From Pastor Mike

Written by Wesley UMC

On Aug 3, 2021
Dear friends,
Thank you for the warm welcome I have received since my wife and I have arrived. We are new to this part of Wisconsin and have enjoyed hearing tips of things to see and do. We have been busy with unpacking and getting settled into our new community. It will be nice when our things aren’t in boxes anymore.

During the service on my first Sunday here, I promised some biography information for the newsletter and so here it is. I was born in Milwaukee but grew up primarily in West Bend (just northwest of Milwaukee). West Bend was a small city at that time, and it was a good place to grow up. I entered school for electronics after high school and took a job in computers with Cray Research, Inc. I married my high school sweetheart and we had three children. They of course are grown now with one being married and the mother of four of her own children. While I worked for Cray, I lived in New Mexico, Germany, and then back in Wisconsin. It was a good company to work for and we had good adventures while I was there.

As I mentioned on Sunday, during those years God was working in my heart to guide me toward full-time ministry. This began when I was a young man, but I resisted it. It would be quite a break from what I was doing and would change life for my family also. I instead poured myself into lay ministry and worked on several committees in our small church. I became a lay speaker and took turns filling in for our pastor when he was gone. At one point, our pastor was moved in the fall and we were not to get a new one until the next summer. I and a few others took care of the business and preaching for all of that time. A nearby pastor helped with sacraments, funerals, etc. I decided to start out part-time. I thought I could satisfy God and keep my career in computers at the same time. I would be bi-vocational. After a couple of years it was clear to me that full-time ministry is where I needed to be. It was a long process of discernment before we made the decision for full-time ministry but we took the plunge. I left my career and we moved to our first church.
My first marriage unfortunately did not survive the transition and some unique challenges we faced. After our divorce I married another wonderful woman, Lisa. She had five children which also now are all grown. Together we have eight children and eleven grandchildren. Lisa has since also felt the call to ministry. Lisa is now a full-time pastor and serves the Tomahawk and Spirit churches. We reside in both parsonages and share time between them depending on our schedules.

Lisa and I enjoy camping, fishing, and riding on my motorcycle. We do a lot of family visits during vacation since most of our children live in different places including different states. I play guitar and enjoy leading praise singing. I love children and youth and the energy that they bring.
I have a passion for evangelism and church revitalization. I feel that I am an encourager and one who empowers people to do ministry themselves. I am a good listener, and I am able to receive people for who they are. I believe in relationship development; people developing relationships within the church, the church developing relationships with those in the community, and each of us developing a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Wausau and, in fact, this part of Wisconsin is new to us so it will be an adventure as we discover new places and meet new people. The United Methodism system for clergy is one of itineracy. Like all systems it has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is a chance for clergy to get to know new people and communities and to encounter new challenges. The advantage for congregations is the chance to experience different styles, gifts, and ideas. I look forward to learning about Wesley’s traditions and ministry as we work together to grow our ministry and mission of the church of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Mike

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