Another page was added to the 159-year history of this month with the retirement of longtime and the appointment of Associate Pastor Greg Griffith in his place.
Lutz, who has served as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran for 28 years, will remain involved with the church, but in a primarily advisory role. It is Griffith who will lead the Macomb Township institution into its next chapter.
Inspired to ministry through his childhood pastor Rev. Wade Meyer, Griffith, 35, came to Immanuel in 2004. He met his wife, Laurie, through the church shortly after and is now the proud father of 5-year-old Macey and 4-month-old Tessa.
A sports fan, Griffith coaches basketball and enjoys running in his spare time. As Immanuel's new senior pastor, he said he hopes to "focus on being a community of faith" and continuing partnerships with other organizations to serve the needs of township residents.
In an effort to expand Patch's coverage of the local faith community and learn more about the new faith leader of one of the township’s largest congregations, Patch reached out to Griffith to talk about his new job as senior pastor, Immanuel Lutheran’s role in the local community and his thoughts on faith at home and abroad.
Macomb Patch: How will you carry on Pastor Mike's work at Immanuel? What do you hope to pursue on your own behalf?
Griffith: Pastor Mike has built a foundation of love and concern for the community around us who do not yet know Jesus! I will carry that mission on through our mission statement, “To Know Christ is to Share His Love,” and continue to do anything short of sin to reach out to the lost in our community.
I am excited to pursue the next steps here at Immanuel as we focus on being a community of faith that is invaluable to the community of Macomb, Michigan, and the World. I pray that community events like are just the beginning of our partnership with other Christian communities of faith making a difference in the lives of those who live, work, and serve around us.
Macomb Patch: What do you hope your congregation takes from your leadership?
Griffith: Humility in the awesome privilege it is to serve God together and that we don’t do anything for numbers here, rather for numbers in the Kingdom of God. Also that we as the church need to continually remind ourselves that God has given us the great responsibility of caring for the poor, oppressed, widowed, and needy! We must make this our priority as the church here on earth.
Macomb Patch: What do you believe is the greatest problem or issue affecting our world today?
Griffith: I believe the greatest problem/issue affecting our world today is the problem of sin. We continue to mess up the order of our care and compassion, as we as humans struggle with our nature that wants to put our own needs or desires first. As God’s people we have been transformed to place ourselves third. God first, Others Second, ourselves third. If we all would do this in the daily living as Christians, the world would be an entirely different place!
Macomb Patch: How would you finish this sentence, "By the time I retire as a pastor, I hope to have ..."
Griffith: Shared the Love of Christ faithfully with those whom God has placed before me.
Macomb Patch: What is your favorite faith-based story or quote?
Griffith: I have two, one is biblical from Galatians 1:10 which reminds me to always remain focused on my service, “Am I now trying to win approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” And the other quote that I love is from D.L. Moody which is, “If we believe we have a big God, then we need to make big plans.”
Macomb Patch: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
Griffith: It comes from the former California-Nevada-Hawaii district (LC-MS) president Rev. Orval M. Oswald (1977-1991) who said to me once about preaching that if you ever stop getting nervous you have lost your edge. It helps remind me that as I still get nervous before preaching that it is the edge that God continues to give me.
Macomb Patch: How would you describe Pastor Mike and his influence on you?
Griffith: I am blessed beyond belief to have had the honor and privilege of working with Pastor Mike for the past eight years. He has taught me humility and love in all situations! Pastor Mike is one of the greatest servant leaders in the LC-MS church and leaves a legacy as one of the greatest pastors in the history of Immanuel. I am honored not only to have the ability to say that I worked with him, but also to say that he and his wife Liz are dear friends! Laurie and I have said repeatedly how blessed we are to have Pastor Mike and Liz in our lives as mentors and friends.
Lutz will still be a familiar face at Immanuel Lutheran, but now plans to spend even more time with family and pursuing his favorite pastime: travel.