Introducing Taylor Johnson

My wife, Kiersten, and I were married in 2017 in Sioux Falls, SD. We met through church and had known each other for awhile and God continued to cross our paths together. She studied Nursing at University of Sioux Falls and has worked for Sanford and Good Samaritan Society as an RN for the last four years. Our family grew in 2019 with the birth of our son, Dexson. He and I share a birthday on October 11th! He is a very active one and a half year old always looking for adventure and new ways to play with the cats, Cooners and Hank.

 South Dakota State University- 2017 BS Sociology Graduate
 Sioux Falls Seminary- Est. Graduation 2021 MDiv

Appointment History
 First United Methodist Church – Sioux Falls, SD 2015-2021 (Worship Pastor/Associate Pastor)

Continuing Education and Training
 Licensed in West Ohio Conference of the UMC-2015
 Catalyst Leadership Training Events

Service and Community Involvement
 I have served as the worship leader of Church on the Street in Sioux Falls since 2019
Church on the Street is a congregation made up of mostly homeless people in the Sioux Falls area. We meet
once a month for worship, donation distribution and a meal. Other ministry events include Laundry with Love,
Arts in the Park, and Health and Wellness days.
 I have served as the co-chair of the United Campus Ministry at SDSU and was involved with that organization from 2009-2011.
 I have served Communion at a local nursing home my wife has worked at.
 I have led worship services at multiple conference events, chapel services, and youth gatherings.
 I have served on the Steering Committee for the United Methodist Student Movement, part of the Global Board of Higher Education Ministry. Part of my working relationship sent me to Tampa Bay in 2012 to speak at the GBHEM presentation for General Conference.

Call to Ministry
My first encounter with a call to ministry happened at an ice cream social our church was hosting. I had just been confirmed that year and was getting more involved in the church however I could. We had finished our annual Ordination service, and someone came up to me and asked if I had ever considered being on CCYM. Little did I know that would be the beginning of several pastors and mentors pouring into me and helping me to understand my calling to ministry. I also recognize my call to ministry outside of the local church setting. The way I love my wife and son is a ministry. The way I interact with a barista or another member of the community is a ministry. I strive each and everyday to expand my understanding of what ministry is and how we might join together in our mutual callings to serve God throughout the world.

Passion for Ministry
My passion for ministry comes from seeing the experience others have had with the Church. My heart breaks for the people who have a stained idea of who Jesus is because of an experience that happened in the past or rumors they heard. I have a passion for helping people who know faith to show faith. The combination of the two leads me to the work of building up current disciples for the work of making new ones. I love having the difficult conversations about who God is and who we are together. I have a deep love for heartfelt, expressive worship. Ultimately, my passion for ministry is helping people draw closer to Jesus and closer
to one another.

Vision of the Church
The vision I have for the Church is to be a faithful body of believers who love God and love neighbor. There are things about the modern church that are wonderful and things that need some adjustment. I believe every congregation has room to grow not only in size but in spiritual understanding. One thing that has been placed on my heart over the last several years is to look at the church from the view of Acts 2. For those who were closest to Christ’s resurrection, what did they find to be the most essential pieces? Worshipping together, meeting in homes, sharing everything they had, and a devotion to the learning and teaching of Jesus.

Gifts for the Ministry
I try to bring my best in whatever I do and seek to adapt to whatever comes my way. There are gifts God has given me that I feel have been confirmed through affirmation of others as well as spiritual gift assessments. My top three spiritual gifts are mercy, faith, and prophecy, followed closely by apostleship. Over the last several years I have felt my call to preaching grow and I have
really gotten ahold of my rhythm and style. Music has been huge in my life since I was in fourth grade, and I love to play guitar, piano, drums, and any instrument I can try. I love to laugh and have fun but can also recognize the time for reverence and calm. Empathy and adaptability have also been strengths that have flourished over the last several years.

Leadership Style
I model my leadership after a posture of servant leadership. It is a balance of knowing when to get down into the dirt and get my hands and feet dirty, and when to equip the saints for the work of ministry in the world. Ultimately Paul talks about each of us having certain roles in the body. I take my responsibility and authority as a pastor very seriously, but recognize I am one part of the entire congregation. My goal is to look at the task at hand and discern what would be the most faithful and efficient way to accomplish the goal, and who ought to be part of it.

