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Welcome, Rev. Debra Schaffran!

We welcomed Rev. Debra Schaffran (and her husband, Rod) to
Willmar UMC on Sunday, June 26, 2022. Check out her story to learn more about Pastor Deb and her unique gifts for ministry!

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My Story

Leadership Style

I am mostly a visionary leader and I love to collaborate with others to create the new and different. This visionary style also works in creating the alternative methods for achieving goals. I am goal driven and encourage other to be the same.

Aspirations for Ministry and for Serving the Local Church

After many years as a church volunteer, I gave in and answered God’s call into ministry. He was patient and yet persistent and I will forever be grateful. My strengths include teaching and preaching but mostly I love to reach into the community to serve the least and the lost.

Spiritual Disciplines and Study

As I was entering ministry a co-worker, a pastoral spouse, had a heart-to-heart conversation with me about not neglecting my own Spiritual discipline and study. Her advice was spot on, and I strive daily to have a time alone with God. I pray throughout the day, read scripture daily, and usually have a book of meditations that I am working through. In addition to regular worship, yes, even on vacation, I find opportunities to worship in the outdoors.

What I Like to Do for Fun

For fun I enjoy family time at the lake, floating on pontoon, playing

games, laughing, and loving each person. The BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) is an annual destination for me and I would go more often if time wasn’t an issue. I have a love hate relationship with a local gym and go four or five times each week.


My husband and I are blessed with two adult children and the wonderful partners they have chosen. David and Sophie live in Bloomington with their dog Mickie and Ellen and Patrick live in Hopkins with their dog Sunny. We also have wonderful extended family that we spend lots of time with at our lake home.

Call to Ministry

I was confirmed at Cornerstone UMC (Wesley UMC), worshiped at Portland Ave UMC and Normandale Hyland UMC. In each setting God was preparing me for ministry, I just didn't know it at the time. While at Normandale Hylands UMC I started wondering what I would do when I retired from my corporate life. At this point God reminded me that He had been preparing me for ministry. My discernment process included much prayer, research, and the assistance of pastor friends. During this time, I discovered the licensing route into ministry. I plan to serve in the role of pastor until God shows me what is next.

Passion for Ministry

Many things in ministry bring me joy. I greatly enjoy kids and given the chance I will spend as much time as possible with elementary and middle school age kids. I greatly enjoy serving the community, be it with the homeless person that walks in my door or the community board I serve on. Maybe, but not sure, my greatest joy comes from providing weekly worship at the county jail. Bringing the good news of Jesus to those incarcerated brings me great joy. Oh, and I love to preach, teach, and the research it takes.

Vision of the Church

I envision an inclusive church with servant minds that include the whole world as their mission.

Gifts for the Ministry

I am a good preacher. Leadership is one of my top three spiritual gifts and has served me well in ministry.

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