About Donald N. Bastian

A blog by Bishop Emeritus Donald N. Bastian.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald N. Bastian


I’m a Saskatchewan boy, born and raised in Estevan, at that time a farming and coal mining center in the southeastern corner of the province.

My formal educational track was circuitous. Halfway through high school I quit to go to a Bible school 140 miles way. My English immigrant parents didn’t object. But after graduating three years later I became aware that I had to go back and finish high school. I did this at Lorne Park College in Ontario. My wife, Kathleen, loves to tell people that I was in high school when she married me.

But all during those years I was also getting an informal education — at 15 years of age clerking on Saturdays in my brother’s Red and White grocery store, a farm hand for one summer, for another a full-time employee in a men’s store in Regina. Later I raised funds for a college, and traveled as a gospel singer and speaker at youth events. It all came together as preparation for a life of ministry.

Back in Estevan, at 16-years-of-age I had had a clear Christian conversion. Right away I sensed the call of God to give my life to full-time ministry. But it took 10 years for that call to come to clear focus. At first, I was going to be a gospel singer. Then, at Greenville College in Illinois I became fascinated with the thought of getting a Ph.D. in English literature and teaching in a Christian college. But three years of seminary honed everything down to a clear sense that I was to be a pastor.

My wife, Kathleen, whom I had met and married during my Lorne Park days, was in complete agreement. She cheered me on in my educational endeavors even though at quite a personal sacrifice for her. In a sense we went through college and seminary together.

After 22 years as a Pastor, The Free Methodist Church in which I held ordination elected me to the bishopric, one of five bishops in North America, and assigned me to give primary leadership to the church in Canada. I was a college pastor in Illinois at the time and reluctantly I had to leave that assignment for what turned out to be 19 years in the office of oversight.

Now, 15 years after retiring it hardly seems possible that it was 62 years ago that I made the first effort to preach a sermon in my home church in Estevan. However, by the good grace of God I continue to be kept busy preaching, teaching and writing. I tell my friends, “I’m a little bit retired.”

Oh, and if you’re wondering why the blog is called “Just Call Me Pastor” click here!

22 thoughts on “About Donald N. Bastian

  1. Bishop,

    I would love to read a series of posts on “Counsel for a First-year Pastor.” Also a series on how grandparents can deliberately be a spiritual influence on their grandchildren. Or how about a series of posts recommending old pastoral/theology books that have fallen out of use but really need to be read today? Or how about a series relating the concepts in God’s House Rules to the disturbing reports on family life and parenting from Barna Research?

  2. Dear Bishop,
    Nice talking to you today and I did find the reference and surprised that you had just posted the very thing I was looking for not long ago.

    I’ll give you a call soon and we’ll catch up.

    My best to Kay who made you into a Bishop otherwise you would have pumped gas for most of your life : ).


    Tony Hedrick

  3. Bishop:

    It’s great to see your posts available online. I hope others find them and learn from you as I have.

    I became a grandfather this week. Emily and her husband, Robert, are the proud parents of Tristan Edward Hager. I’ll do my best to do as well as you did with your grandchildren.

    I’ve been asked to prepare a paper on worship for SCOD in anticipation of General Conference 2011 here. Let me know what you think it might be important to include.


  4. Bishop,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your regular posts. It is very educational for this young pastor.

    I would love to hear your thoughts/reflections on facing a time of transition: How to leave a church better than you found it. Or perhaps, healing wounds as you prepare to leave. I’m sure you’ll have better ideas for what to write.

    Thanks for your work!


  5. Dear Donald, the couple who work with our Keenager group at church would like permission to reprint “The Joy of Aging” in their monthly newsletter (for internal use only). Might that be possible? Thanks for your continuing influence through your dynamic walk with God. Jay 🙂

  6. I was so glad to find your blog. I didn’t know about it until today. You have always been one of my great heroes in the faith. I am now retired, but I began preaching when I was 17, preached through college and seminary and was part of what’s now the United Methodist Church. In 1972 Brenda and I became Free Methodists and served in the Maryland Virginia Conference. From 1993 to 1998 I was the conference superintendent. We live now in Columbia, SC. I think I only met you a couple times at General Conferences. When I attended my first one I was new to just about everything Free Methodist, but somehow I was elected a delegate. I’d never been near Winona Lake. I walked into the FM Church, not really knowing anyone and you walked across the room and said, “Hi, I’m Don Bastian, what’s your name?” I suddenly felt like it was going to be a positive experience. Then, decades ago I submitted an article to a magazine I believe you were one of the editors of. You didn’t use my article but kindly suggested another place for it, and it was published. Thanks for your ministry through all these years. You have been a great inspiration to me.
    Bob Rogers

  7. Your advice on the use of money is timely and very appropriate for today’s generation. A simple rule for financial planning from Ron Blue, noted Christian financial expert is simple: ” Always spend less than you earn.”

    Then there is the “Joseph principle” – save during 7 years for 7 years of famine.

    May God continue to use you to give wise counsel.

    Grace to you,

    Keith Lohnes

  8. Bishop Bastian

    It was good to hear you bring the Word this morning at Wesley Chapel. It was challenging to return to our Methodist roots as you presented the Bible message that 1. All must be saved, 2. All may be saved, 3. All may know that they are saved, 4. We can be saved to the uttermost. I don’t have a great memory, I brought my note book and pen. I look forward to receiving youe e-mails and to visiting your blog regularly. I have always had an affinity for you since the first time I heard you about 20 yrs ago at a Holiness Conference at The Salvation Army’s Conference Centre at Jackson’s Point. God’s continued Grace be yours.

