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I became a Christian at the age of sixteen. Brought up in a home that talked about Jesus and faith, I still didn’t connect the dots until a young youth worker named Joe Valentine explained the Gospel message to me clearly. He spent the next 2 years discipling me and teaching me how to study the Bible and follow Jesus. He had a fervor for Jesus that was contagious.

My heart caught fire, and I never looked back. I wanted to invest in others in the same manner that Joe did in me. I felt the call into ministry, and pursued a theological education after graduating Seton Hall Prep. I spent four years at Messiah College, and went on to work as a youth pastor while going to seminary.

It’s interesting that most of the thirty years I served as a local church pastor, I took teams of young people overseas on mission trips annually. I felt it was important to create a heart in young people to spread the Gospel through “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Training global Christians was always an imperative aspect of my disciple-making strategy.

Teresa and I talked about missionary service often over the years, but sensed that we were called to serve locally, helping people gain a heart for missions. Then late summer of 2017, something started to change. God’s Spirit was stirring something in me. While in a ministry transition at the time, I received a few pastoral role offers, and two calls to join mission organizations. I was compelled toward the latter opportunities.

Becoming a missionary at 53 was not a safe or logical move from a human perspective. Leaving the security and safety of a salaried position, and stepping out in faith to raise support was a risky endeavor. But it was clear to me that this was God’s call on my life.

“There is no safer place to be than where God wants you to be.”

Here I am. No regrets. I am given the privilege of joining and seeing God’s work in the nations, and how He is changing lives around the world. Ah, the stories, I could share!


Perhaps you have a similar passion and are looking for further opportunity to partner in God’s work? If you are interested in serving or in partnering through prayer and financial support for the ministry of Concentric or want to be connected to an indigenous leader who is making disciple who make disciples, contact me. I would be glad to take you to lunch or chat by phone. There is no better place to invest than in God’s mission. 


Mike Harder, Concentric President