Tom Harder grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, where his parents both taught at the Mennonite seminary. He decided early on that he would never be a pastor, choosing instead to study and pursue a career in music. Eventually earning a doctorate in Classical Guitar Performance, his journey took an unexpected turn, and took him and Lois back to Camp Friedenswald in Michigan (where they had met while on summer staff and later had their wedding), serving as Program Director. When Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church invited them in 1996 to serve as their co-Associate Pastors, he said “What?! Me?!” Nevertheless, they accepted, he began taking seminary classes (finally earning a Master of Divinity degree ten years later), and discovered he loves pastoral ministry (and that God is both wise and mischievous)! He also continues to love playing music, especially the guitar. He, Lois and their three daughters have a family band, “Five Times Harder.”
Lois Harder grew up on a farm in Central Illinois, where she developed her soaring soprano voice singing on the tractor, and learned how to work hard by helping her dad with the corn, beans, and hogs. She fed her flair for drama by performing with her high school’s show choir, then went on to study Music Education in college. After marrying Tom, she taught elementary school music while he was in graduate school, then together they followed their unexpected journey back to Camp Friedenswald, then to Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita. (In retrospect, it shouldn’t have surprised her; both her maternal grandfather and her dad had served as Mennonite pastors!) She completed her Master of Divinity degree together with Tom in 2006. She loves walking alongside others in their journeys of life and faith!