U.S. Navy Seal training is so brutal that fewer than 20 percent of candidates actually finish the course.

Gunnar Hanson was one of the few chosen, but then nearly blew his accomplishments away one foolish night.

Fortunately, he learned to use his past as a bridge to help others when his heart, mind and life were unshackled.

Now known as “Pastor Gunnar,” he will be the featured speaker at the opening lunch September 8 during the 2014 ARTBA National Convention.  He will highlight his training experience, discuss some of the personal losses he faced during war and the lessons learned from them.

Gunnar served in the U.S. Navy from July 1993 to March 2005, when he was honorably discharged.

In May 2007, he was invited to revitalize Valley Baptist Church in Valley Center, California. After much prayer, Gunnar with the support of his wife, Anna, took a leap of faith and decided to take on the mission God had placed before them.

Pastor Gunnar wasted no time getting involved in the community taking advantage of every opportunity to serve. Following his service in the Navy, he earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies and a Master’s of Divinity from Southern California Seminary. He has also completed doctoral work at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is currently writing his first book: “SEAL Pastor—One Man’s Journey Reconciling Faith and Force,” which is scheduled to be completed later this year.

Gunnar and Anna have been married since 2002. They have four children, Grace, Elizabeth, Gideon and Titus.

Register before July 15 and save $150: www.artbanationalconvention.org.