Jason Johnsen will be formally introduced to the congregation of Oakhurst Lutheran Church and the community on Rally Day, Sunday, Sept. 10. His ordination and formal installation as the pastor of the church will take place in October when his father, also a Lutheran minister, will ordain him.
Pastor David Sebastian who has served the congregation for the past 34 years will continue to serve until his formal retirement later this year.
“I look forward to Jason’s arrival as our new pastor,” Sebastian said, “and am excited by the talents and gifts he brings to our congregation.”
Johnsen comes from a long line of Lutheran pastors. During his birth and early childhood, his parents, Ruth and Dave, were missionaries in Madagascar for more than 10 years until Dave received a call as a lead pastor in Chino, where Johnsen spent the rest of his adolescence.
After graduating high school, he attended California Lutheran University to study communications and film, and perhaps most importantly met and befriended his now wife, Samantha. They decided to attend Fuller Theological Seminary together where Johnsen received his Masters in Divinity and she received her Masters in Theology.
Johnsen has directed camps through Lutheran Retreats Camps and Conferences, interned and worked at Lutheran churches in Southern California, and eventually accepted a call as a youth pastor in Ventura.
He spent about five years serving the church and community there while Samantha worked as an online high school teacher and campus chaplain, as well as an adjunct at a nearby community college. These days Jason’s family lives in Grants Pass, Oregon where the couple spent their last year discerning God’s next call on their lives.
“I’m now honored and excited to accept a call as the lead pastor at Oakhurst Lutheran Church,” Johnsen said. “I’m looking forward to bringing my love for Christ and people as well as my vision for faith acting in the midst of contemporary culture into this ministry.”
Johnsen enjoys playing guitar, surfing, swimming, hiking, and reading with his wife. They plan on moving to Oakhurst with their two llamas and indoor cat by early September.