Mukwonago Baptist Church is a Bible-believing, fundamental, independent Baptist Church where you and your family can learn practical Bible truths in an atmosphere that is welcoming, friendly, and warm but also serious, reverent, and worshipful. Mukwonago Baptist takes seriously its obligation to disciple all age groups. In Sunday School, everyone—from infants to high school students to adults—learns the Bible. Young people learn what it means to walk with the Lord, and parents receive continuous help and teaching that is so desperately needed to rear families in these trying and changing times..
It has been a privilege to be a part of the Lord’s work over these past 30 years. There is nothing more exciting and satisfying in life than to see the Lord work—saving souls and changing lives, sending forth missionaries into foreign lands, calling forth young people into the Lord’s work, and miraculously providing year after year.
I came to the Lord at the age of eighteen during my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin Engineering School. Immediately the Lord gave me a desire to serve Him, telling others about the truth that they could know that their sins could be forgiven. There was no question then as to the purpose in life—to serve the Lord and seek to influence others for Christ.
The Lord called me into full-time service soon after surrendering my life to the Lord during a missions conference. Miraculously the Lord led me out of neo-evangelicalism and to Maranatha Baptist Bible College (MBBC) and then to San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary. It was during the first few weeks at MBBC in preacher boys’ class that the Lord used the teaching of Dr. Cedarholm on the local church to put on my heart the need for more local churches in Wisconsin. I had this burden in the back of my mind for a number of years until it was time to decide what to do after seminary. I was open to pastoring, missions, youth work—whatever the Lord wanted—but He kept leading us to church planting in Wisconsin.
As I think of the thirty years of Mukwonago Baptist Church history, I want to say, “Only God could have done it, and only God can start and sustain an independent, fundamental, separatist, Baptist, and Bible-believing and practicing church.” A person does not just decide to start a church and then watch it happen. The Lord said, “I will build My church,” and that is what He has been doing. I think of the great miracles that occurred in the early days—the saving of souls (some of whom would eventually go into the Lord’s work themselves), the purchasing of land and the provision of meeting places, the remodeling of the farmhouse, and the constructing of the first building. Only God could have done it.
Certainly much work was completed through the years. God raised up a people who loved to serve—who spent many hours of labor on building projects, grounds maintenance, outreach, and service in the church–people who were willing to do whatever it took to accomplish the Lord’s work and to make it succeed. Even then it was successful only through God’s miraculous grace, and illustrated the truth that “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).
The strength and grace of God are truly real. Without His grace we would have no ability to continue through the difficult times. However, His wisdom, guidance, and protection—even in our human failures—have been marvelous.
God certainly is sovereign and is working in lives even before we know He is working. I marvel at how God used all the experiences and venues of training in my life—carpentry, drywalling, masonry, road building, drafting, landscaping, gardening, and farming—to prepare me and equip me for the task: all these abilities were used here in the Lord’s work.
I am thankful for the theological training from Maranatha Baptist Bible College and San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary, where the professors and administrations led me in the ways of the Lord., I am likewise grateful for my pastors through the years.
I am thankful for the different people God brought along the way to help us, encourage us, and instruct us such as Dr. Grant Rice; Dr. Wayne VanGelderen, Sr.; Dr. Charlie Hatchett; Dr. John Goetsch; Dr. Charles Sanders; Evangelist Gary Gilmore; and many others.
I am thankful for faithful people who, throughout the years, have been able to put up with my human failures and, in spite of these, learn and secure the spiritual truths found in God’s Word that they might become faithful Christians, have their families blessed, and see their children enter full-time Christian work.
It has been a great privilege to be part of God’s work and to see Him at work! There is nothing more thrilling in life than to observe what God does—from saving souls to providing for many needs. The spiritual lessons I have learned are many! Some significant ones that stand out include the following:
1) God’s blessing is the key—He can do in a heart in a moment what it would take a lifetime to humanly accomplish.
2) Faith is essential and involves risk. If we are not willing to risk our comfort and time, we don’t have faith.
3) God’s will always leads to higher ground—greater commitment, sacrifice, and humility.
4) Life is spiritual warfare and must be looked at from such a vantage point. When we are tempted to quit or to become discouraged, it is time to trust God anew, for there is most likely a victory around the corner that Satan does not want us to have.
5) The Lord’s will requires “whatever it takes.” Those who limit their availability and use of talent limit God in using their ministry in the lives of others.
6) Like the lives of people, a church’s life also is built in years. (We thought a church should start in a few years, but we realized that it really takes about twenty to twenty-five years to truly establish a church.)
7) As the New Testament church was “simple” in its ministry efforts, so must the ministry of the local church be—it must have these major priorities: Bible study and preaching, prayer, witnessing, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Almost every step forward has been a step into the unknown—a walk by faith.
God still wants to accomplish many things in this ministry, and only He can bring each one to pass. In the meantime, we must continually press on, seeking the most important things in life—daily walking with God, keeping Him first, and serving Him with all our hearts.
Assistant Pastor and School Principle
I thank the Lord for the opportunity He has given me and my family to be a part of Mukwonago Baptist Church. For me, attending Mukwonago Baptist as a child was not optional. Being a son of the pastor meant that I was going to be in church. When I was younger, the church met at our house. My bedroom was the nursery; my sisters’ bedroom was the junior church room; and our living room and dining room were the auditorium. The ministry was literally a central part of my life from a very young age.
Because I was in a good Christian home, I was taught the meaning of salvation from a young age. When I was four, I remember thinking about my eternal destiny. I asked my mom about it, and she proceeded to show me from God’s Word the plan of salvation. That night I realized that Christ had died for my sin, and in faith I turned to Him as my Savior. A few years after my salvation, I responded to the call of God upon my life to be a pastor when Dr. Cedarholm from Maranatha Baptist Bible College was preaching in our church. It was shortly after that that I publicly identified with Christ through believer’s baptism and officially joined Mukwonago Baptist Church.
I am thankful for the ministry involvement that I had in the church from a young age. I believe the Lord used helping in the bus ministry, going soul winning, helping at work days, and participating in various other opportunities to mold my life in preparation for ministry. Being able to have missionaries, evangelists, pastors, and other Christian workers in our home throughout my youth was also a great experience. Being around people like the Simonsens and Knieses who were giving their lives to serve the Lord was also a positive impact upon my life. In high school I began preaching in junior church and also began helping out in the nursing home ministry. When the man that was our assistant pastor left for the mission field, a door opened for me to be able to help head up King’s Kids and teen soul winning. I also had opportunities to preach in church occasionally when my Dad was sick. After I finished college ,the Lord allowed me to get ministry experience in Nova Scotia for about six months; then I returned to Mukwonago. It was that year, 2002, that I came on staff at Mukwonago Baptist Church—a somewhat natural order of events. I had previously been serving in various capacities, so coming on staff meant I now got paid for what I was doing.
In 2002 the Lord also led me to my wife, Melody. I am so thankful for a godly wife and the great impact she has upon the ministry to which the Lord has called me. God has been so good in giving us three children (and one on the way) to raise for His service. I greatly appreciate the leadership that the Lord has enabled my Dad to give in leading this church to remain true to God’s Word even in difficult circumstances. My father’s example of faithfulness has been a challenge to me, and I count it a privilege to be able to serve with my family in the place that the Lord has used to help shape my life for His service.