How do you live your faith?

God calls us to participate in Christian community in many ways. Meet some of the members of our church who talk about how their faith works through their lives.

“We’re all called to use the gifts we’ve been given.”

John Patterson | Retired physician, member of the session, volunteer

“My faith underlies what I do in my life – my relationship with my medical practice and patients, church and community related activities like Love INC, mission trips, family and daily life. It goes back to childhood as I was raised in a Christian family and in the Presbyterian Church. Sunday school, children’s choir, youth groups and camps all allowed me to grow-up in the faith. As an adult, I’ve found that First Presbyterian has continued to foster my faith development and action. Through my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I feel called to be the person I am and do the things I do as a natural expression of that faith. As part of the Body of Christ, we’re all called to use the gifts we’ve been given in service to others."
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“I try and teach my children about loving people, caring for people and teaching them to treat all people with respect for each other.”

The Turners | First Presbyterian Family, Rockhaven Camp enthusiasts

Rachel: It is hard to be specific about faith because it is such a part of me. I grew up in a Christian home. My dad was youth pastor. My earliest memories are of church, Sunday school, bible school, and memorizing verses. It was always a big part of my life. These days, I see how it changes the way I parent compared with others who don’t have faith: I try and teach my children about loving people, caring for people and teaching them to treat all people with respect for each other.

Brent: Faith also informs the way I love my family and kids. I try and challenge them to treat others with compassion. It also challenges me to do the same thing in the rest of my life—to look at others with compassion. I was raised in a church that was not very inclusive. Then college and people challenged me. This led to try and find a church family where I could fully express this new understanding of what it meant to be faithful.
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“God is a constant I can lean on.”

Tanner Robison | Montana State University chemical engineering student, Presby Cats leader

I attended First Presbyterian Church in Butte from when I was little. As I grew older, my Dad told me I should think about whether or not I wanted to be baptized and to come to the decision for myself. I decided to become baptized my freshman year in High School. The summer later, my youth leader mentioned Westminster Spires, the Presbyterian summer camp. My friends and I went, and we had an amazing time. In fact, we were inspired to become counselors which turned out to be one of the most influential things I have ever done. Going to camp is one thing, but serving in a leadership role is very different; people look up to you, and they look to you for spiritual help. For me, being in that position of responsibility made my faith more concrete, less fluid, and a lot larger part of my life. It inspired me to work on my faith which has caused it to grow.

Everyone tells you can rely on God in your life, but you have to experience that to truly believe it. It has been important to me to be able to rely on my faith during my studies and during big changes in my life. God is a constant I can lean on.

At the same time, faith is challenging. It has caused me to look at some of my beliefs in a new way. As I think through some of the big social controversies of the day, I have find my faith has caused me to be more open, to understand all sides of a question and to come to my own conclusions.
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“Faith to me is what Jesus said in Luke 10.”

Debby Haynes | Montana State University Professor, member of the session

Faith to me is what Jesus said in Luke 10: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” This is simple to say, but important and difficult to try and live. Faith has helped me be a better parent, giving me a community of people to help George and me because parenting fully is too big a load for one or two people. Faith has helped our children by giving them a resource to manage the unexpected and unhoped-for eventualities. As I tell our son, Aidar, “These are the people that will be there for you no matter what happens to you.” Faith led us to working in developing countries. Without it, we would have never adopted children from bleak circumstances. Finally, I work at the University and understanding that everyone there is a child of God helps me keep things in perspective!
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“Music is born in the soul and that place draws me closer to God.”

Jay Pontius-Backman | Retired church organist, member of the deacons

Faith has been a part of my life since I was a little kid. My parents didn’t go to church, but even from an early age, I organized my friends to “play church.” I’ve seen times when faith was all I had. It gave me the strength and encouragement I wasn’t getting otherwise and brought me to a point where I’m more patient and tolerant than I was in my twenties. I feel more secure in this life and the life thereafter. Bruce has blessed my life in that was as well. He is magic with animals and has endless patience. He introduced me to horses and taught me about the patience horses need. That patience is better for me and probably better for the horses! I’ve been in church music for fifty-seven years now and have always felt called to the ministry of music. Music takes me to places in my head I couldn’t go otherwise. Music is born in the soul and that place draws me closer to God. For me, improvisation, in particular, is one of the strongest ways humankind can connect with the divine. I hear things in my head before it come out of me. Sometimes when I am conducting an anthem, I feel like the choir allows me into their lives and lets me guide them as God guides me. When I came to Bozeman to be with Bruce three years ago, I thought I would retire from Church Music, but obviously, God has other plans for me, and I believe, in all ways, God has saved the best for last!"
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“It is important to integrate my faith into all parts of my life.”

Deana Berg | Owner of Moxie Hair & Body, wife, and mother of three young daughters

I believe it is important to integrate my faith into all parts of my life. It’s important I bring my kids to church, for example, if I want to show them there is a better way. Church gives them guidance and community. It teaches them to love others. I own a hair salon here in town, and at work I try and let people know that they have options, that if they need to make changes in their lives, there is a way, that Christ can open doors in their lives. That said, as a mom, businesswoman and community member, it is not always easy to live my faith. In fact it can be really hard, and that is why I go to church. Because there is no other way for me but to try and know God, love God and live God in my life.
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“Faith makes your life worth living. Until you are born anew, that doesn’t happen.”

The Rosers | Retired realtors, member of the deacons, community volunteers

Mike: Faith makes your life worth living. Until you are born anew, that doesn’t happen. Faith has taught us to serve: our children, our family and the community through the church, including service with the Community Café, the Deacons and giving to the poor. We are also very involved in Eagle Mount. We try and do what God asks us to do.

Mimi: Faith has helped us move through many challenges and to also celebrate our gifts and achievements. God is with us in good times as well as hard times.
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