“So what’s my story?”
I have been blessed to serve at LeRoy Covenant since July 2013. I am a lifelong resident of Michigan, having lived in the Metro Detroit area for most of my life. I love coffee, reading (everything from theology and history to comic books), and good conversation. Growing up my family was not very active in a church. In high School and early college, I became quite interested in “spiritual” things… as long as they weren’t Christian! A large part of the reason was that I was turned off from Christianity because of my experience with Christians who were both pushy with their faith while not living it out (doesn’t everyone find that annoying?). Looking back, I had a real sense of God calling me, yet I didn’t know who that God was. A church figure from the 4th-5th century, Augustine, wrote: “God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him.” This sums up my experience! In college through the friendship of Christians, I came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I saw people living their faith out and inviting me to friendship with them. They listened to me, answered my questions, and pointed me to a book that answered many of my “objections” to Christianity. I realized that many of my objections boiled down to not wanting to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior because it meant he had a claim on my life.
I graduated from University of Detroit Mercy with a degree in psychology and also went to seminary at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. While going to seminary (and shortly after) I worked as a chaplain in several settings: an assisted living program for people with brain injuries, at a hospital in inner city Detroit and in hospice. Even now, I still spend a few hours a week as chaplain at Cadillac Casting, Inc. through Work Place Chaplains ministry.
I am married to Emily Slimak and we have two daughters, Easter (like the holiday) and Aurea (pronounced Ah-Ray-ah) whom we currently homeschool. My family is proof to me that God has blessed me far more than I deserve.
“What brought me to LeRoy Covenant Church?”
Shortly after becoming a Christian, I felt called into ministry. I then served as a chaplain for several years, but didn’t feel like God was using me fully. I felt the call to help shape and lead Christian community through more regular preaching and teaching. Part of how God drew my family to LeRoy Covenant specifically is that it truly is a family church. We take the discipleship of all generations seriously here. I came to faith at a church where children were largely involved in worship and I believe this is essential for the discipleship of not just our children, but everyone. The first time I came to LeRoy Covenant to worship and preach, I immediately felt at home because we started off Sunday School by worshipping with our children (as we still do). At LeRoy Covenant we believe and emphasize that children are really part of our community and God wants them to participate and grow. Our children have so much to teach us about God!
“What is my vision for church?”
I take teaching the Bible, preaching and spreading the gospel seriously; it’s a tremendous blessing and challenge to live this out. I believe a church should be the active presence of Christ in its community, so you may have seen me volunteering at Pine River Area Schools, coaching soccer, or playing donkey basketball. I also believe church is meant to be a place where people can come and be accepted just as they are, while still being challenged to grow in their faith. I believe the best way for people to get to know Jesus Christ is through friendship with Christians who are living their faith and I strive to lead our community in that vision. Know that you are invited to our church and there are friends already waiting for you here!