Teen Challenge

Introducing Dave Olson

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Dave Olson, Senior Pastor of Heartland Church since 2002.

Around the Heartland offices during the week, Dave is the same man as you see on Sundays. He is upbeat and cheerful and has a friendly word for everyone he meets. Intentionally or not, he sets the tone for the staff and that tone is positive and fun with a lot of laughter and jokes in between the serious work of ministry.  In his spare time, Dave enjoys spending time with his family and watching car shows.

Dave was born in Duluth, Minnesota and lived there until age 12 when his father became pastor of a church in small town Burt, Iowa. After two years the family moved to Batavia, another small town in southern Iowa. It was while living in southern Iowa that Dave became involved in the drug culture, eventually ending up homeless and addicted to alcohol. At 18, he had a powerful encounter with Jesus which resulted in his moving to Des Moines to enter Teen Challenge. Dave met his wife, Kathy, at Jimmy Swaggart Bible School and they have been married for more than 27 years. Dave and Kathy have had seven children; Evan, Elisa, Tyler and Caitlin are adults; Noah is a teenager and Nathaniel is the youngest. Elisa had a twin brother, Alex, who passed away at age four from complications most likely connected to his cerebral palsy.

As Senior Pastor, Dave is responsible for setting the vision for Heartland and its daughter organizations which include BTTN (Breakthrough To The Nations), the Heartland Alliance, KHOP (Kingdom House of Prayer) and ACT (Academy for Cultural Transformation). The spiritual oversight of these organizations, including the teaching that comes out of those houses, is Dave’s duty as well. In his words, “I am responsible before God to guard what we bring in and what we send out.”

Dave has been through some extremely hard times in his life, but he says that God has always met him there. He feels that God reveals Himself as the answer to our need.  He believes those who stay the course in the trial receive a greater revelation of the nature of God. He states, “I would have never known God like I do had I not gone through what I went through. It has been worth it all.”

Not by coincidence, Dave says that the attribute of the Lord which is most appealing to him is His goodness. He believes this is the foundation of all His other attributes. “If He is all powerful and all knowing, but isn’t good, we are in trouble.”

Dave believes he is called to three primary things:

  1. God has called him to be a man of revelation. Which means, “I am called to mine out truth for the body of Christ.”
  2. He is called to communication. “One of my primary callings is to preach and teach the word of God in a way others can understand.”
  3.  Inspiration is his third calling. “I am called to provoke and inspire others to give their all to see His purposes realized in their lives.”

Some of his congregation may add a fourth calling: rhyming phrases, but that is just silly.

Dave teaches at the Academy for Cultural Transformation and is a popular speaker, traveling internationally to spread the Good News that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Dave will be sharing monthly here at heartlandchurchonline.com. If you have any questions for him, please comment below. If you would like to receive Dave’s blog posts by email, click the link to subscribe.