Rev. Gerling new pastor First Church of the Nazarene

Rev. Jon Gerling

Jonathan “Jon” Gerling is the new pastor at the Ironton First Church of the Nazarene.  He replaces the Rev. Henry Shelly, who is now the pastor at a church in Bernie.

“We have been friends with the Shellys for nearly 24 years,” Rev. Gerling said. “We went to Bible College together.”

Gerling entered the Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs, CO when we was 28, a latecomer to the ministry.

“I’ve been in the ministry over 20 years,” he explained,  “but I grew up on a farm and I originally talked about taking over my dad’s farm between Washington and New Haven, MO.”

Although there are no other ministers in his family (he is the first), he is a third-generation member of the Church of the Nazarene.

“My grandparents on both sides are Nazarene, my parents are Nazarene, and we all went to the Nazarene Church in Union, MO our whole lives,” he said.

He had a good job when God intervened.

“I got into management with the EasyCare Auto Centers,” he said. “I managed two of them, one in Washington and one in St. Peters. I was doing that when God started calling us to the ministry.  I say us because he told my wife (Terri) before he ever told me.

“One day after about a month when God kept prompting me, I said to her ‘I need to sit down and talk to you.

“She said, ‘Okay.’

“We were living in the first house we ever bought and we went out to sit on the porch swing.  I said, ‘I know we are right where we are supposed to be spiritually, but I don’t think we are where we are supposed to be physically and doing what we are supposed to do.  I feel like he is calling me to the ministry.

“And she said, ‘Well, it is about time, he has been telling me that for the last month. I’ve been waiting for you to catch up.’”

He went to Bible College earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies/Theology  and his dad wound up selling the farm, telling him, “You have a higher calling than being a farmer.”

His first church was at Clarence, MO, near Macon.

“We lived next to an active grainary and our kids were asthmatic,” Rev. Gerling said. “After six doctors told us we needed to move, we wound up taking a church called the White River Church of the Nazarene in the North Arkansas town of Cotter.”

The congregation was meeting in a farmhouse when he arrived, but soon was able to build a new church building. After 6 1/2 years there, they accepted a church in the Western Oklahoma town of Vici.

He served there for 10 years becoming more and more active in the community.

“I’ve been a volunteer fireman for the last 8 or 9 years,” Gerling said. “I’ve also done a lot of grief and crisis counseling. I’ve been talking with fire and police departments here just introducing myself.”

After Vici, the family moved to a church in Iberia near the Lake of the Ozarks.

He said he is familiar with this region if not specifically the Valley.

“My dad used to bring cows to the livestock market in Potosi,” Rev. Gerling explained. “And the Church of the Nazarene has a camp - Pinecrest - in the Fredericktown area.

He and Terri have three grown children, Heather - 30, Matthew - 26, and Timothy - 24.

His interests are hunting, fishing and golf, and he and Terri are hiking enthusiasts.

“There are lots of good state parks and hiking trails in the area,” he said. “We are going to check them out as soon as the weather gets nice.”