Mike Neelley is our Executive Director. He oversees staff and leads our Sunday Worshiping Community and Jail Ministries.
As Executive Director, Mike “pastors the pastors” in all levels of leadership through supervision, prayer, discipleship, and executive leadership. Mike also helps lead our faith community in worship, teaching, prayer ministry, and pastoral care; is a chaplain in the jail and partners with various staff in their areas of calling. Mike is passionate about all people encountering God's goodness and experiencing healing, restoration, transformation and empowerment.
Mike came into a living encounter with Jesus in 1979, eventually stepping into pastoral ministry after college in the Seattle area in the mid-80s. While practicing youth ministry over fifteen years, Mike went to Fuller Seminary Northwest, graduating in 1999. In 2000 he had a powerful, transforming encounter with God through Neil T. Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker, which brought enormous freedom and healing, and led him into prayer ministry as part of his calling. In 2004 Mike was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) while serving at Church at the Center in Seattle. In 2007, after his pastoral position was cut due to financing, Mike kept hearing the word “risk,” and began to pray into what God meant by that. In May 2008, Tierra Nueva was the answer.
When asked how he came to Tierra Nueva, he laughs and says,
God tricked me. After 21 years of ‘dry obedience’ I had begun encountering the Holy Spirit for several years in ways that were exciting and energizing in ministry. Faith had become ‘belief with expectation attached to it’. While I was hugely grateful to see God’s goodness in such tangible ways, I wasn’t satisfied. So, I was praying a lot to encounter the ‘more than we know how to ask for or imagine,’ and God answered that prayer by bringing me to a ministry I never imagined being a part of. It is here, in the Word-Spirit-Street, that I experience my need and my encounter with God’s goodness through the Holy Spirit in so many of the ways we read about in the gospels. Faith here is alive.
What Mike loves most about being a part of Tierra Nueva is that people from The Struggle know that they need rescue and are often eager to embrace the good news of Jesus. There is very little pretending that we are “okay.” Here is where the unique charisms of Word-Spirit-Street are continually fresh—the place where the goodness of God meets the brokenness of humanity and keeps us ever pressing in for more.