Not only have Shane and Kenna Kanneberg followed a strikingly similar life journey, they’ve done it together walking hand in hand.
Shane and Kenna grew up in the same central Wisconsin town, went to the same high school where they started dating, attended college at UW-Green Bay, got connected with Campus Crusade (CRU) on the UWGB campus, began attending Green Bay Community Church and got baptized on the same Sunday just before Christmas in 2017.
The couple, who got married in the summer of 2017, are seemingly inseparable.
“We met in fourth grade at church but didn’t start dating until our senior year in high school,” Kenna said. "I had a crush on Shane in eighth grade. He didn’t start liking me until his junior year in high school.”
Said Shane: “She was dropping me hints and I didn’t pick up on them.” At least not right away, but Shane eventually saw the light.
Shane is a year older than Kenna but spent time in national guard basic training after high school, so they both enrolled at UWGB in the fall of 2015.
Kenna was originally planning to attend UW-Madison and Shane Marquette, but bigger-city life wasn't as appealing as Green Bay.
“I don’t regret going to the same school,” said Kenna. “We wouldn’t be married right now if we went to different schools. It was nice he came with me.”
Both were baptized as infants. Kenna accepted Christ in fifth grade; Shane did so in high school. Both said they didn’t get serious about their faith until college. Getting connected at CRU and GBCC were instrumental in their spiritual growth.
Shane said the worship music at GBCC impacted him most when he first started attending. “Coming here and having a full worship band and more contemporary worship music, I was awestruck at first,” he said. “After getting over that, it was more Pastor Troy’s sermons. They were impactful. I felt like he read a passage and explained it to us. The messages were applicable and showed that the Bible is a document for all ages and all times.”
Kenna remembers her first time at GBCC hearing about how God loves a cheerful giver. “We were told, ‘Do not give money if you feel pressure,’ ” she said. "That seems so authentic. They aren’t telling me to give money. I just liked the honesty. I really respected that.”
Kenna said she was very legalistic before coming to Green Bay. “Two girls from CRU poured into me and really challenged my world view,” Kenna said. “They really pointed out the grace. I was good at the truth part, but the grace I struggled with. There is nothing I can do to make God love me any more. Once they taught me that concept, there was a dramatic shift in my world view. It made me want to get involved as I started growing.”
Getting baptized as adults was the logical next step for both Shane and Kenna, and it was only natural that they would do it during the same Sunday service.
“I told Shane in October I was thinking about going up to get baptized,” recalled Kenna. “He said, ‘I was thinking the exact same thing.’”
So despite feeling pushed beyond their comfort level, they took the plunge on December 17, 2017.
“I felt like I had to go and do it to truly die to myself, to show myself that I was committed to giving over everything,” Shane said. “I felt that was a real step going outside my comfort zone. Showing myself that I need to push the boundaries. If I do I’ll be rewarded, whether growing in my faith or seeing cool things happen in other people’s lives."
Kenna said she needed to get over some initial reservations about baptism. “All of the things I was nervous about didn’t really matter,” she said. "I’m really shy but it didn’t matter. God protected my shy side. It was a happy moment.”
Getting baptized opened doors for her to talk about faith.
“One of my co-workers was there, so we got to talk about that,” Kenna said. “One of my professors was at church. Having a conversation with her was cool. I also talked to the girls in my Bible study. Once I took that step of baptism, God has opened doors of different conversations with people.”
Baptism has spurred the couple to further growth. They went through a Financial Peace University class and got involved in the 20's group at GBCC.
Kenna would recommend baptism for anyone sitting on the fence.
"Jesus calls us to step outside our comfort zone,” she said. "He doesn’t promise for us to be comfortable all the time. Baptism is a simple act of obedience. I’d encourage everybody to do that. You’re not going to grow in your faith until you take risks for Jesus.”
Shane graduated last May from UWGB and works for a teacher's union. One of his dream jobs is to become a city manager. Kenna will graduate this year with a major in Spanish and elementary education and would like to teach at a bilingual school.
Although relatively young and newly married, the couple has gained wisdom beyond their years.
“Don’t put too much stock in your own plans,” Kenna said when asked to share a life lesson. “I’m very much a planner. God lets some of your plans happen but a lot of them He’ll change for the better. It’s good to have dreams but they’re not necessarily plans.”
Shane said trusting wholly in God and not yourself is important. “He’s going to lead you down a tough road sometimes but ultimately it will be for your good and you will see growth through that,” Shane said.
Whatever path God takes them down, they are planning to travel it together.
Kenna said the common refrain that the first year of marriage is the hardest didn't hit them, even though they’ve had to work on communication and other differences.
It has helped them to work with a mentor couple. “If this is the hardest, I’m looking forward to the next couple of years,” Kenna said. “Marriage is fun. We’re in a good season.”
Added Shane: "It’s been really fun and exciting and an enjoyable experience. But it’s not always easy and there have been challenges. Throughout that it’s cool to see how we’ve grown close and matured together."