  9. Hi Mr. Bastian, wonderful to talk to you today, and recall old Estevan History. I thoroughly enjoyed the call. I noticed your name is missing from the ECI Web site alumni list, will have to address that addition soon. Hope you check out the links on the web page I’ve added here. I did note the old Hospital on 5th st, was in operation ca1924, so you can assume that is where you were born. on my Estevan Hospital page there is pictures of the hospital, feel free to borrow them for your personal records. I will have to update my Free Methodist web page to add your blog link to it. Imagine there will be others interested in your thoughts. Take care. Doug

    • Good Morning, Doug:

      After last night’s lively conversation (which I enjoyed greatly) I went to my computer to do some sleuthing. I didn’t find everything we talked about but I will continue to search. You make a significant contribution to our country as well as Estevan when you preserve these fragments of information that otherwise would be lost. If Estevan was founded in 1892 and my parents arrived there in 1904 then they were indeed among the earliest settlers there. Thanks for making me aware of that fact. As I reflected on our conversation I was surprised at how much I remember about Estevan and environs even though I have not lived there for 65 years. The conversation made me want to go back and look the town over. Maybe I will some day.


      Don Bastian

  10. Hello again Mr. Bastian,
    I hoped you were able to find the Methodist church history page I have, and more important, the connection to this Church of Stephen Endicott, the author of the book titled “Bienfait” which is a History of the miner’s riot. His Grandfather, Charles Endicott, was the first minister in 1903, in the same church your father, grandfather, and you attended. Mr. Stephen Endicott lives in Toronto I believe, and would have more info on the Church I would bet. Anyway there is some old articles about the start of the Church I found, Trinity Methodist Church it appears to have been called then. The Baptists used this Church until they built their own in 1909, and the United Church bought the building in 1931. Today it is an empty parking lot behind the Royal Bank. I found more family info and added that to my Souris Valley Archive page. Seached 20 ships in 1904 and still luck for Josiah. total of 71!
    By the way if you share any photos of yourself, Josiah and Wilfrid, I would love to add them to my site. Enjoying putting the pieces together.
    It appears your Grandfather Thomas Bastian was born in Cornwall England, but many Bastians come from there, so hard to pin down the right one. Lancashire, coal country, was where they all lived before coming to Canada. You come from tough Coal Miner stock for sure.

  11. What a privledge to have known you since 1951 when I met you at Greenville college. You have been an inspiration to many of us that have known you and presently at L&L Park. It is unbelieveable that I am your neighbor. May God continue to give you health, wisdom, alertness to the needs of others and the gift of friendship to all of us.

  12. Don:
    I have had rough notes on an article I have wanted to write for years. A few decades ago I noted that there seemed to be a lowering of quality of preaching coming out of the schools…it seemed to stem from an attempt at doing very casual, conversational presentations. But to me it seemed to lack the note of certainty and confidence. I have always been stirred at the moment in the ordination ritual when the Bible is held jointly by ordinand and ordainer, and the words “Take thou authority to preach the Word…” are spoken. Have you written anything on this topic. Thanks much, BobMcD

    • Hi, Robert:

      It’s good to have this contact with you. Thanks for writing.

      I’ve written and spoken a lot about preaching but I don’t know that I have addressed in writing the very subject you propose. I go to Northeastern Seminary once a semester to spend four hours with a class. They have about 150 pages of my writings which they read in advance and then I’m free to discuss any piece I want with them. I’ve done this for at least ten years. It’s a great four hours.

      You will find on the Internet a piece I wrote about ordination. It’s called, Why Does the Church Ordain For Ministry. That’s all you need. It’s my understanding that the bishops posted it. I think you would appreciate it. I’ll look some more to see what else I’ve written on your subject. If nothing I should think in that direction.

      I can’t send you this note without recalling the great providence that brought us into one another’s spheres so many years ago. You were 18 as I recall and I was 20. The church gave us a good start. Thanks for those memories.



  13. It was good to talk with you and Kay today. I have great respect and appreciation for your pastoral ministry in the days you were pastor at Greenville, Illinois. My wife and I often comment on the blessings we received as a young couple under your ministry. We miss the kind of preaching that speaks the truth in love with balance and integrity to the scriptures. You took the Bible seriously and so did your listeners. That stays with us. Thank You

    We wish you all God’s best.

    Stan Johnson

  14. I just sent a copy of your blog, “Marriage is What it Is,” to the Chairman of Target stores. They are devoting all the money of up to $120,000 of tee shirt sales to the Gay Pride Month for the month of June. This was in response to the American Family Association notice. You are my favorite author in the FM Church.

  15. I have read your blog from time to time but never left a comment. I want to voice my thanks here publicly for your wisdom and counsel, not just on these Internet pages, but over the 48 years since I met you when I was a junior in high school attending a youth convention in McPherson, Kansas. I appreciated your wise counsel and challenging preaching at Greenville College, your prayers, counsel and hospitality over my subsequent years of marriage and ministry, your writings that I have shared with students and parishioners over the years, and the occasional opportunities for face-to-face interaction. may God continue to bless you and your family personally, and enlarge your professional influence among pastors, old, youn, and unborn

  16. Bishop,

    Is it possible to get a copy of your thesis “A biblical study of the problem of the believers security”?


  17. I am writing from The La Grande Observer, a local newspaper that covers two counties in rural Oregon. We are looking for content for our “Spiritual Life” page, which is published in our Friday editions. I came across your blog and see that it would be a great fit for our page. May we have your permission to publish articles from your blog from time to time? We cannot pay you, but we will attribute the article to you and include a brief bio and reference to your blog. We would also like to include a photo. I would appreciate if you could let us know: email news@lagrandeobserver.com. Thank you!
    Lisa Lester Kelly
    news clerk / copy editor
    The La Grande Observer

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