Source: Sherman Publications

Pastor leads St. Stephen’s to more outreach

by Phil Custodio

October 03, 2012

For the Rev. Chad Speller, pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, mission work starts at home.

"There are so many different things we can do to help people," Speller said. "Our doors are open. I want people to know that this is a safe haven."

He grew up in Ypsilanti and worked in management in the automotive industry before deciding to enter the ministry. He chose the Lutheran faith even though he wasn’t raised in it.

"I hadn't gone to church for 10 years," he said. "My wife made me go, and I liked it. God works on you I guess."

He resigned and went back to school in 2007. He earned a master’s degree in theology after three years of academic work and three years apprenticeship in Macomb Township.

"I decided I needed to help people," he said. "At work, my job was to lay people off – I couldn’t be a tyrant anymore. Now I work with people in a good way. It's amazing."

He was installed as pastor last April. Times have been tough for the church, which had to close its school after 42 years of service due to dwindling enrollment and financial burden, he said.

"It's been rough," he said. "But the last couple of months have been amazing. Attendance have been picking up."

They have also started a new Sunday school, Confirmation and Adult Bible classes, and hosted its church picnic on campus for the first time. His plans include more community outreach, local missions, and an expanded Vacation Bible School.

"We want to partner with people to provide meals, a computer lab, a safe place to come to – we have a school building with a gym," he said. "There's so much opportunity, with all the government cuts, for us to fill the vacuum."

He and his wife, Erin, have three children, Jacob, 6, Griffin, 3, and Bennett, 3 months.

For more information, call St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 3795 Sashabaw Road, at 248-673-6621.