From computers to the pulpit

Change in career focus helped bring new pastor to St. John Lutheran Church

THE REV. MARSHAL FRISQUE is pictured with his family, from left, wife Kolyssa holding son Malachi, 9 months, while he held daughters Cadence, 5, and Felicity, 3. Frisque said his experience in the private workplace will help him be a better pastor. Photo by Sam Arendt

CONGREGANTS SANDI TRETOW and her daughter Hallee, 13, were greeted by Pastor Marshal Frisque following a Sunday worship service at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fredonia. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Rev. Marshal Frisque always knew what he wanted to do in life: Be a pastor.

And now he is one, serving the kingdom of God after a detour through the digital realm of computers.

“I wanted to be a pastor since third grade,” said the new pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fredonia.

Frisque was installed as St. John’s pastor in July, succeeding the Rev. Robert Zick, who retired after serving in that post for 30 years.

Frisque grew up in Milton, Wis., attending schools there and in nearby Janesville. Then he attended Concordia University of Wisconsin in Mequon, intending to prepare for the ministry.

“But I realized I wanted to expand my skill set,”  he said, and majored in computer science.

Frisque never gave up on his dream of ministry, however, but felt he would be more rounded as a person and as a pastor by gaining experience in the workplace and outside of professional ministry, he said.

“One thing it taught me is how to network and interact with other people,” he said.

For three years while at CUW and afterward, he worked for the university in information technology and as social media manager.

After graduation he worked in Illinois for Lutheran Church Charities overseeing social media and communications.

“Those years were incredibly influential for me,” he said. “It helped me relate to people in the workaday world but still stay connected to the ministry and mission.”

In the meantime, he met his wife, Kolyssa, who also was a student at Concordia. They were married in 2012 and today have three children, Cadence, 5, Felicity, 3, and Malachi, 9 months.

The call to ministry occurred in November 2013, a little over a year after they were married. He was on an LCC-sponsored Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT) relief mission to Washington, Ill., which had been devastated by an E4 tornado.

“I was doing an interview with the pastor’s wife and she got very emotional talking about the community and what had happened to it,” he said. “At that moment I  decided I wanted to be involved in ministry.”

He soon enrolled in a four-year masters of divinity program at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He graduated in June.

Coincidentally, a LERT team visited Cascade in Sheboygan County to help with clean-up from the tornado that struck there. Some LERT team members stayed with the Frisque family.

Frisque said he hopes to train members of St. John in disaster relief “so we can respond locally.”

It’s becoming more common for people to enter the ministry as a “second career” after working in business or elsewhere, like he did, he said.

“You see a lot of that; there definitely is a good number,” he said. “They can do incredible work right out of the gate because they have an incredible reservoir of experience.”

Frisque said he considers himself an “undershepherd” to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

“He works through tangible ordinary things like bread, wine and water, and makes them extraordinary through ordinary people,” he said. “My job is to help deliver the good gifts through those ordinary people.”

His immediate goal is to “get plugged into the community and be a servant, not to get people to join the church. And I don’t even know what that’s going to look like,” he said.
“We absolutely love this community. We are absolutely blessed to be here and to serve.”



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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