John Mitchem, the new pastor at Faith United Methodist Church in Sleepy Eye, is excited about his new opportunity as lead pastor.
Originally from Columbus Ohio, John has served as Director of Student Ministries in Colorado Springs at Calvary United Methodist and also at Park Colorado before moving to Minnesota. He was recently serving at Hastings United Methodist Church in Hastings where he had been for the past eight years. John explained that in the United Methodist faith, pastors serve at the pleasure of the Bishop and are called to serve different churches from time-to-time. He was called to serve here in Sleepy Eye to replace former pastor, Josh Doughty, who moved to Rochester to serve at a church there.
John’s first sermon was July 14.
“I’m a sermon series preacher,” John explained. “Currently we are in a sermon series called, “Stories that changed the world–parables of Jesus.” We will also do sermon series on what it means to be a Christian community and another one on how to be generous givers. I really believe in what I call “theme” preaching.”
John said his duties as pastor are to be the shepherd.
“I believe my job is to have a presence in the community, to preach excellent sermons, care for the members of our church and give those in the community the opportunity to know Jesus,” he added.
John hopes to become involved in community events both personally and as a church body, to open the doors at the church to organizations who are searching for space and to be good neighbors. Also, with his experience in student ministries, John would like to make the church attractive not only for students, but community members to stop by.
In September, John said he plans to bring Minnesota Teen Challenge to United Methodist for a worship experience.
“I want to be actively involved in youth ministry,” John said. “I want to use my passion to empower youth and I hope my passion will seep in.”
John has been in the ministry for 20 years, but said that slowly God moved him to become a pastor. First he was a part-time director of youth ministry and then a full-time director of youth ministry before following the path to become a pastor.
“When you are called to be a pastor, it is a calling from God that He puts on your heart and I just want to be obedient to that call,” John explained. “You have some people who have some great Christian moment on the side of the road. That wasn’t me. It’s been little increments along the way when God has given me the opportunity to follow Him.”
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Worship services are held at 9:30 a.m. during the summer and 10:15 a.m. in the fall. Sunday School begins in the fall at 9 a.m.
John has moved to Sleepy Eye with Phil, his wonder dog, an Australian terrier mix.