Fellow pastors of the Rev. Aaron M. Strong, who died in a car crash by a speeding driver, have gathered to honor their late colleague. In their recollection, the pastors said the Lutheran preacher deeply loved Christ and his family.
'He Loved the Lord and His Family'
Based on a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, Rev. Brian Hackman of Grace Lutheran Church said Pastor Strong was a 'joyful person' who always wore a smile and had "an infectious laugh."
Hackman added that Strong 'greeted congregants by their first names' and was able to connect with individuals from all walks of life. He stressed that the late pastor also loved the Lord profoundly.
"He had the love of Jesus in his heart in a big way," Hackmann said. "He wore his faith on his sleeve," the Sentinel quoted him saying.
Pastor Hackman, Grace Lutheran's outreach pastor, also recalled how Strong was as a family man.
"He loved his family like nothing else. It was Jesus first and family second," he told the news outlet.
A People's Pastor
Rev. Tom Unke, Shepherd of the Hill's present pastor, said Pastor Strong had a magnetic personality that 'seemed to attract people to him.' He added how the late pastor's efforts helped the church grow.
"He was the one who came along and got us started. And if it weren't for his efforts, starting this mission, we wouldn't be the large and growing congregation that we are today," Unke explained.
The Sentinel disclosed that Strong handled the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church's maiden service in 2009. The congregation began with around 60 members and now has some 300 believers in its fold.
Pastor Unke said the congregation is currently eyeing a new building following its successful construction of a first structure. The church reportedly started at a storefront.
Rev. Dustin Blumer, the lead pastor of Amazing Love Lutheran Church based in Frankfort, Ill., recalled that Pastor Strong was "a gregarious, great guy. Super friendly, outgoing." Despite this, Strong was "just a real person who anyone would enjoy," Blumer explained.
More About Pastor Aaron Strong
According to this church's profile, Pastor Strong served as Grace Lutheran Church's discipleship pastor, having arrived there in 2015.
Strong first served in Las Vegas, Nevada, for seven years. He reportedly helped plant a church there, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.
With his successful stint at the said church, Pastor Strong moved to Grace Lutheran as a third pastor handling discipleship ministry. He also coordinated Bible study groups, Sunday Bible classes, and college campus ministry. The late pastor also served in the teaching and preaching ministry of Grace Lutheran.
The website said Reverend Strong is married to Abbie, with whom he had two kids. The profile said he loved the outdoors and frequently spent time with friends and family doing outdoor activities.
The Sentinel report said the late pastor's funeral is on Oct. 18, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Grace Lutheran Church at 1209 N. Broadway. The service, meanwhile, is scheduled on Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m., with a reception afterward at the Grace Center at 250 E. Juneau Ave. in Milwaukee.