Mission Liberty Hill welcomes new pastor

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By ANTHONY FLORES

Mission Liberty Hill Lutheran Church has welcomed new pastor Mike Cofer to lead their congregation into the future.

Cofer, a graduate of Concordia University and Concordia Seminary, served as an associate pastor in his first position in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Houston native worked in Virginia Beach for 10 years before taking a job in San Angelo for two years.

“I received a call to come to this church. The church reached out to me and asked me if I’d like to come down and be their pastor,” said Cofer. “I thought about it a little bit and gave them an answer. This was a part of the master plan. They reached out to me, I prayed about it, and God said yes.”

With confidence in meeting the criteria of what Mission Liberty Hill was looking for, Cofer decided the fit made sense.

“They were looking for a pastor who loves people, who are interested in reaching out and helping people grow in the faith,” he said. “They told me they were looking for a good preacher, and I guess that didn’t scare them away. They wanted someone motivational. I’ve got family in the area, so that kind of sealed the deal for me. They want to engage the community.”

Cofer finds comfort on the stage and in front of an audience. The pastor understands the weight and influences his role carries.

“It’s been a lifelong dream. I’ve always loved talking to people about God and sharing what God has to say in his word. I’ve done it ever since I was a kid. So, when I got to get up and do it as a grown-up for real, it felt good,” he said. “I have a history of theater and some other public speaking, so getting up in front of people isn’t hard. The scary part is that they actually listen to what you have to say. It’s important that because of the power my words have that I speak the truth. You have to do it lovingly, but you have to speak truths. It’s a pretty high bar.”

With a natural flair for performance, it’s not a surprise that Cofer is a skilled musician, holding a deep love of music and the guitar.

“One of the things you could see if you come over and see us is you might see me play music with the praise team at the beginning of the service,” said Cofer. “Music is one of my passions, and since I can’t do it fully because I have other obligations during service, I like to sneak over and play a little when I can.”

Taking over a vital position in the time of pandemic is a tall order, and Cofer is working out the best way to navigate the limiting situation.

“It is a little bit of a challenge to meet people in our community because we aren’t in public spaces like normal right now. We’re trying to figure out how to do that right now in a safe way. We are worshiping in person and online. For in-person worship, we want people to let us know ahead and get a seat reserved.”

As the leader of his congregation, Cofer’s decisions will mold that way forward. The pastor is ready to follow whatever path God will lay before him.

“I’m very new here, so there’s still a level of listening and learning to get to know the community and congregation,” he said. “The big picture is we want to show the hope we have in Jesus Christ and the love and generosity that God has shown to us to our surrounding community. Whatever that means, we still have to develop a picture of what that looks like in the real world.”

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