by Jennifer Svetlik, Salford congregation
“Too much time is spent in congregations desiring particular gifts or people to do certain tasks,” reflects Mike Clemmer, a Leadership Minister for Eastern District and Franconia Conference. “I truly believe that God has supplied each congregation with all the gifts they need, we just need to identify them.”
Mike has served with the conference for nearly five years and is the Leadership Minister for Franconia (Telford, PA) and Swamp (Quakertown, PA) congregations. He has also chaired the credentialing committee and served on the ministerial committee for six years.
“There was a point when I heard undertones of frustration with the conference among some people and decided it was time to get more involved in the work of the conference, to be part of the solution, rather than just focusing on the problems,” Mike says. “It was around that time that I was asked if I would be a Leadership Minister for Franconia Conference.”
As a Leadership Minister, Mike may take a phone call from a pastor or board chair who wants to bounce an idea off of him or seek another perspective. Recently with the Swamp congregation, Mike enjoyed being part of the planning process with the pastors as they organized a day retreat for their leadership team. Mike also welcomes being a part of pastoral search processes and appreciates getting to know more people within the congregation and seeing how God works through the groups coming together.
Mike is excited in his work when he sees the diversity of church members working together, from business people, to farmers, to stay-at-home parents, to professionals. “I’m a people-person,” says Mike. “I’m encouraged by the passion found in both lay leaders and pastors, and how they can all work together in a congregation, even if they don’t always agree on everything.”
Mike isn’t comfortable with just the inward workings of a church, however, and encourages churches to move beyond themselves. “I’m passionate about encouraging churches to look outward into the community and see where God is working,” comments Mike. “Churches want to be connected to the community, but often need guidance about how to plug in.”
Mike welcomes opportunities to meet with pastors and encourage them. “We can forget that pastors are people with feelings and personal lives,” Mike explains. “Sometimes my job is to remind the board or lay leaders that pastors also have struggles and need to take breaks.”
Mike grew up in the Souderton (PA) congregation and was a member there until he felt a call to seminary at age 42. For 21 years, prior to seminary, he worked for Moyer & Son. From 2005-19, Mike served as pastor of Towamencin Mennonite Church (Kulpsville, PA). “At the time I started working for the conference, there was no one else on staff that had been born and raised in the conference,” Mike says. “Sometimes people want to hear about where we’ve been in order to better understand where we are.”
Mike recently moved to Strasburg, PA and is now the lead pastor at Maple Grove Mennonite Church (Atglen, PA). As grandparents, Mike and his wife April relish living closer to their three grandchildren to see them on a more regular basis.
When he isn’t working, Mike loves to run; he once ran in the Boston Marathon. He appreciates sports at all levels, even going to high school games when he doesn’t know any players. He also enjoys raising dahlia flowers.