There’s a new pastor at Bethlehem Baptist in Crosstown, and in the two short months he’s served here, he’s become rather smitten with our small town.
Pastor Mike Friesz, 47, moved to Perry County from Independence, Mo., to continue spreading the word in the humble church, as well as take a general manager position at Regions Bank in Perryville.
“The church called me to be their pastor,” Friesz said. “I moved here at the end of January. I love it; I love the church. It’s a warm, comfortable place, and very accepting.”
Friesz says he’s served in big cities and small towns, citing that within his career, he’s served at four churches in Missouri. He says his idea of service is keeping it genuine.
“I don’t put on a show,” he said. “I’m the same person, whether I’m at the bank, with my kids, or at church. I’m also committed to being careful about how we handle the Bible; to preach it accurately.”
Friesz moved to Crosstown with his stepdaughter and son along for the ride, and says he’s thoroughly enjoyed his time in the area, even after just two months.
“What drew me to Bethlehem Baptist is that it’s the way I strive to be: genuine, and just being yourself,” he said. “That’s how I try to live.”
He said a few small changes have occurred in the church, like combining contemporary and traditional ideals into worship services, but all in all, he stresses that the church didn’t need “fixing.”
“The church is going well,” Friesz said. “I didn’t come in to ‘fix’ things. We collectively looked at things we wanted to improve on and adjust … I don’t feel like I came into this church to change things — we’re just moving forward. We’re in a really, really good place.”
March 17, the church is holding a meet-and-greet for Friesz and his family from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.