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Hepburn: Bethel’s new pastor comes home to Nebraska

Hepburn: Bethel’s new pastor comes home to Nebraska

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Bethel Church, which is my church, welcomed a new pastor this fall.

I introduce you to Geoff and Deb Safford. What follows is our conversation about his ministry here.

Mary: What led you to send your resume to Bethel?

Geoff: My wife (Deb) and I were looking at pastoral positions that were available in an online forum. We came across the position at Bethel, and I felt something stop us for a moment. I told her to send my resume to Bethel, and let’s see what God would do. The rest is history! We knew that God wanted us here in North Platte and at Bethel from very early on in the process. It took the folks at Bethel a little longer to come to that decision!

Mary: What was your reaction when Bethel asked for an interview?

Geoff: We were both very excited to see God move through every part of the process. (See above for our reactions to how God was moving!)

Mary: What do you want to offer to Bethel Church and to the North Platte Community?

Geoff: We want to offer Bethel and North Platte a very down-to-earth pastor that loves God and loves people. We often feel like we are a well-seasoned cast iron skillet that you can cook anything in — and it will come out tasting great. We have been through a lot of “stuff” in our ministry and family life, and we want to offer all of that to the great folks of this area.

Mary: How do you approach your message and how do you teach?

Geoff: I spend a lot of time in prayer prior to teaching any passage. I typically am an expositional type of preacher. That means that I teach through a passage of Scripture by looking at the context of the passage, the time frame around the passage, and what is God saying in the passage. I then will take all of that and see how it responds to our time and space in the here and now. I love working through that whole process!

Mary: Where do you go from here? How have you seen God at work?

Geoff: I am seeing God move in the personal lives of folks in our church, and in opening up doors for ministry in other places here in the North Platte area. Our leadership team is ready to open up some new doors, and in spite of COVID, we are excited to see what God will do!

Mary: Bethel welcomed you with a traditional tunnel walk down the center of the sanctuary with the Husker theme song playing.

Geoff: I had no idea what to expect for the tunnel walk, but I do know that it was like nothing that Deb (my wife) and I have ever experienced. We felt so welcomed and loved.

I was very excited to share my first full message as the pastor of Bethel. It is something that I take very seriously and try to be as prepared as I can be!

Mary: What is your connection to Nebraska and your love of the Huskers?

Geoff: I was born in Lincoln, while my dad attended UNL. My grandpa graduated from UNL. I remember listening to Lyell Bremser in the garage of our home in Winterset, Iowa, on Saturdays when I was a child. I remember watching Jerry Tagge push the ball across the goal line for the first national championship. I loved the national championships of the ’90s. It has always been in my blood, and I have stayed loyal through all the ups and downs!

Go Big Red!

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