(616) 455-5320

Core beliefs

Bible

St. Mark Lutheran Church believes the Bible is inspired by God, is without error and applies to our lives today.

God

We believe in the triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  God is one.   God consisting of these three persons.  God is omnipresent (present everywhere), omniscient (having complete knowledge of everything), omnipotent (all powerful), and almighty (above everyone else).

Father

The Father is the creator of the universe-heaven and earth. (Genesis 1-2).  He is the sustainer of everything that exists. (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus

Jesus is God’s one and only son.  He is both God and man.  God sent Jesus to pay for our sins through his death on the cross and resurrection (rose bodily) from the grave on Easter morning.  Jesus serves as our advocate before God.  If you believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead, you will have eternal life with God in Heaven.

Holy Spirit

The Father is the creator of the universe-heaven and earth. (Genesis 1-2).  He is the sustainer of everything that exists. (Hebrews 1:3).

Creation

We believe the heavens, the earth, and all they contain, including human kind, were created by God.  He spoke and his words made things come into existence.  Genesis 1-2.

Eternal Life

What happens after your body on earth dies.  We believe all people have eternal life (the soul lives forever).   Eternal life can be spent in Heaven with God or separated from God in Hell.  We believe that our earthly bodies will, like Jesus, rise from the dead on judgment day.  On that day, our soul will be reunited with our earthly body.

Salvation

In order to go to Heaven after you die you simply have to believe Jesus died so you could be forgiven for your sins.  We do not believe you have to be perfect (no one but Jesus is) or live a good life or do all the right things to go to Heaven.  If you believe that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for you, then you will go to Heaven when you die.

Confession

There are two parts to confession.  First, Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, those we know and feel in our heart and those we are not aware we have committed.  Examine your life according to the Ten Commandments.   Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy?  Have you been hot-tempered, rude or quarrelsome?  Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds?  Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything or done any harm?

The second part of confession is to receive forgiveness from God, as announced by the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting but firmly believing our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.

Prayer

In order to go to Heaven after you die you simply have to believe Jesus died so you could be forgiven for your sins.  We do not believe you have to be perfect (no one but Jesus is) or live a good life or do all the right things to go to Heaven.  If you believe that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for you, then you will go to Heaven when you die.

Baptism

We believe what the Bible teaches.  Those who are baptized are new people who live for the Lord Jesus.  Their sins are washed away in the water and God sees baptized people as his beautiful sons and daughters.  If you desire baptism, we would love to see you receive it.

Romans 6:1-14

Communion

Every other Sunday our congregation comes together in front of the church to have a meal together.  This meal was begun by Jesus himself to point us to his death and its meaning.  At the same time he promised to be with those who trust in him in a special physical way (we say, “in His body and blood”).  Finally, he gives us the promise of forgiveness as we place our trust in him.  If you share this understanding, you are welcome to participate.  If you’re not sure, come forward with your arms crossed over your heart to receive his blessing until you understand more about this gift.

Matthew 26:26-28 1 Corinthians 11

Confirmation

Confirmation is our way of responding to God’s incredible love, given to us through Jesus, and sealed to us in our Baptism.  We encourage one another to make a personal and public confession of faith in God and a lifelong promise of faithfulness to Christ.  Once you have been baptized we encourage you to study God’s Word with us.  When you are ready, and have understood a more complete view of your faith, we would love to witness your confirmation.

Matthew  10:32-33, Revelation 2:10

Marriage

From the beginning of life, God created marriage as a gift to a man and woman for companionship, mutual care, the rearing of children, and for the gift of sharing love physically and spiritually.  That promise that married people make to each other is a picture of the same type of forever promise God gives to us in Jesus.  It is sacred, holy, never to be broken.  It is defended, cherished, and nourished by his church on earth.   God’s intention for family is founded in his design in marriage.  If you’re thinking about getting married, we would be honored to share God’s will for you in your promise making to one another.

Genesis 2:24-25, Mark 10:6-9

Death

It is popular to think of death as something that is “natural.” God did not create human beings to die, but to live—to live forever and enjoy Him forever.  Death is not ordinary or natural, but is the result of the sinful disobedience of our first parents (Adam and Eve).  We have inherited that same curse and because of our own sin we too will die.  But believers in Jesus have another promise.  Those who die trusting in Jesus will live just like he does.  He died a horrible death.  He lay dead in a grave for three days.  On that first Easter Sunday, his body was alive again.  We have that same gift, and we can celebrate that promise at the death of any believer in Him.

John 10: 24-28, Eph. 1:3-6

Our Mission

ONE BODY.

SEEKING CHRIST.

TEACHING HIS WORD.

SHARING HIS LOVE.

Our Vision

Succeeding in our mission, we believe…

That all of God’s children, young and old, would be baptized into faith through God’s Grace alone, taught the Word of God, and brought together in the Peace of Christ; and that we, as members of Saint Mark Lutheran Church, would live this Peace in our words and actions, giving our time, talents, and treasures, and taking an active role in our ministries, missions, education, and outreach, for service to His kingdom locally and throughout the world.

Values

Preamble

We are a Biblically-based congregation that maintains the doctrine and creeds of the Lutheran Church and believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God.

