As of Sunday, July 4, 2021, the Plainview United Methodist Church and the Crawford Valley United Methodist Church have a new pastor serving them.
Pastor Alan Gager has been in ministry for more than 15 years serving churches throughout Nebraska and the Kansas City, Missouri area.
Pastor Gager attended Peru State College and triple majored in Psychology, Sociology, and Business Management. “I was going to be a mortician,” said Pastor Gager. “But then, I had a call shift my senior year. I knew I wanted to do something to serve people and finally someone asked me about ministry. So, I looked into it and everything else fell into place.”
After graduating from Peru State College, Pastor Gager started at seminary in Kansas City, Missouri at St. Paul School of Theology that summer. “I was there for four years.”
“I have been in four different appointments which means a combination of churches,” said Pastor Gager. “I started out in Adams and Hopewell, Nebraska. I then went to Pawnee City, Nebraska and Du Bois, Nebraska. From there, I went to Kearney, Nebraska and served as an associate pastor for five years. I then moved to Hutchinson, Kansas to serve as well as Nickerson, Kansas. The last one, I moved to Burrton, Kansas and served two churches there. One of the churches in Kansas closed which meant it was time for me to move again. So, we made the move from Kansas to Nebraska.”
Pastor Gager was ordained as a United Methodist Elder seven years ago.
The bishop informed Pastor Gager and his family about the opening in Plainview. Prior to moving, the family did visit both the Plainview and Crawford Valley Churches back in January. “There is a lot of enthusiasm at both of these churches,” said Pastor Gager. “We had to pray about the move. We did not know all the details and how everything would fit into place; but, everything is working out great.”
Pastor Gager and his wife, Claire, and their daughter, Jean, live in Madison instead of the parsonage. “Both churches are adjusting to me not living here in town,” commented Pastor Alan. “We have an 8-month-old premature baby and we need to be close to a major hospital. This is one reason why we live in Madison. Another reason we live in Madison is because my wife serves Madison Trinity and Norfolk Westridge.”
This is the first time Pastor Gager is not living in the town he serves. “I want to be active in the community and get to know people; but, it is going to be a learning curve and challenge.”
Even though he has not been in Plainview long, he is enjoying his time here. “One aspect I have found unique is the number of churches for the size of the town,” said Pastor Gager. “There are opportunities for the future and hope and that is the exciting part.”
“I am enjoying my churches because I am a person who likes to jump in, get active, and get dirty. So far, that has been what has been needed and what we have been benefiting from: keeping active and finding ways we can help each other.”
When it comes to serving the Plainview location and the Crawford Valley location, Pastor Gager is looking forward to a fresh start for the churches, his family, and himself. “I am looking forward to the long term; being here five to 10 years is a good hope and dream and stability for everyone,” said Pastor Gager. “I am glad to be here and look forward to getting to know everyone as we do life and ministry together. I love God, love all God’s people, and the work we have been called to do: share the good news of Jesus through words and actions. This is a two way street; it is not me coming in and saying that I know everything. Rather, we learn from one another and continue to be Jesus’ hands and feet.”
When Pastor Gager is not working, he enjoys gardening, sitting outside in nature, and walking around seeing what is going on in the community.
Pastor Gager would like families of children in Plainview Public and Zion Elementary School to know they are welcome to pick up school supplies Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the church.
The Plainview United Methodist Church service time is 10:30 Sunday mornings. The Crawford Valley Church service is at 8:30 Sunday mornings. The church has a YouTube channel, PUMCNebraska, where they post videos of the church service.