Steamboat Springs Tim Selby didn’t have a job waiting for him when he moved back to Steamboat Springs 18 years ago. After he left his job as a chaplain at a hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif., he traded his Dodge Ram pickup for a U-Haul and headed for the mountains. Sitting in his office Thursday, pastor Selby said it all worked out pretty well.
“I got burnt out from dealing with very serious tragedies on a daily basis at the hospital,” he said. “It took its toll on me, and I knew I had to find a different path of ministry at that point.”
Selby’s path to that ministry began at an early age and led him to Steamboat. He also had lived in town before heading to California.
“Ever since I was a little kid, my faith has been a really important thing in my life,” he said. “And so as I grew up, I wanted to work somehow in the realm of my faith. It took a bit of a winding road to end up at this church here, but it has been a good path.”
On July 1, Selby was appointed pastor of the United Methodist Church in Steamboat, where he has worked for 18 years. Previously the church’s associated youth pastor, Selby replaced pastor Matthias Krier after Krier took a position at a church in Loveland.
As the associated youth pastor, Selby went with local students each year on church-sponsored trips across the world. In June, he and 23 students traveled to Costa Rica to help build homes for low-income families. The youth program is something he plans to improve upon as pastor, and he plans to introduce a yearlong theme for the church this month.
“We’re looking to get everyone on board with a theme this year,” he said. “The church is also making a push to do some good things with our children’s program, and put an emphasis on how our church connects with a younger generation.”
Selby said he also is focused on increasing worship attendance by creating an authentic church experience in a community that, like the rest of the nation, continues to face challenges.
“We’re in a difficult economy, and it’s a challenge for a lot of people,” he said. “One of the things we try to do is be a place of hope and support. There are so many stressful things in the community, and I hope we can be a place where people have hope and know they’re not alone in the struggles they’re going through.”
The administrative staff at the church said that while they have had to pay for some unexpected capital improvements this year, their financial situation is no different than the rest of the community.
“I think we’re in the same position a lot of churches are in,” said Cathy Glynn, who is the chairwoman of the church’s administrative board. “We’re certainly not where we want to be, but the economy is affecting everybody, so we don’t see that we’re different from anybody else.”
Pam Graham, the new associate pastor at United Methodist Church, said Selby’s previous experience as the youth pastor will be an asset for the church.
“He cares very deeply for each person and their situation and the world,” she said. “He is so genuine in his faith and accepting of people at whatever point they are at in their life.”