Worship

Together we affirm diverse worship styles, yet we are united in worship, in which the following are central:

  • The grace of God in Jesus Christ
  • The transforming power of the Holy Spirit
  • The Word of God
  • The Sacraments, and prayer

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”

Hebrews 13:15

Family Ministry

We are a congregation that supports countless ministry opportunities that bring all ages (children, youth, adult, senior) and all walks of life (singles, couples, families) into a personal, growing relationship with Jesus  through nurturing, teaching, modeling, mentoring and parental involvement.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Ephesians 4:11-13

Education

We recognize that all of us are children of God, and whether young or old, we need to be nurtured in faith, we need to grow in knowledge and experience, and to be empowered to live as disciples of Christ.  We will teach God’s Word in every ministry, Bible study, Sunday school class, small group and in our preschool.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

ASSIMILATION

We as a congregation will encourage every person to attend worship regularly, to grow in the word of the Lord through frequent Bible study, to identify and use their spiritual gifts, and to assist in the spreading of the Good News, thereby, becoming an active member of the church body.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

OUTREACH, MISSIONS, & EVANGELISM

We will make disciples of all nations, sharing Christ with all who enter our doors, and delivering His message to our community, our country, and the world, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, all people would come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and be saved.

“He said to them Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Mark 16:15

STEWARDSHIP

We will encourage cheerful, first-fruit living and giving of our time, talents, and treasures; taking seriously our responsibility to contribute to the life of the church both in serving and giving; and we will commit to the proper management of all of our God-given resources for His purposes.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:10

Meet our Staff

Michael Wentzel

Michael Wentzel

Senior Pastor

mwentzel@saintmarkgr.org

Pastor Wentzel has been the Senior Pastor at Saint Mark since fall 2014.  Prior to coming to Saint Mark, he served as the Associate Pastor for St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Ann Arbor, MI.  He  began his career as a bookkeeper and systems analyst for a trust bank prior to attending St. Louis Theological Seminary.

"The things that bring me joy include Baptism, Sunday mornings, seeing prayers answered, and especially caring for people. I’m passionate about listening to God’s Word, gathering the flock, and having joyous praise! I have a lot of energy to give to work in community outreach, and as such, I believe I am called to equip our congregation to care and share their faith with people they interact with on a daily basis.  I believe the purpose of the church has three prongs: first, to train up disciples to tell others about God; second, to go tell others about God; and, third, to go care for others. Saint Mark's Mission Statement is in synchrony with my belief and gives us the vision AND direction of how to progress toward being a strong, welcoming, and unified church!"

Jamie Knopf

Jamie Knopf

Director of Family Life Ministry

jknopf@saintmarkgr.org

I have been serving Saint Mark as Director of Family Life Ministry since June 2017. Previously, I served nearly eight years at Good Shepherd in Pittsburgh, PA, and one year as an intern at St. Paul in Royal Oak, MI. I graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, in 2008 with a degree in Family Life Ministry. Right away I decided to further my education in the same area with a master's degree through Concordia Seward and graduated in 2013. I’m native to the greater Grand Rapids area, growing up in Ionia where my family still lives, and so I’m happy to be back in Michigan.

With my parents spending over twenty years as foster parents to teenagers, there has always been a passion in my heart for young people and their families. I see potential in the next generation to rise up and be a generation that changes the world. And I believe that the only way they are going to do that is if we support, encourage, and share what God has done in our lives with them. That means building relationships with people across the lifespan throughout our congregation to support one another as we raise up the next generation of faithful Christ followers.  That is my prayer and hope for Saint Mark and for the community outside of our church walls.

Chris Rubino

Chris Rubino

SMP Pastor

crubino50@gmail.com

I began my pastoral ministry in August 2018.  My responsibilities focus in large part on shut-ins, hospital visits and hospice care.  My overall responsibilities include doing periodic sermons, and organizing worship services and prayer programs. In summary, my role as SMP Pastor requires flexibility to serve wherever and whenever needed. I find joy in my ministry at Saint Mark working with my christian family of Senior Citizens, through home and hospital visits that gives me the opportunity to remind them that Jesus is still with them and will be there for them until He takes them to their heavenly home.  The joy is seeing them smile as they are reminded of the hope that they have in the promise of eternal life.  I also treasure the hugs I receive from them as a form of their expression of love for me in sharing God’s Word with them.

I served Saint Mark from April 2011 as a Licensed Deacon prior to being Ordained and Called as an SMP Pastor (Specific Ministry Pastor). I spent my career working in sales for the Postal Service, retiring in 2010.  

Obe Vandertol

Obe Vandertol

Music Director

obandpen@att.net

I started playing for a contemporary service at Saint Mark in 1994. In 1996, I also became the accompanist for the choir and eventually took over the organ. In 2000, I officially became the Saint Mark Music Director and now play the organ for early services, praise team in the late services, and direct the choir and handbells.

I've been a music teacher for my entire career.  I worked full-time as a music teacher with the Grand Rapids Public School until 2010.  I am still teaching part-time at West Michigan Lutheran.  I graduated from Western Michigan University with a Major in Music Education (BM). In my first semester of teaching, I was drafted during the Vietnam War. I spent two years in Washington, D.C., as a clerk typist and was fortunate to never have to go to the war zone.  After the service, I came back to Grand Rapids to pick up where I left off.  I received my master's in 1979. My main passion has always been teaching.  I still count many of my former students as friends.  It always warms my heart when I hear comments (on Facebook of course!) about how I touched their lives.

History

1966

Saint Mark Lutheran Church had its beginning as a mission effort in a canvas of twenty-five hundred homes by its first pastor, the Rev. Wayne Pohl. The story is told that Pastor Pohl wore out a pair of shoes visiting homes around the church inviting our neighbors to join us in worshiping and serving God in Kentwood. The first service was held at Bowen School, in Kentwood, on October 16, 1966, with 117 people in attendance.

1968

Land in Princeton Estates was purchased, and in April of 1968, we dedicated our first sanctuary.

1970

Within two years, we constructed the educational wing and began our Christian Preschool.

1986

In 1986, we broke ground on our current sanctuary.

2016

In the fall of 2016, we celebrated our 50th anniversary with our current Pastor, Rev. Michael Wentzel!

We look forward to God leading us in our mission for the next fifty years.