DENNISVILLE – “It has nothing to do with how good, bad or indifferent we have lived our lives,” Mike Chapman said Aug. 3, during a Zoom interview.
Referring to the gift of salvation and God’s forgiveness, Chapman, 41, said his life is centered on the Gospel.
Chapman’s life is not without struggles and demands as the senior pastor of the Dennisville and Tuckahoe United Methodist churches. This is Chapman’s first time in the role.
How does a young pastor juggle family and ministry, while composing his music?
Chapman’s journey began in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, where he grew up attending a Christian and Missionary Alliance church with his family.
During high school, Chapman faced the universal question of what he should pursue in life. Should he attend a local college or Eastern University, a Christian liberal arts institution?
After much prayer, Chapman chose Eastern, studying youth ministries. He said his life’s call was to shepherd young people. In college, he met his wife, Jackie. They married after graduation.
Being a senior pastor was not on the “radar” at the time. He took a position as a youth pastor at Aldine United Methodist Church, in Elmer.
“I hadn’t picked up the guitar yet,” Chapman said.
He played the drums since elementary school.
“Band was a big deal in Pennsylvania,” he explained.
For 19 years, Chapman and his family ministered at Aldine. For 12 of those years, he served as the youth pastor.
In 2012, the melody of Chapman’s life gained another layer.
“I felt God nudge me on,” he said.
He felt led to become a senior pastor and went to Palmer Seminary, at Eastern. He became the associate pastor at Aldine.
While growing in his journey, Chapman said his ministry’s musical side came from painful circumstances. His brother, Chris, died in a car accident at 30.
“He (Chris) was obsessed with guitars,” Chapman said.
He initially picked up the guitar to keep a “connection” with Chris.
“God always works through difficulties,” Chapman added.
The music program at Aldine also needed development at that time.
Today, Chapman said he plays “for the glory of Lord,” as well as honoring his brother. He has written over 20 original songs and plays at various venues.
Chapman believes traditional hymns are important, as well as contemporary stylings.
“Both generations should be heard,” he said.
Symphony of Praise
Chapman and his family now serve in Cape May County. He views the Dennisville and Tuckahoe congregations as one, serving both with the same level of zeal.
As problems in society increase, Chapman said he navigates these troubled times by ensuring his soul is healthy. If he is not centered, how can he help others?
“My focus is aligned in Christ,” he said.
Staying involved with his children is also paramount, according to Chapman. His oldest son will graduate from high school next year. He is grateful to the Methodist Conference for considering his family in the relocation process.
Chapman’s primary goals for both churches:
Know Christ more passionately and experience His presence in daily life.
Build an environment where families feel safe and welcome.
Find more musicians willing to use their talents in the church.
Life is not a solo act – it’s a symphony, composed of moving parts. Chapman looks forward to the future and spreading the Gospel.
“Beyond the hurt and the pain of life, there is a place where everything is made right. Jesus died for all of us,” he said.
He urges those who are seeking to open their hearts to ask for forgiveness and ask God to enter their life.
Faith Matters is an ongoing series exploring the connection between individuals and their faith, impacting their families, community, and beyond. Those with a story of faith to share should contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org