Prairie Profiles: Beyond the church walls
Wells couple enjoys ministering on many different levels
For many years, Bill and Patricia Schuster of Wells served as missionaries in countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and, most recently, Australia.
Now, four years after moving to Wells, they have begun a new ministry through Covenant Life Church.
Patricia Schuster said the opportunity arose after she started working part time as the activities director for The Shepherd’s Inn, an assisted living facility that is owned by the church.
After about three months of working in that role at the facility — and her husband managing their business, The Bean, on South Broadway in Wells — the former pastor of Covenant Life Church approached them, told them he wanted to retire and asked them to pray about being his replacement. The Schusters are ordained ministers through Rhema Bible Training Center, and he said he thought they fit the criteria to fill the role.
The Schusters agreed to the idea, and now Bill Schuster leads the congregation of about 30 active members, and Patricia Schuster oversees The Shepherd’s Inn, a 20-bed care facility with 30 employees, and Little Lambs day care, a 20-person day care, which is also under the church’s stewardship.
The church offers a Sunday service, along with a Spanish fellowship, various Bible studies and other activities.
Patricia Schuster said she has already enjoyed serving the community in a way that is bringing many different groups together. Whether it’s through The Bean or their roles with the church, they said they have enjoyed building a sense of community and showing there are many ways to display the love of Jesus Christ.
Bill Schuster said, in a sense, though they were not serving as missionaries, their ministry was continuing on even before they started at Covenant Life Church. He said The Bean has been host to confirmation classes and Bible studies from various churches, and on other occasions, people in The Bean have spoken to him about their challenges or life experiences, and he has had the opportunity to pray for them.
“There’s as much ministry that happens here as happens at church,” he said of the coffee shop.
He said though seeing Christ in the marketplace has been different than seeing Christ at church, both experiences have been valuable.
“It helps to open our minds and our eyes that church is wherever we take it,” he said. “It’s not just in those four walls.”
Patricia Schuster said she, her husband and the church members are praying about what types of efforts the church can be involved with in the community. Already in their about three months in their new roles, they have learned that the church members have “a real heart” to help the community.
Bill Schuster said the members have also showed “a real heart of worship,” too.
They said the church is made up of faithful members who have been through several community projects and gained experience over the years. Patricia Schuster said she has learned that firsthand as she used to attend the same church when she was younger when it was formerly known as Rice Lake United Methodist Church.
The church congregation also supported the couple in the mission field for many years.
“There’s a long history there — of tradition,” Bill Schuster said. “It’s just interesting how it all comes full circle.”
Bill and Patricia Schuster
Age: Both 57
Livelihood: The Schusters own The Bean in Wells and rent homes through their limited-liability company House and Homes Rentals. Bill Schuster pastors Covenant Life Church, and Patricia Schuster manages The Shepherd’s Inn assisted living facility and Little Lambs day care, which are both owned by the church.
Family: two sons and one daughter, four grandchildren
Interesting fact: Bill Schuster is an avid photographer and has a radio announcing background; Patricia Schuster has a chef’s certificate and a hotel restaurant management degree
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