Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Kermit Netteburg—Pastor, Teacher, Author—Retires

Kermit Netteburg—Pastor, Teacher, Author—Retires

Story by Alexis A. Goring/ Photos by A. Kiiza

It was a hot day this past summer at Potomac Conference Camp Meeting. Kermit Netteburg, senior pastor of Potomac’s Beltsville (Md.) church, was overseeing the production team. After two grueling days of work, he announced to the team of about 15, “We’re all going to a staff meeting at the ice cream shop!” Soon after they arrived at the shop, Netteburg declared rounds of ice cream were on him!

“It’s fun to work for him,” says Will Johns, Beltsville’s associate pastor. “He’s always aware of the human side. … He wants people to work hard but to enjoy themselves and have fun doing it, and he creates those opportunities for that to happen.”

Unfortunately, no one else will experience the joy of working for Netteburg because, after 47 years of church-employed ministry, he recently retired.

 Charity, Ronnalee, Kristin, Kermit and Olen Netteburg Clan: Charity, Ronnalee, Kristin, Kermit and Olen

A Memorable Career

Born in California but raised in Minnesota, Netteburg’s first employment was as an English teacher at Campion Academy (Col.). Later he became the business manager for Oak Park Academy (Iowa). Soon afterward he received his PhD from the University of Minnesota before teaching communication, journalism and public relations at Andrews University (Mich.).

Netteburg also worked for the Columbia Union Conference as communication director and Visitor editor, and was assistant to the North American Division president for communication. He left administrative work to serve as a pastor at the Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., before finishing his career at Beltsville.

Under Netteburg’s leadership, Beltsville’s attendance doubled to about 600 diverse people from around the world. “I think they will remember his grace-centered and Christ-centered preaching and his ability to create a culture that celebrates and treasures diversity in nationality and in thought,” says Johns.

When asked why he became a pastor, Netteburg says, “It is something that brought me incredible joy. I love being connected with people … particularly about helping them grow spiritually and gain a sense of purpose and mission.”

A Wide Impact

Netteburg’s impact has been far and wide. Maryland Sen. James Rosapepe and Councilwoman Mary Lehman attended his recent farewell ceremony at the Beltsville church. They paid tribute to Netteburg for using his political connections to garner support in founding the Beltsville Adventist Community Services Center in 2012, which has become a vital resource.

Dave Weigley, union president, has been acquainted with Netteburg for more than three decades and says of his ministry, “He’s creative in trying to express the gospel in relevant terms. … I think he follows his convictions in a way that’s admirable. There’s a real fire in Kermit’s belly for preaching and sharing the gospel.”

Bill Miller, Potomac president, adds, “I fully appreciate Kermit’s energy and how he builds relationships in ministry. Beltsville church has flourished under his spiritual leadership. I appreciate his experience and the insights he shares.”

Now that he’s retired, Netteburg can be found at home with his wife in Silver Spring, Md. He says he is ready for a change and will take six months to listen to what God wants him to do next.


Click to the next page to read 5 Netteburg Fun Facts.


 5 Netteburg Fun Facts


• He likes to restore old furniture.


• His undergraduate degree is in business administration and mathematics.


• His dissertation was argued before the Supreme Court and used as evidence for both sides.


• He has published at least 100 articles for the church and mainstream media.


• Andrews University honored him multiple times with The President’s Award for Scholarly Publishing.


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