About the Jesters
Dan and Gretchen met while Dan was working at, and Gretchen was attending, Western Baptist College (now Corban University). After about a year and a half of great friendship, and permission from the college president, they began to date. At 8 months they were engaged, at 8 ½ months they were married at Gretchen’s home church in Alaska, and at 9 months later they were beginning their first ministry together in Colorado at Dare to Share Ministries.
Since that time, their continuing passion for students and evangelism led Dan to return to school at Multnomah Seminary where he finished a double Masters Degree, also where he is currently finishing his Doctorate in Global Evangelism. While living there in Oregon, their first two children, Corbynne Rachel and Simeon Thomas, were born and Dan was also the Youth Pastor at Gladstone First Baptist Church; it was a very busy time in the Jester household!
Once Dan graduated from Multnomah Seminary, after being in Oregon almost four years, a church in Wisconsin called and asked him to candidate for the position of Youth Pastor. This church was one that was already known to them, since it was the one that Gretchen’s father was the Senior Pastor of and because they had visited it frequently during their stays with Gretchen’s family. The church assured them that Gretchen’s father, Jed, had removed himself from the youth pastor search committee; Jed, like Dan and Gretchen, had requested that the search committee only consider what God wanted and not the ties of family. Through much prayer and God’s direction, Dan and Gretchen knew this new position was the ministry that God had set before them. And so it was that September 13th, 2005, the Jesters and Gretchen’s parents, who had come to help them move, began their three day drive to Wisconsin where they began ministry at New Hope E-Free Church.
In the years to come in Wisconsin, God showed them amazing things; providing with incredible abundance, taking them places they wouldn’t have expected, and blessing them with a third child, Samuel Judah, when they were told it was impossible. He showed them the benefit and blessing of trusting Him completely and following His direction, leaning not on their own understanding and what made sense at times, but instead fully relying on the One that could see farther, stand taller, and withstand more than they could ever imagine so that He could bring them to this dream, the dream HE had for them.
As Dan began to be asked more and more to teach Evangelism Training sessions at churches and conferences, and Gretchen was asked more and more to lead worship and to speak/sing at women’s functions, God began to unveil parts of this dream He had for their future. This vision consisted of a ministry that could be the source of equipping people in the church, helping apprentice them into God’s service and calling on their lives, training them to evangelize their peers, co-workers, employers, friends, and family for the glory of God! Dan and Gretchen soon realized that God was already putting together support and people to accomplish everything that needed to be done and was giving them a calling that fit so perfectly and intricately into the work they were already doing within their own church as Youth Pastor and wife at New Hope; Apprentice Ministries was then born in November of 2009.
As work was completed in August on Gretchen’s first 2-disc album (Authentic-Beginning) through Apprentice Ministries, God began to pull on their hearts and let them know change was about to take place. They began to pray and seek what God would have for them next and it was in September of 2010 that they got a phone call from a church in Nebraska asking them to consider candidating for the position of Director of Youth and Family Ministries. The next couple of months were a whirlwind of continued ministry, questions with regard to the future, and candidating at Hillcrest Evangelical Free Church in Seward, NE. God continued to bless and direct and it was three short months later that the Jester family found themselves in Nebraska, ready for new beginnings!
In Nebraska, over a period of about 4 1/2 years, Dan and Gretchen worked to build, from a solid foundation in the church, a healthy youth ministry. Their desire was that it would be focused on the Bible and Evangelism, on equipping AND giving ministry away. Consequently, by God’s faithfulness and work, they have been able to see and be a part of His blessing in the ministry there in numerous ways. There have been many decisions for Christ and many lives have been not only changed, but also equipped with the ability to change others, even beyond the church walls. God also continued to put on their hearts, and gave them opportunities for, the training and equipping that is Apprentice Ministries. Rural churches surrounding the Seward area and beyond continued to ask for Dan’s training and assistance, leading to the further blessing and confirmation from the Lord in life-changing results and affirmation of His calling.
As their story continued to unfold in Nebraska, the Lord made it clear that the time had come to officially launch Apprentice Ministries; that this calling He had been refining them in, is now what He would have them do full-time! So as A. M., Inc. officially launched full-time April 1, 2015, Dan and Gretchen were able to hand off the thriving youth ministry to the incredible youth leaders that had labored alongside them here in this, their last youth ministry position. Apprentice Ministries is now the sole ministry-focus of Dan & Gretchen and, though there have been many unknowns, God continues to provide affirmation of His calling in blessing step by step with amazing opportunities and provision!
Currently they are in the process of raising support as full-time missionaries here in the U.S., with open doors in several countries. They will continue, as they have been from the beginning, to do both proclamation evangelism and training in multiple areas of ministry; simply teaching others the power their personal stories have in pointing people to Jesus!
Thus Apprentice Ministries continues to grow and move forward, equipping, and being sent by, the local church, to reach rural America, and rural churches beyond the borders of the U.S., for Christ’s sake; Praise the Lord!
YOU are a vital part of this ministry! So as you continue to keep tabs on Apprentice Ministries and Dan and Gretchen and their family, please remember that your prayers for them matter! If you are praying for them, let them know! If you would like to consider partnering with them financially in their ministry, let them know! And as always, we at Apprentice Ministries thank you for your love and support, from the beginning and on as God continues to lead us forward!