In the mid-1990s a collaboration took place between then Zion Senior Pastor Rube Groehler and congregational member Greg Bergeron to start a recorded telephone ministry. Greg’s professional background in radio and commercial work and his love and personal relationship with Jesus Christ resulted in what we know today as Encouraging Words. Supported by Zion’s pastors over the years (admittedly, some more than others), Greg writes every script himself using The Message Bible as a resource and then records it via telephone each morning at around 6:15 a.m. (similar to leaving a voicemail). Since beginning this ministry, he has recorded on average 320 messages each year but, after retiring a few years ago, the actual yearly total has inched closer to more than 350. When asked from where he draws his inspiration, Greg credits his love of reading and through people he meets, but mostly by being aware of God’s voice in his life, knowing that “he has something he wants me to say for him.”

Over the years, Greg has heard back from several listeners, many who call Encouraging Words early every day, and some who listen at other times. One 90-year-old listener once told Greg’s wife, Ann during a home visit, “I hope you won’t be angry, but I go to bed with your husband every night!” Over the years, Ann has supported, encouraged and at times, even influenced Greg’s ministry. One day when she and Greg were talking during their devotion time together, Ann remarked that she wished people would learn to smile a little more. Inspired by Ann’s “wish”, Greg incorporated a new mantra at the conclusion of each recording…“This is Greg Bergeron, a member of Zion Lutheran Church Anoka. Take care of yourself during these challenging times. Pray for yourself and all others you know for God’s gentleness, strength and courage today. God bless you and Don’t Forget to Smile.”

Encouraging Words can be heard daily by calling 763-506-8191.