Ohio native begins new ministry as pastor of local Christian church
IDAHO FALLS – The new year is bringing some new faces to CrossPoint Community Church in Idaho Falls.
Aaron Duvall, 39, moved to Idaho Falls last month with his wife, Chera, and six-year-old daughter, Harper, to become the church’s new pastor. After a warm reception from members of the community, Aaron tells EastIdahoNews.com they’re happy to call eastern Idaho their new home.
“It’s been really good. People have been incredibly kind,” Aaron says. “People brought us dinner every night for the first two weeks we were here. It’s been great — very welcoming, very hospitable.”
Aaron’s stepping into the role previously held by Bob Sherwood, who stepped down more than six months ago after about 15 years to spend more time with his family.
A 15-year ministry has been the trend for the last two pastors at Crosspoint Community Church and when asked if he’s planning to continue the tradition, Aaron responds enthusiastically, “I hope so.”
“I’m done moving, I can tell you that,” Aaron says, laughing.
The Duvalls are coming from Painted Post, New York, a small rural community near the Pennsylvania border, which Aaron says has a similar vibe to eastern Idaho. The move to Idaho Falls is the couple’s third move in 16 years and their longest and most expensive one yet.
Though it’s not Aaron’s first pastoral job, he says he’s looking forward to “finding his rhythm” in this new ministry and “figuring out how he can serve the community and the church.”
“Anybody can just be someone who talks on stage but to actually minister and be involved in people’s lives, that takes years of being there and showing up.”
A life of ministry
The choice to pursue a life of ministry is something that was deeply embedded in Aaron’s upbringing. His dad was a pastor in southern Ohio when he was a kid, and he’d often go visit people with him.
“When I was five or six years old, he bought me a little suit … to go on hospital calls with him,” Aaron recalls. “He would call me his associate pastor. Looking back, it may have been a little bit of a setup but I loved it. I watched people’s lives transform … and as I got older, I thought this was something I could be a part of.”
During his college years, he worked at his dad’s church during the summer. When he officially became a pastor at age 23, he spent the first three years as an associate pastor under his dad’s tutelage in southern Ohio.
He spent the next 10 years at Ohio Christian University before becoming the pastor for a New York congregation.
“In the last year, we just started feeling maybe there’s a tug (to come to Idaho). My wife was going through cancer and there was COVID. It felt like one crisis after another,” Aaron explains.
Chera, who is originally from Nampa, has family ties to the Gem State and the couple has spent a lot of time in Idaho because of that.
Aaron recalls a conversation with a lady in Nampa last spring while golfing with his father-in-law that lit the initial spark about moving to the area.
“We got paired up with her (somehow). Honestly, if I saw her, I probably (wouldn’t even remember her). She had heard me say something about ministry and she was like, ‘Are you a pastor?'” Aaron says.
The woman, who attended the Church of the Nazarene in Nampa, ended up passing Aaron’s name along to the District Superintendent for the church’s intermountain district and he and Aaron later crossed paths.
Aaron was invited to speak at CrossPoint sometime in October prior to being offered the pastor position.
“It was kind of crazy. It wasn’t anything either of us orchestrated. God just sort of moved in it and now here we are,” he says.
From those early days of watching his dad’s ministry to serving as a pastor himself, Aaron says he is constantly reminded that “none of this is about me” and he feels his role is not so much about leadership as it is about being “the first follower.”
“Jesus is the leader and he’s the head and I’m just trying to do what he tells me to do,” he says. “As a pastor, you’re a servant first. You’re the first one that should be out taking care of people.”
On the heels of a turbulent season in U.S. history where COVID-19 has impacted the way people worship and many churches have experienced dwindling numbers, Aaron says most people are looking for hope and purpose.
As he takes over the reins at CrossPoint Community Church, he’s excited to see where “God leads” and how he brings him and his congregation together.
“I think the church can offer (hope and purpose) in some real and tangible ways and I’m excited to see not just what God does at CrossPoint but to see what God does (throughout eastern Idaho) in the coming years to help people connect with their purpose and the hope that he offers,” he says.
CrossPoint Community Church is at 1900 Grandview Drive in Idaho Falls. Services are held Sunday at 8:30 and 10 a.m.