire - and this is by no means retirement - you have to retire to something. You can't just go home and put your feet up on the couch. You have to be serving the community."
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org