Pastor Jim Hagen was born in Duluth, MN. Throughout his childhood and youth his family moved frequently, living in Minnesota, Texas, Oregon, California, Iowa and New Jersey before finally moving back to Minnesota. Pastor Hagen graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pre-Theology.

In the summer following college Pastor Hagen married Denise. That fall he enrolled in Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. His internship year was served at Messiah Lutheran Church, Washburn, WI. Pastor Hagen graduated from Luther Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree.  He received a call and was ordained into the ordained ministry on August 15, 1982, at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Shoreview, MN.

Jim and Denise have been blessed with 2 children and two grandsons.

Over his ministry Pastor Hagen has served the following churches:


  • Leeds Lutheran Parish; Leeds, N.D.

  • Our Savior’s Lutheran Church; Outing, MN

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church; Babbitt, MN

  • Elim Lutheran Church; Duluth, MN



Deb became Elim's Youth Minister in January of 2019.  She comes to Elim having served another local congregation for four years.  Prior to that, Elim was blessed to have Deb as our Youth and Family Ministry Director for 13 years.  As such, she comes to Elim with lots of memories, experience and new ideas. 

Deb grew up in Cloquet, MN and graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a degree in Outdoor Education. While in college she worked for Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry (VLM) at their camps Vermilion and Hiawatha.  She met her husband, Dave, when they both worked at camp.  They have called West Duluth home since 2001.  Deb and Dave have one teenage son.


Deb and her family share Elim's passion for ministry to and among young people.  She is a leader in youth ministry in the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA, serving as an advisor on the synod's LYO team.