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New pastor at OUMC

'There is ministry to be done, not just worship time Sunday morning'

July 10, 2013 - At one point in time, recounts Dave Pratt, there was a Methodist church in every township in Michigan.

The 67-year-old new pastor of the Ortonville United Methodist Church, grew up on a dairy farm in Alma and noted that "back then" a lot of farm families came to a church.

"Today, you have one farmer farming 10,000 acres," he said. "There are not the people to draw from, working in agriculture, that there used to be. Unlike churches that focused on planning churches in cities or villages, versus out in the middle of a cornfield, you have a people base to draw from."

Pratt notes that many churches have closed or consolidated, as it is not economically feasible to keep the doors open, the lights on, and the heat going, with nomoney for the mission work and outreach that is so essential to the functions of a church.

"There is ministry to be done, not just worship time Sunday morning," said Pratt.

At OUMC, Pratt began leading the congregation of about 100 in doing both this month.

Previously, he was the full-time pastor at Heritage United Methodist Church in the town of Snover, between Marlette and Sandusky, for 10 years. Prior to that, his first ministry position was at Clifford United Methodist Church, located 5 miles west of Marlette, for seven years.

Before entering ministry, Pratt was a certified financial planner for 28 years. He has a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in communications and a master's degree in guidance counseling from Central Michigan University. His CFP designation is from the College of Financial Planning in Denver.

"For a lot of years, God worked on me, brought me back to the church and put a yearning in my heart for more," he said. "Like with any position, there are real joys, real highs and at times, real lows. It's part of being in ministry. I've spent a lot of time in the middle ground, doing what needs to be done and helping people walk their faith journey."

Pratt completed a course of study seven years ago at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University.

"I am hoping to work with leadership here to continue the good work that is already going on, and support and encourage it," he said. "The church is the people and getting the people to be about doing God's work… Our small congregation of around 100 people has been in existence for 135 years. One- on-one is how Jesus got his disciples. This is the way the church grows. It's about the people and about the family of God and loving God's people and those who are not family yet, to love them and draw them in."

Pratt has been married to Lonnie for 25 years. They have six children and five grandchildren.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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