As lead pastor at the Meadow Lake Alliance Church, Dave Anderson has certainly touched a lot of people’s lives. Recently, Dave spoke with Northern Pride about his career, his family and life in Green Lake.
Q: What’s your role at the church?
A: I’m lead pastor at Meadow Lake Alliance Church, so you name it, I do it. I supervise staff, obviously I preach, but I also run a counselling, mediation and arbitration business. I do some of that out of here and I go to Battleford every second week where I also run a counselling centre. It’s a typical pastoral role with these other things added on top of it.
Q: Does that explain why there always seems to be a lot going on at the church?
A: We’ve tried, especially over the last couple years, to make this facility a place of community connection. That’s why we renamed it and shifted it from just the Meadow Lake Alliance Church. The church is still here, of course, but we renamed the facility Meadow Lake Community Life Centre. Out of this building, we run the church, Meadow Lake Bridge Ministries, the sexual assault centre, the STRIDES program, and add to that all the people who come in to use the facility. It’s very seldom there’s a day where it’s just staff here.
Q: Did you anticipate this initiative being so successful?
A: I anticipated it would be successful, but I’m not sure I ever thought it would grow this fast. When this building was constructed – at least 25 years ago now – the idea of the people who built it was for it to be a place for community connection and health. I’m not sure they envisioned exactly what we’ve got now, but they did envision a lot of people coming here, so that’s why they built it much bigger than they needed to at the time. It’s actually quite a large facility. I don’t think we’ve reached the max or where we’re going to be yet either.
Q: How long have you been the lead pastor here?
A: Ten years. Prior to coming here, I was in Regina where I worked for about 20 years. They were without a pastor here, though, and they asked me if I would come and interview for the role. I said I wouldn’t, but would come and speak for a couple weeks. I came here and I’ll never forget it. It was the first weekend we were here and we were driving out of town when my wife said, “Dave, I could love these people.” I knew at that point we were coming back. About six months later we were here. It was probably one of the easiest moves we made. We fit in well, we love the place and we built a retirement home – although I haven’t retired – in Green Lake where we live now. We love the country, we love the people, it’s a good place.
Q: Have you always been in this line of work?
A: Yes, I’ve been doing this for more than 45 years. I started in a small church in southern Saskatchewan when I was the ripe old age of 21. Then, I went to teach at Bible colleges and such for 20-some years. That also allowed me to complete my education. Later, I returned to the church. I’m really a hands-on type of person. People think I’m an academic because I spent so much time in school, but I’m not really. I like touching people’s lives and helping them, which is really why I started the mediation business as well. If people need help, somebody should be there to help them and that’s where I fit.
Q: Your work is obviously beneficial to others, but what do you get out of it personally?
A: You can never rub shoulders with people without gleaning something from them, learning about their lives, which shifts your life. Also, the more you touch base with them, the more you’re pushed to learn and to train, and I believe I’m a life learner. Seeing people grow, seeing them work through struggles and come out better on the other side, seeing them work through horrendous crises in their lives and witness the healing, the experience, is all extremely satisfying.
Q: What’s life like in Green Lake?
A: For us it’s quiet. It’s wonderful to be on the lake and the people in the community have been unbelievably accepting of us. They’ve been good to us, we appreciate the connections with them. Wherever we are, we love coming home. It’s just a sanctuary for us – we love the community.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I’m originally from Camrose, AB. We’ve lived in a number of different places from B.C. to Alberta, but spent most of our working lives in Saskatchewan.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or pastimes?
A: At one time I took up welding and working with metal, and I wish I could get back to it more because I really enjoy doing it. I also love when my wife and I can get on a boat or comb some beaches. I like reading – I read a lot and I like building. We designed and built our own house, which was really fulfilling. I love the hands-on stuff that let’s me see what I’ve accomplished at the end.
Q: Do you travel?
A: We really like to travel. Next month we go to Cuba for a quick trip away. We’ve been there before, and we’ve been to the Dominican Republic, Mexico both for vacation and as part of ministry teams. We’ve been to Turkey, Cambodia, Britain, Israel, Germany – we love getting away and, if we had lots of time and more money, we’d probably travel more.
Q: Tell me more about your family.
A: My wife, Ev, and I have four grown children. Our daughter, Cindy, and her husband just moved to Latin America where they’re going to direct a training centre in Mexico City. Presently they’re in Costa Rica doing language study. Our son, Jay, is recently retired from the military. He was an ammo tech and completed a lot of tours overseas. And, we have two younger kids – they’re twins who just turned 30 – Linnaea is an elementary school vice-principal in Spruce Grove, AB and Jared also lives there. Right now he works at a mill and does construction. We also have five grandchildren between the ages of 10 and 22.
Q: Does the whole family ever have a chance to get together?
A: Except for our one son, the rest of us went skiing in Radium, B.C. just after Christmas. We got a condo and it was a super, super time.
Q: How long do you foresee yourself staying on the job?
A: My guess is as long as I can. I don’t want to be a doddering old fool doing things I’m not very good at, but I think I’ll keep doing it as much as I can do it. The whole idea of getting up without direction, without things I need to feed into doesn’t seem attractive to me at all.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Advice is usually worth what it’s given for and it’s given for nothing, but I think sometimes we don’t realize the people in our lives who are really important to us until it’s too late. God’s given me some really good people at different times in my life, and I’ve learned not to take people for granted and not to take the relationships I have with these people for granted.