By the Banks of Cottonwood Creek is work of fiction set in rural North Dakota in 2001. There is always a second chance with God and Kelly Jorgenson, the new young pastor at Cottonwood Creek, is about to find out how that works. Kelly's twin brother died on a California beach when they were teenagers, devastating his family and forcing Kelly, and his brother’s girlfriend, Briana Davis, on a desperate search for the meaning of life. He finds hope when he adopts his brother’s Christian faith.
Now Kelly envisions a peaceful life at Cottonwood Creek. However, he’s soon involved in the daily problems of residents in the small community, including eccentric Kate Schulte and hostile Linda Jackson. His long-distance relationship with Briana suffers. Meanwhile, he’s attracted to a mysterious woman he meets as she plays piano in the empty church.
When the September 11 terrorist attacks trigger flashbacks of his brother’s death, Kelly’s faith is tested. He also realizes he must help his parents finally face their grief. Certain of his call to ministry, he’s sensitive to his youth as he seeks God’s wisdom.