Maciel takes over as lead pastor at Faith Community
Almost as soon as he and his family came to New Richmond for the interview for lead pastor at Faith Community Church, Josh Maciel knew he was in a special place that he wouldn't mind calling home.
"When we came here for the interview, our son got sick and he was really sick. We didn't have a washer and dryer where we were staying, so we went to the laundromat to get it all cleaned up," Maciel said. "There was a woman there who didn't know me and I didn't know her, but I got the stuff cleaned, went to the house to take care of some stuff and came back and she had folded all of our stuff. That was awesome."
Maciel eventually got the job as lead pastor, taking over for Mike Evans, and started in his new position on July 3.
"From what I understand, the church had been working on bringing in a new lead pastor for about 18 months. It has been great to get to know Mike and spend time with him on a weekly basis," Maciel said. "It is a real handoff between the two of us, but he is super humble and he really cares about the church, the people and the town. Things like this can get messy, but everybody has been really cool. The church has really embraced me."
The church held an official "passing of the baton" service, Maciel said, July 30. The service was followed by a celebration for Evans to honor his years at the church.
Maciel was born in California, but moved to Sparks, Nev., when he was a sophomore in high school. After graduating high school, Maciel entered a discipleship program in Oklahoma City, where he met his wife, who is originally from Wisconsin. The couple eventually moved to Maryland, where they got married. During that time, Maciel worked as a youth pastor and did ministry in various places.
"We were feeling like we were supposed to plant a church, but we had no money or resources, so I actually joined the army," Maciel said. "At that time, I didn't have any degrees, was 80 pounds heavier than I am now and was living paycheck to paycheck. I was a chaplains assistant in the army and also got my bachelors and masters degree."
He earned his masters through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Before coming to New Richmond, Maciel was serving as a pastor in Arizona.
"One of the things that lead me to Faith Community was that we shared a mixture of values and theological framework. But honestly, I have never had prayers so specifically answered in my life. Not just one, not just two, but make a believer out of ya kind of prayer request type thing," Maciel said. "We have just been super loved since we got here and New Richmond is just a super cool town. It feels like there is a lot of people here. I'm not a city kid, but I'm not a small town person either. Everybody has been real, real kind. Not only in the church, but in the community as well."
Although he isn't going to be the same type of pastor as Evans, Maciel feels like they differ as personalities more than their views or values.
"I don't feel like there is a ton to change in the church, which is really cool. I do have a different personality than Mike does, so that will be different and come out as people get to know me better. I'm good at certain things that the church could probably use, but there isn't really any aim or focus that's different," Maciel said. "That is one of the 'selling points' of coming here is that....the church isn't ill and in need of healing. Nowhere is perfect, but there isn't a lot of things I see changing or wanting to change."
Above everything else, Maciel will focus on finding out what the Bible says and how Jesus is the hero of the story.
"The gospel is the center of everything. As long as we don't make it all about us, and instead make it all about Jesus, I don't think we can go wrong," Maciel said.