Today we attended a beautiful home-going for our former Pastor, Frank Sanders. “Former hockey standout and North St. Paul High School Distinguished Alumni, University of MN Gopher, Minnesota Fighting Saint and US Olympian hockey player. Pastor of Spirit of Life Bible Church, Woodbury, MN.”
The first time we sat in a church service at Spirit of Life Bible Church, Pastor Frank was preaching. I am not sure what the message was about as it was over four years ago but I do remember leaning over to Mr. Incredible saying, “Why is this guy yelling…I feel like he’s yelling at us?” I was on the fence about staying but something compelled me to not only stay, but to continue to keep coming back. It didn’t take me long to realize that the yelling was fueled by passion. A passion for the things of God. A passion for the community he was the shepard over.
This community welcomed my family and I with hugs and prayers. It was as if we always belonged there. There was a sense of family throughout from the children to the elders. I have to believe that a church so loving and accepting could only be that way because it trickles down from the leadership.
Pastor Frank was very approachable and sincere with his love for his family, friends, congregants and especially Jesus. He was not ashamed of the gospel or his relationship with his Savior. He could often be seen singing loudly with his hands thrown up and tears streaming down his face. Most of the times he could be found placing a gentle hand on a shoulder and uttering prayers on someone’s behalf.
He was a big guy with an even bigger heart. He would take time out to meet with Mr. Incredible when there was something pressing on his heart and offered sound wisdom and advice about marriage, family and finances. He never claimed to be perfect, often boasting of his weaknesses to glorify God’s strength.
Frank had the opportunity to play hockey professionally, first with the Boston Bruins and then in the upstart WHA with the Minnesota Fighting Saints. After one year with the Minnesota Fighting Saints he felt the call of God on his life and went into the ministry graduating from the Apostolic Bible Institute.
I only knew Pastor Frank for a few years but what I have learned from him has been priceless:
1. There is a peace and joy in following God’s path for your life that money can’t buy.
2. Following God’s path for your life does not mean you will not face hardships.
3. Having a sincere relationship with Jesus is possible and actually living it out speaks louder than words.
4. There were several hundred people at the service today, it was apparent that he poured so much of himself into so many people over his lifetime. You never know whose life you may touch and impact everyday.
5. Most importantly, He was loved and adored by his wife, children and grandchildren. He placed an incredibly high value on family.
My heart goes out to his wife, Kathy, children, Timothy (Tricia), Jennifer (James) Mains and Jeremy (Lana); grandchildren, Owen and Declynn Sanders, Haley, Ayden, Charlie and Benjamin Mains, Jacob, Brennen, Caleb and Keegan Sanders; brother, Allen (Nancy) Olsen; sisters, Lillian (Gary) Weisbrod, Bonnie Weisbrod and Rebecca (James) Payzant; many nieces, nephews and countless friends, family and the church family of Spirit of Life Bible Church. Pastor Frank you truly will be missed.