(Photo: Savoia Photography / Mike Savoia)
The bassist for heavy metal rock band Megadeth may be on tour now, but that is not stopping him from his dream of becoming a Lutheran pastor.
David Ellefson, bass guitarist and one of the original members of Megadeth, is enrolled in Specific Ministry Pastor Program at Concordia Seminary of St. Louis, Mo.
"I've done higher education in recent years and I do a lot of work inside the church when I'm off the road, too," said Ellefson in an interview Wednesday with The Christian Post. "I do it merely out of my passion for it."
"So when the SMP program was offered to me from my pastor I thought it would be a great opportunity to play music and still grow in my faith and future opportunities for service to God."
Ellefson was raised Lutheran, having been baptized and confirmed at his church in his hometown of Jackson, Minn. Although his family originally belonged to the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they now consider themselves members of the more conservative The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
"The LCMS offering the SMP education for adults to be raised up in training from within the congregation is really a cool way to do this education and help the church develop pastors and leaders from within their own congregations," said Ellefson.
"It's the only way for someone like me who travels for a living to get any type of higher learning education and this is a matter that is close to my heart and passions anyway."
Megadeth was formed in the summer of 1983. Albums released by the band in the 1980s included Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? and Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! The band was also featured in the 1988 documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization 2: The Metal Years."
When asked if he saw any conflict between being the bassist for a secular metal band and a Christian, Ellefson told CP that he found no problem being a devout Christian and doing what he does.
"Some people in the church may see an issue with me playing mainstream music but this is the life I was given and my musical talents are also a gift from God. In hindsight, the formation and success of Megadeth is blessed by God," said Ellefson.
"For me to have a hunch at 16 to drive to California after my high school graduation, meet Dave Mustaine there at age 18, and then form this group was no random accident. To me, the whole thing has had the Lord's Hands on it from day one."
"After all," observed Ellefson, "Christian plumbers, mechanics, lawyers, and doctors don't only work in the church, so why should a professional musician?"