Faces in the Crowd: Tom Martin

Tom Martin grew up in the small town of Redfield, S.D. After high school, he attended Northern State University and worked in management for Nash Finch Company for 17 years.

But it was when he found a part-time job at Calvary Lutheran Church that he began to feel like he was fulfilling a calling. That job later turned into a full-time position with the High School Youth Ministry. He then went a step further and became a deacon in the ELCA Lutheran Church. “Probably seven years ago, I felt the call to come into ministry full time. And so that is that kind of feeling on your heart where you say, ‘This is where I belong.’ And so that’s what I did. And I answered that call by going to school to become a deacon, and the rest takes us up to here.”

As an outgoing person with good communication skills, Tom mingles with the congregation of around 2,800 members. It’s a part of his job he adores.

One thing about this man of the cloth is that he’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. He has a passion and talent for music. He picked up a pair of drum sticks in high school, built a make-shift drum set, played along with the radio and taught himself. He saved up enough money and bought the real deal, then began a band and has been making music ever since. You may have recognized Tom as the drummer for the local band: Dogs Without Sweaters. The band has been together for 28 years.

He says time spent in the band, in a way, prepared him for ministry. “I love just getting up in front of people. That doesn’t seem to bother me. And I think a lot of what I have done with Dogs Without Sweaters has prepared me for this – to be in front of a church group and talk with them and feel comfortable being in front of them. They really intertwine than they do conflict. And I’m able to bring that kind of musical style that I have learned – my gift of music maybe.”

It begs the question: how does the life of a drummer and a deacon co-exist?
“We are not Motley Crue … but these guys in the band are super clean. Alcohol, drugs, profanity – that stuff just doesn’t happen. And so I felt like God has put me in a good place with good people to do something I have a passion to do. I just don’t let that conflict with who I am here as opposed to who I am in the band. Those are both parts of who I am.”

Dogs Without Sweaters will play at Main Street Square on July 26.

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Categories: Faces in the Crowd