What do a treasure seeker, a scientist, a retired racecar driver, a detective, and a superhero have in common? They are all characters created by Pastor Roland R. Maust to help declare the gospel to children.
Their unique and varied nature also reflects the life of their creator, who has known multiple seasons of pastoral ministry and shows no sign of slowing down. A love for music and willingness to say yes to opportunities has led Maust to a lifetime of adventure, with doors still opening for him and his wife, Karen.
A Musical Journey of Grace
Initially an alto clarinet player, his 6-foot frame made him the perfect person for his high school band instructor to select to carry around a marching tuba, even if only for aesthetics. Roland was not one to be a mere ornament, so he learned the tuba to a level of mastery that would continue to open up opportunities.
He found himself earning a bachelor’s degree in music education and a Bible minor at Grace College and traveling with Dimensions in Brass, a music group founded by Jerry Franks. Roland notes that one of the enduring lessons he gleaned from Franks was that if you open your life and your family to others, there will always be room for more. This would lead Roland and his wife Karen to multiple destinations through the years.
“Undoubtedly, the pinnacle of my time at Grace was playing and traveling with the Dimensions in Brass,” said Maust. “Playing the piccolo part in Stars and Stripes Forever in such places as Disneyland and Disneyworld was a personal thrill.”
After graduating, Maust would find opportunities directing a band and teaching the Bible in Indianapolis Christian Schools, even taking an ensemble to perform for Ronald Reagan during his first presidential campaign tour. After this, he experienced a “Seminary of the Desert,” working different jobs and finding outlets to serve in several churches using his musical talents.
Along the way, Maust unintentionally began to transition to pastoral ministry. (That’s what happens when you agree to fill in for a Sunday school teacher while he is on vacation, and the teacher decides to move across the country.) Maust continued to use his pastoral degree to teach the class for several years while finding chances to share his musical talents.
A Return to Grace
Saying “yes” to these various opportunities eventually led Maust to the decision to return to Grace for an M.Div. in Pastoral Ministry. While doing so, he won the Alva J. McClain Award for Expository Preaching.
This would lead to almost 30 years of pastoral ministry, at Millersburg, Ohio, and Uniontown, Pennsylvania, both at Charis Fellowship congregations. While pastoring, Maust also found time to dip his toes into the world of radio ministry. What started as 60-90 second spots at Millersburg became 25-minute broadcasts at Uniontown.
This radio program, The Gospel Truth, featured a story and musical background — a perfect mix of Roland’s gifts and training. His affinity for historical narrative led him to write and produce several additional shows, including “Fayette County in the Civil War,” “Tell Me a Story,” “Secret Lives of the Presidents,” and “Weird History.”
Saying Yes to Opportunities
It was during these years of pastoral ministry that Roland found himself at junior camps in Ohio and Pennsylvania. At these camps he would write the script for the aforementioned characters, teaching children about the Bible from the perspective of Sam Shovel, a Bible detective, Crash N. Burns, a racecar driver, or Dr. Einstein von Boom Kaboom, a scientist showing the truth of Biblical creation.
Ministry also took him to Bangui, Central African Republic. Writing his own curriculum, Maust taught wisdom literature to African pastors, leaving resources behind that are still being circulated today.
And now, Maust’s heart for missionary work is leading him back into the world of radio ministry in Glenallen, Alaska. But what leads a pastor to a radio station in Alaska?
“As a minister with a pastor’s heart, the fact that many villages have no church pierces my heart,” said Maust. “The brick-and-mortar buildings of the Lower 48 are so integral to the birth, life, and death of the average community that we rarely give them a second thought. In the small community of East Conemaugh, Pennsylvania in which I live, Sundays are heralded by the sound of the bells from four separate church steeples, with more that have no bells. To have no ready source of comfort, help, and celebration conveniently at hand breaks my heart for the people of Alaska.”
The radio station, KCAM, serves a remote area the size of Ohio where few villages have churches. Radio is their only access to God’s Word. But the Mausts know that no experience is wasted, and they are expectant for a fruitful ministry ahead.
The years spent in college and seminary earning a pastoral degree are just a launching pad for what God has called each of us to do. Learn more about the Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies, now being offered completely online! Don’t worry about your age or previous experience. As Pastor Roland stated, “When you open up your life, there is always room for more.”
Would you like to learn more about their ministry? Roland and Karen are two years into their journey to get to Alaska and are still looking for mission-minded folks who will partner with them. Unfortunately, life in Alaska is quite expensive, and they still need some $40,000 in active support before they can relocate there and begin their ministry at KCAM. Would you prayerfully consider becoming an active part of their ministry? Please contact their sending agency at Joy Media Ministries, P. O. Box 249, Glennallen, AK 99588 to learn how to be actively involved in reaching isolated Alaskans with the Gospel. You can also email them at email@example.com or phone call at 907.822.5226.