Scot Hoeksema smiles as he explains he explored many paths in life before his journey brought him to the pulpit at Bagby Memorial United Methodist Church in Grayson.
Born and raised in Iowa and Missouri, Hoeksema spent time in Europe, including Belgium and the Netherlands, with his family as a teen. In college, Hoeksema majored in biology, with lots of botany as part of his course work, and graduated with relatively limited career options.
“I was qualified to be a lab technician,” he said with a chuckle, noting he went to work at a VA Hospital in St. Louis and adding the work was “very routine” and unsatisfying. “I decided I wanted to do more with my life,” he said, explaining he decided to pursue a masters degree in chemical engineering.
He met his future wife, Pat, during his second year at Lehigh University, and after graduation went to work for a paper company. “That was not on my radar,” he said, adding he enjoyed the paper industry and particularly the knowledge he gained working with associated wastewater treatment plants and computer simulations. After seven years in the paper business, however, Hoeksema said he again questioned his life.
“Again, I was looking for something more.” He found himself part of a “small, start up biotech company” known as Martek, which manufactured specialty products for laboratories. Despite initial success, he said the company’s investment structure “broke me.” At that time, Hoeksema said he entered what he calls “the wilderness years” of his life. He had numerous jobs lined up as a consultant, but watched each account go elsewhere as he pursued licensing.
“I started interviewing for jobs. I had a page and a half of jobs I applied for and none of those panned out. I had a business phone, home phone, cell phone, mail and email and I got five “No’s” a day. That went on for four or five years.”
A lady from church asked Hoeksema to perform home repairs and renovations, “and pretty soon I was working on houses! I did not do any advertising. Another job would always come along before I was done with the last one. I learned to do everything from basements to roofing.”
Hoeksema said his faith has always been an important part of his life. “I grew up Methodist. I was born and raised in the Methodist Church. I was baptized as a baby,” he said. During an alter call in 2007, Hoeksema said he proclaimed “Here I am Lord,” and set forth to become ordained. He was assigned to serve as pastor at Bagby Memorial United Methodist Church on June 14, 2019.
Grayson, he said, already feels like a good fit for himself and his wife, noting he is particularly pleased to have discovered the monthly “Holler Down The Holler” poetry slam hosted by Jeremy D. Wells, as well as community art exhibits at Grayson Gallery & Art Center.
“Here, I feel like I am more able to be the person I am supposed to be and express my creative side.”
Smiling, Hoeksema said he has a mild fascination with the church’s namesake, George Bagby, who seems to have never attended a service there. For fun, his pursuits include fossil hunting.
“As a scientist, I enjoy learning new things.”