Q and A: A return to the ministry
Mike Lee isn't new to The River Church, but for the past month or so he's had a new job. Lee, a Farmington resident, took over Sept. 1 as pastor at the downtown church he has attended since 2004, and where he and his wife have been associate pastors since 2006.
We sat down with him Monday to talk about his new role, chili carts and how to get men to come to church.
How have things been going?
Really well. I'm excited.
How did you come to attend the church?
We were just looking for something that was really original and fresh and new. Just something that's different.
What was it that you found different about the River Church that appealed to you?
A lot of churches, you put on a show kind of. (At the River) it's just being real about what you go through in life.
When you started, was being in the ministry yourself something you had been interested in. Is it something you had anything experience with? Or is it just something that kind of developed?
I went to school to be a minister. I graduated in 1998. Then we were youth pastors in south Minneapolis dealing with inner city kids. For seven years we were there in Minneapolis. Then we moved down here and raised our family. We eventually wanted to get back into it.
What is it about the ministry that appealed to you back then?
I just really want to help people and I really want people to find the truth in life. But really I just wanted to serve people and just show them the love of Jesus.
Why did you get away from the ministerial side of things in between moving back here and now?
I started my own business, My Three Sons Window Cleaning, that we started seven years ago February. And we just raised our boys.
Was it just a matter of having the time to raise your kids that drew you away from the ministry?
I had to get away from it because I was just burned out and ministry was more a priority than my family. So I had to take a step back.
Switch that around a little bit.
Yeah. Get priorities right.
What was it about the situation now that made you think it's time to go back and get into it a little more?
Our kids are getting older, so they're in school. And my business allowed me to have more time. I can manage it now rather than having to clean all the windows. That allows more time.
You said you've been enjoying it since taking over as the guy in charge.
What's the transition been like? Has it been a big change going from the role you had before to what you're in now?
It's been a big change for me, but the change as far as leadership of the church has gone really well. The church has been really behind it and we just want to serve our community and just show the love of Jesus.
How do you do that?
This week, (Tuesday) night we're doing a chili cart for all of the elementary and middle schools for the teachers. During the conferences they don't have a chance to get food, so we're going to have chili carts at all the schools and just serve them. We're doing that with Middle Creek, the Vineyard Church, and New Heights. We want to try to work together with other churches and not just do our own thing.
Do you see yourself keeping things the way they've been? Do you see many changes?
A lot of it's been the same. We really want to gear our church to reaching men because a lot of time men don't want to go to church. They want to go hunting or fishing. Those kind of things. We want to do things that gear toward men.
How do you do that?
I think you shorten the services up a little bit. Sometimes the services tend to get a bit long.
Get them out by football time?
We already do that, but yeah. Get them out in time for football. Also just doing events that men would want to do and do those things together too.