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“My job is not to solve people's problems or make them happy, but to help them see the grace operating in their lives.”
                                                                                        ―  Eugene H. Peterson

My Story

Hello, my name is Benjamin Spera and it is an honor to be able to officially introduce myself as the  pastor of Baxter Congregational Church. I grew up in a small Gold Rush town in Northern California called Columbia. My grandfather was a small business owner and my grandmother did a lot of work with him and a few ministries, specifically with Jews for Jesus, a ministry of Jewish Believers who are trying to reach Jewish people with the gospel. I grew up connected to this group and many Jewish relatives and friends who helped me develop a strong sense of the covenantal traditions of my people. My family lived as Jewish Believers, committed to both our local church and the practice of Jewish holidays and customs. Over the years I found myself turning from these realities to pursue those things which I wanted to do. I focused on my friends and my work in theatre but my grandparents’ church and their friends kept praying for me. When I was 16 I had an obscure medical condition and took some time recuperating. During this time I began to read the Bible and I found that this Jesus revealed in Scripture actually seemed to embody these Jewish practices I loved and I slowly began to see that He lived in a way that I thought was beautiful. I came to believe that Jesus lived a perfect life, died upon a cross, and rose again according to the scriptures and I gave my life to Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. At this point my life changed forever, I turned unto Christ and the things which I had long hoped and dreamed to accomplish began to shift. This new reality gave my life incredible meaning. The Jewish traditions that I had grown to love came alive as I saw Jesus in them. The Holy Scriptures began to light up as I saw Christ. I found myself growing in my love for the things of God, I longed to study the Scriptures, to gather with His people, and to live in light of the great mercies bestowed upon me in Christ Jesus.  After jumping around to a few different colleges, while continually growing in my faith, I graduated from Belhaven University with a BA in Biblical Studies and Theatre Ministry. While at Belhaven I met my beloved wife Julia, who grew up in Ankeny.  I then went on to study at Reformed Theological Seminary where I am currently working on my Master of Divinity. I will continue to finish my studies online while serving Baxter Congregational Church in the coming years. 

As a Christian Minister, I hope to serve the bride of Christ by displaying the love of Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture. I am committed to the historic teachings of the Christian Church, and I am a strong supporter of groups that help us accomplish this. (In Example:9Marks ,TGC, T4G, and ACE.) I am committed to the doctrines of grace (TULIP) and the doctrine of inerrancy (as defined in the Chicago statement) as core principles of Scripture, and these basic theological principles guide my teaching in a variety of ways. And I am committed to Expositional Preaching as the primary means to present God’s holy inspired, infallible, inerrant Word to the Church. I continue to grow in my own understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that He is Lord (King) and Savior. And I hope to see His Kingdom Come, His Will Be Done, On Earth, As It Is In Heaven.


I'm always happy to serve my church and my community.

If you have any questions or need any pastoral care please feel free to reach out. I would love to hear from you!


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