CALUMET - Pastor Tom Rouse has been including his son, Daniel, in his ministry for most of the younger Rouse's life, and now, the two are sharing a ministry in Ironwood and Calumet.
Father, 62, and son, 24, are pastors at the Lighthouse Family Church in Ironwood, and the Living Word Family Church south of Calumet on U.S. 41 next to the Michigan State Police post. Both churches are non-denominational.
Tom said he was a Calumet resident until 1975 when his job with Michigan Bell and later AT&T required him to transfer to Ironwood.
Daily Mining Gazette/Kurt Hauglie
Daniel Rouse, standing at podium, and his father, Daniel, pose in the lectern of the Living Word Family Church in Calumet. The two share the ministry in Calumet and at two churches in Ironwood and Appleton, Wis.
It was after moving to Ironwood that he received his calling to become more religiously involved, Tom said.
"In 1981, I had an experience with God," he said. "God did appear to me in a ball of fire. It changed my life completely."
Because of that experience, Tom said he began attending church regularly and started reading the Bible.
"I knew God had something for me, but I didn't know what," he said.
In 1995, Tom said he got his answer about what to do with his life.
"God said, 'I want you to be a pastor,'" Tom said.
The pastor at the church he was attending at the time left the church, Tom said, and in 1995 he took over as minister, and he was there until 1999.
Tom said he was ordained by the Dallas, Texas-based International Convention of Faith Ministries, which has about 1,500 ministries worldwide.
The Living Word Family Church used to be the Northwoods Christian Assembly, and in the 1980s, Tom said he became acquainted with some church members when he came to the Calumet area to attend some gospel tents run by his brother, Ted, who was also a minister.
Tom said after the pastor at Northwoods Christian Assembly retired, the church had some interim pastors, but something prompted him to call one of the members of the congregation.
"God told me out of the blue sky to call," he said.
When he called, Tom said he became aware of the church's minister situation so he volunteered to help out.
"After I got here, I decided the church needed some rebuilding," he said.
In July, Tom said he committed three years to being minister at what has since been named the Living Word Family Church.
Besides the Calumet and Ironwood churches, Tom said he ministers at a church in Appleton, Wis.
"That's where Daniel came in," he said.
He and Daniel split time and share pastoring at the three locations, Tom said.
Daniel's connection with God came at an early age for him, Tom said. During one of his brother's gospel tent services, his brother asked those in the audience if anyone had been touched by God, and 3-year-old Daniel, who was sitting on the floor in front of his uncle, indicated he had.
"Daniel stopped playing with his trucks, and raised his hand," Tom said.
From that point on, Daniel said he's been involved in church matters in one form or another.
"I actually started preaching when I was 12 years old," he said.
Daniel said he began his ministering doing youth services at the church in Ironwood, and his participation grew from that.
"When I was 17, I became youth pastor of the church in Ironwood," he said.
When he was 19, Daniel said he began a two-year program of studies at the Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Okla. While there, he worked at a ministry program called Seal America, which traveled to every state capitol and Washington, D.C.
"We held ... prayer services on the steps of the state capitol buildings," he said.
In 2010, Daniel said he worked for the Seal America program in Washington, D.C..
"I worked with them at the ministry headquarters for a year," he said.
Daniel said an inspiration caused him to ask his father if he wanted him to help in Michigan and Wisconsin.
"The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night," he said.
Daniel said when he contacted his father, Tom said he would like some help, so he moved back to Ironwood in November.
Tom said the logistics for conducting the services can be tricky.
"We come up on Saturday night or Sunday morning," he said.
Locally, Tom said one or both of them conduct services on Sunday morning, and Monday and Tuesday prayer services. They also make an appearance in Ironwood.
"Usually, we both end up in Ironwood doing a Wednesday service," he said.
Besides continuing to work with his father, Daniel said he and his wife, Nicole, will begin a youth ministry at Living Word Family Church on Jan. 15.
Although he would regularly make visits to the Calumet area to visit family after he moved to Wisconsin in 1975, Tom said he enjoys being able to conduct a ministry there.
"To me, it's an honor and privilege to be back in my hometown," he said. "The church has some wonderful people in it."
Tom said the current congregation for the Living Word Family Church is between 30 and 40 regular attendees.
Tom said he and Daniel are involved, also, with a ministry in Uganda, which has a church with 500 to 600 students. There is also a feeding center for about 1,700 children a day.
Tom said working together has been a pleasure for father and son.
"Daniel and I have had an awesome relationship," he said. "All through his life, he's called me his best friend."
Daniel succinctly agreed with that assessment.
"It's all true," he said.
For more information about the Living Word Family Church, call Tom Rouse at 364-2623 or 932-4848.