Motorcycle-loving minister is new pastor at First Baptist

By: 
Dwight Harriman

With his tattooed forearms and Suzuki 650 parked in front of Livingston’s First Baptist church, pastor Bryce Maurer does not come across as a typical minister.

But the passion for his post as the church’s new pastor, whose first Sunday behind the pulpit was Sept. 3, was obvious as he talked about his place of ministry.

“We really want this place to feel like home” to anyone regardless of what they look like or what they wear, he said during an interview in the pastor’s study.

And he wants lots of them to come.

“I want to see 10 percent of the population of Livingston come to this church,” he said.

Maurer, 45, grew up near San Diego, and most recently lived in Redding, California. Before coming here, he served as a lay pastor with Pastor Adam Stadtmiller at La Jolla Christian Fellowship Church in San Diego, and also ran the Joshua Project, a Christian nonprofit he described helping men and women achieve emotional wholeness and spiritually contemplative lives. While doing all this, he also worked as a flooring contractor.

The La Jolla Christian Fellowship Church is affiliated with the American Baptist denomination, as is Livingston’s First Baptist. Maurer’s coming to Livingston was prompted by Stadtmiller telling him about the need for pastors among American Baptist-affiliated churches in Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Interested, Maurer and his family — his wife, Candice, their 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son — began exploring possibilities.

“The only church that stood out was in Livingston, Montana,” he said. 

“We never had any idea that Livingston … was even on the map,” he said, but as he and his family prayed about the move and discussed it with friends, going to Livingston seemed clear.

“We quickly feel in love with this little town and the whole family said ‘Yes,’” Maurer said.

“God totally called us here,” he noted.

Maurer said his goal for the church was to help others enter a relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit.

Outside of church, Maurer’s interest include motorcycles — he laughingly referred to his big Suzuki as “my ‘hardly’” for its resemblance to, but not quite being, a Harley — as well as snowboarding and “anything outdoors.”

He added, “I’m not a hunter or a fisherman, but I sure hope to become one.”

He said he and his family have been welcomed and loved in their new home.

Asked about his prominent tattoos, which include a cross on his right hand, Maurer said, “They tell my life story. Every tattoo’s got a meaning behind it.”

But he noted, “That’s on the outside, and God’s looking at the inside.”

He said the tattoo of the cross on his hand “explains a little bit of my faith of my solid foundation and my love for the old hymns,” such as “The Old Rugged Cross.”

Singer Johnny Cash, who was famous for singing old hymns, was a big influence on his Christian faith, Maurer added

People today, even the older generation, are surprisingly accepting of tattoos, he said.

But he can’t help but enjoy the reaction some people have when they find out he’s the new pastor in town.

“Quite honestly, I enjoy the looks on their face,” he laughed.

“Come check out what we’re doing” he tells them about his church. “We’re doing things a little bit new and a little bit different.”

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First Baptist Church is located at the corner of B and Lewis streets. The Sunday morning worship service is at 10:45 a.m. For more information, call the church office at 222-1603.

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Dwight Harriman may be reached at dharriman@livent.net.

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