meet the pastors

Curtis DeFord

 Senior Pastor

Hi! I’m Curtis DeFord and my wife’s name is Shelly. We’ve been married since May of 1985. There is no one that I would rather spend today and every day with than her! God has blessed us with three children, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren, and we love them all to the max!

I’ve been the pastor here at Grace Baptist Church of Emmetsburg since December of 2001. It has been a wonderful “fit” for me and my wife. We love the people here immensely and, even with all the ups and downs of ministry, there is no place in the world we would rather serve than here.

There is nothing that charges me up more that seeing people surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ, to be involved in the spiritual growth of people through the Word, and to equip people to serve the Lord with all their hearts! Our lives belong to Jesus without reserve and we joyfully serve Him with without regret!

Some of the other passions of my life are college football, hiking nature’s trails with my wife, or dirt-biking with family and friends (in the Rocky Mountains whenever possible)!

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Rob Tahtinen

 Pastor of youth & family ministries


about Pastor Rob

Where did you grow up? 
I grew up in West Michigan

What’s your story?
Growing up in a family that went to church, I recognized from an early age that I was a sinner that needed to be saved from my sins. When I was four, I asked my parents how I could know for sure that I would go to Heaven when I died, and they showed me how to give my life to Jesus Christ.  I was baptized when I was thirteen to show others of my decision to follow Christ. I did not have a smooth walk with the Lord. I walked away from Him for many years before He graciously waited for me to realize my need for Him in my life. My junior year of high school, at camp, I recognized my need to have God as ruler of my life and turned back to Him and gave my life to full-time ministry.

Where did you graduate from?
I graduated from Baptist Bible College and Seminary in 2008

Have you served in ministry before?
I served as a Youth Pastor for six years in South Carolina and as a Pastor of Student Ministry in Michigan for three years. I have been serving as Associate Pastor of Youth and Family at Grace since December 2017

Why Youth and Family? 
I have a passion to reach teens and their family so they can see the living Truth of the Gospel in their life and have the “ah-ha” moment when they see and understand how Scripture meets reality. I feel God has equipped me to equip others to serve God and make Scripture come to life in our everyday world.

Do you have a family?
My wife Stephanie and I have three kiddos who keep us on our toes.

What do you do when you’re not at church?
I enjoy most all sports, hunting, watching movies, hanging out with family and friends.

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