Getting to know our church planters: Tyler Wilterding
Director of Church Planting
Church & pastoral health
This month we are getting to know Tyler Wilterding, Church Planter of The Table in Kearney, Nebraska.
It was great to spend time with Tyler and hear his story and the story of The Table. It was especially joyful because Tyler and I went through Converge’s Church Planter Assessment together in 2009! It was there that I got to know Tyler and his wife, Karmen, and it has been amazing to see all that God has done through the Wilterdings and The Table.
Saved by Grace and Called to Pastor
Tyler grew up in Atkinson, NE, but did not grow up going to church or following Jesus. It was not until a young lady shared the gospel with him at age 17 that Tyler was introduced to Jesus. Not only did he give his life to Christ, but the young lady who shared the Gospel would also eventually become his wife!
Almost immediately, Tyler felt a strong desire to share this good news with everyone. He remembers saying to himself, “I want to spend all of my life telling people this message.”
Tyler had this burning desire but was not sure how to go about it. He did not even know it was possible to be a pastor at his young age because all the pastors he knew were considerably older! However, he knew this was what he was supposed to do with his life and found his way to Ohio, where he attended seminary and got involved in a local church doing youth ministry.
It was during seminary where Tyler first heard about church planting and knew this was something that he needed to pursue. So, in March of 2009, he and Karmen went to Converge's Church Planter Assessment week. I asked Tyler why he went with Converge and why Kearney? He said, “Converge was the group that got the vision. They got what I was trying to do, and they were willing to come alongside me.” As to why Kearney, he said, “I went there for a family funeral. While I was there, I knew this was the place that could use a church.”
A Church Demonstrating the Power of Relationships
The Wilterdings started The Table in October of 2009 as a Bible Study. By 2011, they began Sunday services in a coffee shop. After this, they moved to a student ministry house followed by a daycare.
The Table was always about connecting people in relationship with each other and Jesus. During this time, Tyler built relationships with other pastors, including one with the pastor of 56th Street Baptist Church in Kearney, NE. Being Kingdom-minded, they remarkably sold their church and three acres to The Table for $1!
In 2019, The Table was outgrowing that space when another church in Kearney approached them. This church had renovated some storefront space. They told Tyler, “God gave us the vision to have a church here, but it doesn’t have to be us.” The Table has since moved into this larger space.
Tyler says, “Relationships have been everything for our church.” He credits meaningful relationships with other Converge Heartland pastors who have helped him through the most challenging days of ministry. “The pastors at Gothenburg First Baptist, Jack in Cairo, Daniel Bear at Grace Church in St. Paul; I wouldn’t have made it if it were not for these relationships! They kept me from failing; they helped financially; they kept me encouraged.”
Indeed it has been relationships all along. The Table has always been about relationships, and they will continue to meet people where they are at and call them to grow in God and others.
Steve Krier, Director of Church Planting
Steve is the director of church planting for Converge Heartland and Pastor of Ignite Church.