About Us

The History & Pastors

of Christian Fellowship Church

Jim Erb (1929-2021) was the founding pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, where he and Verda (1929-2021) served until retiring in 1997.

"The one purpose that God intended for this church was that all Christians were equal; a common unity in Christ," said Jim. "That is what Communion is about: we are saved by the blood; forgiven by the blood-- one Mediator for all. This is founded on John 17:20-21, where Jesus said "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

"This church had its beginning in our house on the west side of Height of Land Lake. Starting in 1965, it was God's gracious touch on my life when He visited me there in my bedroom and told me I was to be a pastor, which I could not have believed was possible in 1964, until it just happened."

"In 1967, as a group of us began to pray about what we should do, the Lord began to speak to us that we needed to start a fellowship, so we started meeting in a little building in Snellman, which was impossible to heat. Then the Egland Lutheran Church, a beautiful building; all equipped, opened its doors to us. Here God also opened the windows of heaven to us. At this time, in 1968, having been licensed with Gospel Crusade for three years, we went to Strawberry Lake Christian Camp where I was installed as Pastor Jim Erb and Dean Shipman, Bill McGiboney and Durell Derstine as elders, and the church was set in order."

"1969, 1970, and 1971 found us there with a real visitation from the Lord, and we were able to touch many of the youth for Christ at Eglund. Fred Soyring joined us , and was instrumental in starting the youth meetings. God sovereignly moved in our midst for several years, which brought most of our people from Detroit Lakes, so we decided we needed to move there. We went into the old V.F.W. building, when it was under where the D.L. Printing office [was]."

"We were there only a few months and the old Seventh Day Adventist Church (that the Baptists had used for a few years) came up for sale, so our next big venture was to buy that. It was while we were here (in a building that used to stand in place of the office building next to Midwest Printing's current location) we started our Christian day school. After a few more years, that was too small, so in 1979 we bought property from Herb Flat at half-price and the church joined hands to build the building we are now in."

"God has been so good to us-- may we be able to yield ourselves to Him in return, so His will can be revealed in us!"

Pastor Jim's Video Tour of C.F.'s Beginnings

Keith & Jan Barberg pastored CF from 1997-2008. They now live near Dassel, MN, where they are active in a local church. They enjoy ministering God's love to whomever He puts in their pathway. It was an honor to serve as senior pastor of Christian Fellowship Church. During those twelve years the Holy Spirit knitted our hearts in a wonderful way to the CF family and many others in the DL and surrounding area.

Our relationship was first built with Pastor Jim Erb and others back in the 1970's when Jan and I were directors at The House of Agape, located near Little Floyd Lake, which was a home for young people desiring to experience the freedom found in following the Lord Jesus Christ. Through this, a foundation was laid for my becoming pastor of CF twenty years later.

We remember some blessed times with fellow laborers endeavoring to fulfill The Great Commission of Christ to reach our world with the Good News. Some precious memories we will always cherish of our time at CF include: life-changing worship; Kids Klub outreach; young people on fire for God, who still meet together years later; jail ministry; mission trips to Pikanjikum Indian Reserve in Ontario, Canada; church-building in Belarus; teaching at Christ For The Nations in Poland; mission trips to Mexico, Haiti and Sweden; and numerous other opportunities to share God's love. We very much appreciate all those whom God used during our time at CF. God only knows the impact of their contributions!

Pastor Tim & Annette Rice

Pastor Tim has been a licensed pastor (through Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship) since 1982, and is also trained in church consulting through Church Central in Dallas, Texas and Church Growth Resources. He was actively involved with Open Door Church in Hibbing, Minnesota since its inception in 1981 and became a full-time pastor there in 2002. In 2008, he accepted the position of Senior Pastor of Christian Fellowship and begin full-time ministry here in the summer of 2009. Pastor Tim also serves as President of CF's board of elders. Tim is an all around “Fix it Guy” (with duct tape) and enjoys 4-wheeling.

Annette leads the music team at Christian Fellowship. She and Tim were married in 1986. They have four children: Jared, Lindsey, Zoe and Caleb.