Kenosha News Correspondent
In some ways, it’s no surprise that Mike Middleton became the new Worship Pastor at Kenosha Bible Church, 5405-67th Street. Growing up in Kenosha, he watched his grandfather serve as Pastor, and his parents work in music and youth ministry. While his path was always Christ centered, it appeared to be headed down a slightly different road.
“During middle school and high school, I was very active in our youth group leading worship,” he said. “From 1993 to 2003, I played with a band named Hangnail. We actually started playing together in middle school and started getting more serious about the band after we won the Kenosha County Fair Battle of the Bands.”
Following graduation from Bradford High School, Middleton and his Christian rock band were offered recording contracts from multiple record companies. They finally settled with Tooth and Nail Records, based out of Seattle, Washington and went on to produce three full-length national releases and one Extended Play over a four-year span.
His eyes on a degree in Music Performance, Middleton attended Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL for a year and a half, taking a break to travel with the band.
“We traveled on average about nine months out of the year around the U.S playing a wide array of venues from churches to run down bars,” he said. “It was an experience of a lifetime to say the least.”
Although they didn’t win, the popular group was nominated for four WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) awards and one Dove award for their original songs. Middleton wrote and co-wrote nearly 70 songs and arranged countless more.
When the tour finished, Middleton attended UW-Parkside graduating with a degree in Business Management. Six years ago, Middleton, now 30, married his wife Erin, and they have two children, Ana, age 4 and Josiah, 7 months.
While he had not planned it, he knew that despite earning his business degree, God was calling him back to minister through the calling of his childhood-his music.
“I used to drive my parents nuts by tapping all the time and singing the same things over again, and later I learned how to play songs using chords,” he said. “Writing songs for worship is something that I’d really like to be able to spend more time on now that I am doing this full time.”
In serving as the new Worship Pastor, Middleton explained that his primary goal is to be faithful to God’s call by using his abilities and opportunities to build up the church.
“I think the hope for anyone’s ministry is to make known the message of the Gospel to those who have not yet believed in it and to come alongside those who do know Christ to challenge, encourage, and equip them to live the live that He’s called us to,” he said. “In terms of worship, I believe that the purpose of worship is to bring glory to God. And if through our ministry we can help those who believe and those who don’t, recognize Him for who He is and the magnitude of His grace in light of who we are, then we will have accomplished, by the work of His spirit, what we hoped for.”
While not isolated to Kenosha, Middleton is concerned about those who profess to walk the Christian road, but don’t always seem to live Christ centered lives.
“First Peter says that we are ‘aliens and strangers in the world;’ unfortunately, I have witnessed time and time again, that many of us are more concerned about the ‘freedom’ in terms of morals we have in Christ, than we are about pursuing holiness,” he said.
To bring about a closer personal relationship with Jesus and alongside other Christians, Middleton would like to see Christians of other faiths pray and worship together on a regular basis.
“It seems like we often times look at the task of reaching Kenosha as something we need to do on our own, but the fact is, there are many other brothers and sisters in Christ that happen to attend other churches that have the same objective,” he said. “It would be cool to see our churches come together to spread the good news of the Gospel in Kenosha. We could learn a lot from our youth who have already begun to do this type of thing through a group called Allies.”
If you go
Kenosha Bible Church
5405 67th St.
Sunday Worship Services:
9:00 and 10:30 a.m.