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Zimpelmann family photo and header: My Christian life

When vocation and ministry collide

Jerry and Lynn Zimpelmann, members at Christ, Eagle River, Wis., are the first to admit that, looking back at their younger years, they were not the likeliest of missionaries.

Growing up, Lynn was a non-practicing Catholic. And while Jerry was raised WELS, he had a rebellious streak. He ran away from God during college as he dabbled in different philosophies and religions. “I took a circuitous route,” Jerry remembers.

The Zimpelmanns met in Eagle River. After they married in 1972, the couple lived in Chicago. While Jerry enjoyed success there as the owner of a painting business, Eagle River beckoned them back home. When Jerry’s father retired, Jerry bought his family’s construction business.

Even before Jerry and Lynn began to have children, they started to think seriously about their faith and returning to Jerry’s WELS roots at Christ in Eagle River. Jerry’s mom lovingly yet persistently kept inviting them to church. Lynn went through Bible information class three times over a span of eight years before becoming a member. She says, “I kept telling our pastor I wasn’t going to go from wishy-washy Catholic to wishy-washy Lutheran. I wasn’t going to join until I believed everything that I was studying.”

When their five children reached school age, the Zimpelmanns enrolled them in the school at Christ. Jerry and Lynn benefited just as much from the religious instruction as their children did. “We were baby Christians when we started having kids,” Lynn recalls. “We grew in faith right along with them.”

Today, all three of the Zimpelmanns’ sons serve as WELS pastors, and their two daughters also serve in ministry settings. “It certainly was not our doing,” says Lynn. “I attribute it to God’s Word and the Christian education they received.” Jerry agrees: “We just stayed out of the way of the Holy Spirit and let him do his work.”

Little did Jerry and Lynn know that the Holy Spirit was quietly guiding their future. As they became more and more intrigued by mission work, God began to place opportunities in their lives—opportunities that combined Jerry’s vocational background with their growing passion for reaching the lost.
Jerry and Lynn Zimpelmann on their wedding day
Zimpelmann family in the 80s
Featured image above article: Jerry and Lynn Zimpelmann with their children and grandchildren as they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Photos featured below article: Jerry and Lynn through the years.
October FIC Cover, pastor preparing communion

Check out the October digital issue

Forward in Christ is offering access to the October digital issue to all readers. Due to industry-wide paper shortages and challenges with our printer’s workforce, the October print issue is arriving to our subscribers later than we intended. We apologize for the delay and encourage readers to check out the digital issue until the print issue arrives.
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