Used By The Lord
I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska into a Christian home. My parents were very involved in Fairbanks First Church of the Nazarene, which I attended throughout my childhood and youth. While in high school I felt a call to go into the preaching ministry. After I long inner struggle, I decided not to pursue a career in ministry, choosing instead a career in science.
After graduating from West Valley High School in Fairbanks, I entered what is now Northwest Nazarene University with a declared major in physics. After four years, I entered graduate school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to pursue a Ph.D. in physics. The first year I met, and soon was engaged to, my wife Stephanie, who was also a physics student. I finished my Masters and Ph. D., with my thesis work involving the measurement of the aurora-like optical emissions from high-powered electron beams emitted from a sounding rocket. While testing instrumentation for a follow-on rocket experiment, I unexpectedly captured the first image of an upward propagating lightning discharge, from the cloud top to space, which is now known as a Sprite.
During our years in graduate school, we raised three children and were very active in Minneapolis First Church of the Nazarene, later Southwest Community Church of the Nazarene. I also began working at the aerospace and defense company Alliant Techsystems. Later, I took a post-doctoral assistantship at Los Alamos National Laboratory, working on a small research satellite named FORTE, designed to study lightning from space. After two years, I was offered a permanent job as the principal investigator. While in New Mexico, we attended the La Vista Church of the Nazarene and were very involved in several areas of ministry. After four years at the lab, I sensed a call to full-time ministry, so we moved to Colorado Springs to complete preparation for ministry at Nazarene Bible College.
During those three years at NBC, we attended Trinity Nazarene Church where I led the teen Bible quizzing program, was involved in several singing groups and the church orchestra (trumpet), and ministered in several nursing homes. In July 2002, I accepted the role of senior pastor at the South Broadway Church of the Nazarene in Boulder, Colorado. At this church we worked with a small group of older members trying to refocus church ministries and re-energize the church. While we shepherded most of the older membership “home to glory,” we worked to build a new church of younger members that focused on trying to reach the community with the love of Christ.
Five years into our ministry, we adopted four children from our community ranging in age from 2 to 12. Raising a second family was a difficult challenge, especially while trying to build the church in an increasingly hostile secular community. We found the mental health and legal issues of our children deeply impacted our church ministry. Our experiences connected us to many families experiencing adoption and mental health trials, especially those with children having early life trauma. In July 2019, I resigned my pastorate in Boulder and moved to Berthoud, Colorado for a time of renewal. During this season, we continue to work with our two youngest children and are members at Hope Springs Community Church of the Nazarene, in Loveland, CO. I also continue to teach General Physical Science and General Math at Nazarene Bible College, and have found other opportunities to teach a wide range of physics classes at several other colleges in the area. God has been faithful to our family and has provided for us both during the years of full-time ministry and now in this season of transition.
I am excited to be able to share my background in math and science through teaching online classes at Nazarene Bible College. I hope to transfer my appreciation for these subjects to those entering the ministry.
Dr. Robert Franz has been teaching at NBC since 2002.
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 09/28/2020