Pastor Mike, his wife Katie, and their four children arrived on January 23, 2017. They serve with an organization known as Village Missions which exists to glorify Jesus Christ by developing spiritually vital country churches in rural North America. Village Missions does this by placing pastors in small town and rural churches that might otherwise have to close, and in doing so, preserve the Gospel presence in over 220 communities across the United States and Canada. 
Galloway Twp. used to be more rural, but today it is primarily a bedroom community for Atlantic City. The primary work in the area is in the casino industry, or related jobs. It has put us in contact with a whole different group of people who need the Lord. Because the work schedules in the casinos are so demanding it is very difficult for people to come to church. In spite of that, God is blessing. He is gathering people from all walks of life, and ethnic, cultural backgrounds to himself. 

Katie and I met during our biblical studies at Davis College in Upstate New York. After graduating in 2006, we returned to my home town in Columbia, Maryland, where we worked in various churches in the area. If you’ve ever lived in the Baltimore/DC area you know the pace of life is extremely fast. During those 4 years, the combination of the fast-paced metropolitan culture, raising 2 children (at the time), and enduring multiple heart wrenching challenges within the ministry, family, and friendships-it became clear that we needed to slow things down and focus on our family and healing.

We then moved back to upstate New York where the pace of life was slower, and we could be closer to Katie’s family. We continued to serve in ministry but not in a full-time occupational capacity. I then began working at Hillside Children’s Center (A residential treatment center for traumatized and at risk youth). Initially I was discouraged and frustrated that I wasn’t “a pastor” or “in ministry”, but the Lord quickly showed me that I must be faithful with little before I can be entrusted with more, and a disciple of Jesus ministers wherever he is placed. Looking back, I realize those 6 years were a much-needed time of personal character development as a husband, father, Christ follower, and aspiring pastor. During that time, I also had the privilege of serving alongside my father-in-law, a Village Missionary Pastor; however, our season of character development wasn’t over. As a village-missionary kid, Katie was familiar with all the details of ministry life and wanted nothing to do with being a pastor’s wife, and I was still deluded in a dream of pastoral ministry that could only include: being in a church with multiple pastor’s; several lay-leaders and multimedia resources at my disposal; and at least 150+ people in the congregation ready to jump into vibrant church life in ministry together. But as I watched my father-in law serve faithfully in a small congregation with minimal resources I learned as the Down Here song goes, “A little is much when God’s in it”! I learned what it means to be a humble (although I’m probably still not that humble), faithful servant. I grew to dearly love everyone in that little rural church & community. It was through my father-in laws faithfulness, that I understand the heart of God- to cultivate in me a burning desire to be used to see people everywhere come to know and love Christ, and to serve him faithfully.

Our journey to Highland was such a demonstration of God’s sovereignty. Before Katie and I seriously considered joining Village Missions the former district representative informed us that he thought Pastor Tom would be retiring within a year or two, and fervently tried to convince us that we would be a great fit at Highland. We did some website reconnaissance of the church and community, and we were excited about what God had done here and the possibilities of what he might do in the future. A year went by before we joined Village Missions in April of 2016. We prayed that we would be assigned to Highland, but Pastor Tom had not decided to retire at the time, and there were already so many other fields in need of a pastor. It appeared that there were too many obstacles and delays in the process for us to be placed here, but God moved in the hearts of the Village Missions leadership, our ministry partners, and His people at Highland perfectly- and so here we are. We look forward to being apart of what God will do in Highland Community Church!

Fun Facts:

Ministry Passion: My ministry passion is Ephesians 4:12 “to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry, for building up of the body of Christ.” – to be used by God to help his people discover and follow his calling upon their lives. 
Hobbies: Cooking, Hunting, Fishing, Soccer, Extreme Sports

Favorite Foods: Surf & Turf

Favorite Color: Purple

Ministry Passion: Music, Recovery

Hobbies: Reading, Hiking, Writing & Music

Favorite Food: Cheesecake

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Places Traveled: Colorado, Czech-Republic, Jamaica