After 14 years of offering non-denominational services, the Greeley Community Church closed its doors for good following its Aug. 25 service.
The Rev. Pete Buschmann and his wife, Jill, have owned the building since 2005, after the Archdiocese of Dubuque closed what was St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
“We bought the building and had a fellow come from Dubuque and start the church there,” Buschmann said. “Six months later he left. My name was on the mortgage, so I started filling in until we had a real pastor.”
That filling in period for Buschmann lasted all 14 years.
“I didn’t imagine doing it for 14 years,” he said. “I was a trucker. I was going to be a support person at the church. I was incredibly uncomfortable preaching at the time. Quite frankly, I was terrified.”
Buschmann sought out friends in the ministry. “I got a hold of friends I trusted and leaned on them pretty hard. I’d seek out things like how do you prepare a message every week and keep it fresh and interesting?”
Buschmann credits the Lord for his ability to preach. “One of the biggest transitions for me as far as preaching is concerned is realizing how totally dependent I am on the Lord for everything. Often, I struggle about what the message will be. It might be Saturday or even Sunday before I have it. He gives it to me and then gives me the ability to stand in front of people and preach. That never ceases to amaze me.”
According to Buschmann, the church constantly struggled to build a consistent membership of worshipers.
“I thought when I went in there and the gospel was presented, people would become born again and we would have a thriving church. I was naïve about that. It didn’t happen.”
Add to that a large building that is expensive to maintain, and as Buschmann said, “the handwriting was on the wall.”
Buschmann said he learned a lot over his time with the Greeley Community Church. “The biggest thing I learned is it isn’t about me. I can get my feelings hurt, I can get mad, I can think I’m doing great things. But I’m like a glove. The Lord can do great things through me or anyone else who is willing. All I have to do is be a willing servant. I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my life and had a lot of cheap thrills. But there is no thrill in this world like being used by God to make a difference in someone’s life. There’s nothing like it.”
An offer has been made on the building. Buschmann could not comment on a possible buyer but confirmed the building will no longer be a church.
Buschmann will continue as pastor at St. John’s Congregational Church in Garber. He said he’s appreciative of what the Greeley church provided.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve. Greeley Community Church afforded us some amazing times and some amazing things happened there. We’re sad that it’s coming to an end.”