After eight years of undercover narcotics work, Adam Cates felt called by God to move his family to Oswego and pursue a career in ministry.
Cates is now the Community Pastor at Big Life Community Church.
“My personal goal is to meet as many people as possible and invite them to share in a fun and uplifting worship service,” he said of his new role.
Cates brings a passion for music to Big Life which he'll use as a worship leader.
In 2007, Cates bought a guitar and taught himself to play. That same year, he started playing at his church and writing music.
“It just blew up,” he said. “I started getting requests to play.”
The summer of 2011, Cates worked with Tate Music Group to record a CD. His daughter, Gillian, sang on three tracks.
Cates described his music as faith-based and Contemporary Christian but said he doesn’t really have a label for it. He hopes to quickly make connections and begin performing locally.
“Evangelism is a big role in my life. I hope to play as much music as I possibly can,” he said.
“My music is 100 percent from God. I’m not that smart to write songs and my guitar skills are mediocre,” he said.
Before moving to Oswego to join Big Life, Cates was a police officer for 12 ½ years in Fort Madison, Iowa. Eight of those years, Cates served as an undercover narcotics agent.
Cates said he enjoyed the variety this position offered. He enjoyed the adrenaline rush of executing search warrants and also the long-term investigations to disrupt drug organizations. Cates said the work was very rewarding.
Though Cates enjoyed police work, he said God was calling him to work full-time in ministry.
Marissa McClure Mitchell is Executive Director of PneuProject, which “exists to share Jesus with people who don’t go to church.” PneuProject started Big Life Community Church.
McClure Mitchell is thrilled that Cates joined Big Life and feels he’s a huge blessing to the church.
“He’s such an asset… He saw the absolute worst in humanity every single day and he can translate that awful stuff into an appreciation of faith,” she said. “He is very reality based, he’s definitely not in a Christian bubble,” McClure Mitchell explained.
McClure Mitchell said Cates was raised by a single mom, so he has a huge heart for kids, especially high school kids. She said his focus reaches well beyond the church and that he is “about reaching out to the community.”
McClure Mitchell said Cates is an extremely talented musician with commercial appeal.
“His lyrics speak to his experiences. They are about the dark side of humanity and the hope that everyone can move past that,” she said.
Cates said Oswego has a completely different feeling than small-town Fort Madison but that it doesn’t feel strange to his family. He said it feels normal, which reinforces to Cates that God called him here.
Cates’ daughter, Gillian, 15, will be a sophomore at Oswego East High School.
“I’m amazed by the opportunities the school offers. It’s phenomenal and above and beyond,” Cates said.
Cates’ son, Ethan is 11. Wife, Heidi, is a certified teacher and works part-time in children’s ministry at Big Life.
Big Life Community Church events are every Sunday beginning September 9 at 10:45a.m. at Oswego East High School.
Learn more about Cates' music: http://www.adamcates.org/index.html