Grace Community Fellowship, Hillsboro, welcomed a new lead pastor in late May.
Mike Barter, originally from St. Charles, Mo., comes to Grace after serving as lead pastor at First Baptist Church in Vandalia, Mo., for four years. Prior to that, Barter spent more than 12 years as a firefighter and EMT for Central County Fire and Rescue in St. Peters, Mo.
Barter and wife Mindy met while working as counselors at Kanakuk Kamps and have been married 23 years. In 2015, the couple moved to Newton, where Barter worked as a public safety instructor for fire science at Hutchinson Community College.
Barter said the most exciting part about his new role has been making connections with the people.
“From the first time we…came up and visited, it was very welcoming and very open to wanting to be led,” Barter said. “I really think the church has a huge desire to serve the community and…minister to the community, so the desire is already there. Now it’s just helping them do that.”
Barter’s arrival coincides with the final phase of construction on the church’s first facility. The church has been meeting at Hillsboro Elementary School since it began in April 2012.
“Having your own location just opens up so many more doors for everything throughout the week, because everything had to happen during the time frame that we rented the building,” Barter said. “We were so limited on time, and now it’s like, here we go. We have this building, so how can we use it?”
The church has a re-launch event tentatively planned for early September and will announce details to the community this fall.