Monte Torkelsen says farewell to Oregon after 25 years serving youth in the Oregon Conference.
After 25 years serving youth in the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Monte Torkelsen closes a significant chapter of his career. Pastor Monte joins the pastoral staff at Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church as an administrative pastor later this month.
Monte says the decision to leave Oregon wasn’t easy. “But it was clear,” he says. “God has been at work preparing a place for us to be part of a very unique ministry and team.”
We congratulate and thank him for his dedicated work at PAA.
Monte, his wife Darla, and their three young sons came to Oregon in 1993. He was the Associate Youth Director for Mission and Youth Ministry until 2001 when he was called to be the Director of Big Lake Youth Camp.
At BLYC Pastor Monte built lasting relationships with children, teens, and young adults. PAA students grew up knowing Pastor Monte as someone who cared about their spiritual development – some of them from the time they were young children.
Pastor Monte’s presence in the lives of so many young people and their families made his transition to PAA in 2013 a natural step. His range of skill sets served PAA well. He led as both Campus Ministries Director and Development Director, building and maintaining important relationships in support of the future while mentoring students in their journey with Jesus through weekly, monthly, and annual spiritual programs.
In Pastor Monte’s career, he has cared for teens in the GenX, Millennial and now Gen Z generations. Despite research highlighting their differences, Pastor Monte says there are important core values that have always been true, no matter the generation. “They want to belong,” he says. “They want to be heard. They want to be together. And they have a deep longing for meaning.”
Pastor Monte empowered students to lead. The result was compelling and meaningful worships like Community, a Friday night optional vespers that is highly attended.
From this understanding, Monte poured his heart into helping young people deepen their relationships with each other, with their families, with teachers, and their church. He embraced and lived out PAA’s “Christ-centered, character-driven” motto, caring for both students and staff alike during several years of significant change. From PAA’s class challenges and excursions to week-by-week events like chapel and Community Vespers, Pastor Monte fostered connection and helped students deepen their relationships founded on the grace-filled love of Jesus. Beyond that, he spent 25 years mentoring and empowering young people to lead within their schools and churches.
This sounds like a lot of work! But perhaps the most important thing to know about Monte is that he was simply living out his deeper calling to help others see Jesus. Our PAA staff, students, parents, alumni, and beyond are blessed because he goes where God leads. We’re forever grateful for the impact he’s made in our community and we know that many more lives will be changed through his faithfulness.
Monte and Darla have deep roots at PAA. Not only did their three sons graduate from PAA in recent years, but their relationships with students, their parents, young alumni, staff and community families span more than two decades. “Portland is truly part of who we are,” said Pastor Monte.
“Many thanks to you all for allowing me to be part of PAA’s very special ministry,” he said. “This is a great place where a fantastic group of people unite their efforts on behalf of kids. Lives are positively changed at PAA and it has been a privilege to work here.”
Our PAA staff family gathered in prayer just before Pastor Monte taught his last class at PAA.