Aspirations for Ministry and for Serving the Local Church
God has certainly called me towards ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. I want to faithfully journey towards that goal while allowing the Holy Spirit to speak into me if there was something beyond that. I want to serve the church while also serving my family well, knowing the importance each of them have on one another. With God’s help I hope to remain faithful to listening to God’s voice and direction in every aspect of my life.

Spiritual Disciplines and Study
While I am currently wrapping up my seminary degree, I will not abandon studies once I have completed my coursework. The Kairos Project has helped me to establish a mentored life and will continue to do both be mentored and to mentor others. My daily devotion and prayer life has steadily gotten better in time, but certainly has room to grow. I try to take a day for personal retreat once a quarter, accompanied by weekly Sabbath and vacation time with my family (in non-Covid times we hope to do a little traveling from time to time)

2020 Offutt Scholarship Applications Are Now Available

Applications for the 2020 Offutt Scholarship are now available. These scholarships are available to members of Grace UMC and their families for post-secondary education for the coming academic year. Applications are due in the office by June 1, 2020. The applications are available in the Church office and on the our website by clicking HERE. If you have any questions about the Scholarships please contact Paul Anderson.

Church Leadership

Our Church Leadership

Our Church thrives because of the energy and style of the people who are a part of our leadership. Here are a few of the people that make our church community special:

                Roger Grafenstein - Pastor

            Pastor Roger and his wife Chele are entering the empty nest

            phase with two grown children--a 25 year old daughter and an

            20 year old son.  They share a passion for seeing the beauty in life:

            growing flowers, appreciating nature, and seeing God's image in


On Pastor Roger's office wall is a plaque:  "The Pastor's Study - You are welcome here.  Within these walls each word is safe, each burden gladly borne, and each blessing gladly shared."  Such is the work of ministry and worship leadership--creating safe, sacred times and spaces that are sanctuaries where we are reunited with the God who made us.  In these worshipful settings we are renewed to love and serve God's people and and creation.  Telling the stories of God's loving, healing presence in our everyday lives is Pastor Roger's passion.  Learning to live and love like Christ and encouraging others to do the same is his daily goal.  By following Christ we are transformed on the inside and become part of transforming the world into a place where God's kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.

     Del Larson - Certified Lay Minister

Del is assigned by the District Superintendent to assist at Grace  UMC, and to work with seniors at different locations.  Although Del is not a paid staff person, he spent two years working through a series of prayer and study modules to become a Certified Lay Minister in 2013.  Presently, Del does a worship serve twice a month at One Oak Place in Fargo; a weekly Bible Study at River Pointe in Moorhead; and visits the sick and home bound.  He is the facilitator for Caregivers Unite; a group of caregivers that meets once a month at Grace.  He also does online writing with his Year of Prayer 2020.   Outside of church work, Del has been involved in many community and state leadership groups supporting our youth.  He retired from teaching in 2008.   Del and his wife LuAnn have been Moorhead residents for all but four years of their lives,  and are happy to serve their church and community.  They have been members of Grace UMC since 1983.

Choir and Worship Accompanist & Bell Choir Director - Sharon Fangsrud


Music is an integral part of my spiritual life – I would be lost without it. My church life began back in my home town in South Dakota in a Baptist congregation, where, as a young girl in junior high, I began playing for Sunday School and youth group, "moving up the ranks" to play for the Sunday morning church service and accompanying the choir as well as soloists and small groups. I inherited the love of music from my loving Grandfather (who I was blessed to be able to accompany often) and Mom (who was the first pianist when the Baptist church was organized in Milbank), and I will be forever grateful to them for the encouragement they gave to keep going. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many musically talented musicians. It has been their love and ministry that has inspired me to share my talent and carry on their ministry – through singing, playing piano, or directing the bells. I pray that my ministry will do the same for others.

Prayer Focus

Prayer for those who struggle to believe the best each day because their lives are
going through a season of struggle. Pray for strength a day at a time and a step
at a time.