Mountain View’s founding pastor stepping down
Post Independent Correspondent
Sunday is Dave Pearson’s favorite day.
“When I wake up on Monday, I’m already thinking about the upcoming Sunday,” he said with a laugh. “To me, it’s the best day of the week.”
This should come as no surprise. Pastor Dave, as he is known by many in the community, has led Sunday services at Mountain View Church (MVC) in Glenwood Springs for almost 39 years. On May 1, he will present his final sermon.
“I announced I was retiring a year ago, and I can’t believe the time to move on is almost here,” he said. “It really does seem like yesterday that I came here to start the church with my wife, Kathy — and that was way back in 1977.”
The Pearsons, both native Coloradans, moved to the valley that year after being connected with a small Bible study group seeking a leader to found a new church.
“This little group of about 30 people was meeting in West Glenwood back then, and they were associated with what was called at that time the Baptist General Conference,” Pearson recalled. “So one day in 1977 I got a call about this group — and I went and met them in a living room, had a great interest in discussing where we could go with this idea, and not long after we started the Glenwood Springs Baptist Church.”
Pearson noted that the church’s beginnings were humble, but hopeful: though they began by renting and holding services in the Glenwood Springs Elementary School auditorium, after just three years the church members had purchased land on County Road 154 and built a house of worship to call their own.
“Back in 1980 there were horses running around here,” Pearson said of the property, situated between the Roaring Fork River and the cliffs of Red Canyon. “The woman who once owned this land had a dream that a church would exist here someday. Before she passed away we made an offer — and we stepped out in faith to purchase this property and make it happen.”
Not long after construction started on the property, the group decided to officially change its name to Mountain View Church. Pearson noted that the change helped more people in the community feel welcome.
GROWTH AND MOTORCYCLES
“My desire at that time was that we simply be a Bible-based church — interpreting it and applying its teachings to our lives,” he said. “In those days I would say to people, ‘Just come see what we’re all about.’ So they would come, and we grew.”
From the founding congregation of approximately 40 individuals, MVC has grown to a current membership of about 235 people. Pearson believes that a strong foundation in fellowship — spending time with and making an extended family of the church’s members — has been key in MVC’s development. Pearson even once led a group in pursuing one of his favorite hobbies: motorcycling.
“Years ago, we formed a group within the church called ‘Rev’s Riders,’ he recalled. “Goodness, we’d go out on a Saturday and maybe 25 bikers would join us, and we would take a whole day to ride together. That was really a source of great fellowship for me.”
Outside the church, Pearson has also striven to make meaningful connections in the community. In the early 1980s he penned a regular faith-based column for the Glenwood Post, and in the 1990s became a member of the Glenwood Springs Rotary Club. Pearson says his most important work outside his pastorship at MVC, however, has been his role as a volunteer at Valley View Hospital.
“I have worked with the hospital in different capacities for about 30 years,” he said, “and I really love being able to do that because that’s where people are hurting, and they need help.”
With decades of church leadership and volunteerism under his belt, many are wondering what Pastor Dave has in his plans for retirement.
“Well, I think my wife would like me to finish up a few projects around our house, and I’ll still be cheering on my Denver Broncos,” he joked. “But in seriousness — I am looking forward to doing some writing, traveling and spending time with my family.”
The Pearsons are parents to a son and daughter, and they also recently welcomed their first grandchild. Photos of all are placed front and center on the pastor’s desk in his church office — the same one he will soon clear to make way for a new church leader.
“The church has not yet chosen a new pastor,” Pearson said. “They will begin a search after I have left, and are hoping to have someone new by winter.”
Pearson’s wife, Kathy, a former concert pianist who has led MVC’s praise team for many years, will also be leaving her position.
“Kathy is truly my partner in ministry and in life,” Pearson said. “We decided to retire together, but that doesn’t mean that this transition will be especially easy for her. She is going to miss leading the praise team very much.”
As May 1 approaches, the church is preparing to send the Pearsons off with love and appreciation. A community-wide reception is scheduled for Friday at Aspen Glen, and a celebration dinner hosted by MVC is planned for April 30.
The pastor is now preparing to present his final sermons. Pearson has developed a series of lessons he calls “Words to Live By,” including Integrity, Love and Friendship. His very last sermon will be centered on the word Gratitude.
“I chose this word for the last week simply because I wish to express my gratitude — to God, our leaders, my wife and everyone in the church. I think it is going to be an emotional, wonderful day here on May 1st.”
Considering that he has been the church’s only pastor since its founding, what does Pearson envision for Mountain View Church after he retires?
“When we started this church, my goal was to build a family. A positive, spirit-filled family that invited people in — a family that worshipped together, raised our children together, and spent time together,” he said. “My hope for the future is that they will never lose that.”