Roland Meyer was born and raised in Nevada County. He graduated from Bear River High School in 1999, and, like many small town graduates, left town to find something else.
And like many who leave in search of something else, he wanted something bigger — he wasn’t sure what that was — but he found it in God.
Meyer can now be found at the First Baptist Church of Nevada City, delivering sermons every Sunday morning.
He was recently selected to be the new pastor and led his first service last week. But for Meyer it wasn’t a direct route to the church. He lived in Sacramento for nearly five years, earning a degree in business administration from California State University, Sacramento because he felt that was a nice, general degree people pursued when they were seeking direction.
It was then that God, not school, gave him the purpose and direction he sought.
“The Lord called me in 2004. It’s hard to explain, but I knew that it was time to come to him. He grabbed ahold of me. I was his at that point,” Meyer said.
Meyer finished up his schooling and then returned to Grass Valley, in part for his family, which includes his parents, brother and grandmother, but also because he felt there wasn’t much for him anywhere else.
“So many people leave a small town to get out. I came back because God changed my life. My desires had changed. Some of the things that drew me to Sac didn’t satisfy me anymore,” he said. “Part of the reason I came back was for family. I wanted to go to church with them. But also, my life had changed.”
Meyer then pursued a career in the church, attending (via commute) the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, where he graduated with a master’s degree in theological studies.
During his studies he served as an assistant pastor at Mission Beth’el in Chicago Park and taught child and adult Bible classes.
He is also a trained chaplain and served in the (fire) disaster relief efforts in San Diego and Chico.
While Meyer doesn’t consciously utilize his business administration background in his new role, he’s sure he puts those skills to use almost every day, whether he’s counseling his congregation or overseeing construction and remodeling.
His biggest responsibility, though, is casting a vision for the church.
His first sermon was “making disciples, Jesus’ way” and this week his topic will be “Repent and Believe in the Gospel,” part of a series about the commands of Christ.
Meyer sees his new position as an exciting opportunity and serious obligation, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“People said if I could do anything else, other than pastoral work, to do it. But I didn’t find any joy in doing anything else. God is with me, and he will accomplish exactly what he wants,” Meyer said.
The First Baptist Church of Nevada City is located at 300 Main St. Worship is at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday, and weekly potlucks and Bible study take place every Wednesday evening. For more information, call 530-265-4711.
Freelance writer Katrina Paz lives in Grass Valley.