Pastors Gary Smith and Michelle Smith

Gary and Michelle, Founding Pastors, are strong and steady visionary leaders who serve as a spiritual Father and Mother team. They faithfully mentor and disciple those who make New Life their church home.


They were both born and raised in Alpena - they believe in and care about this community and those who live here.  They gave their lives to Christ Jesus in 1978 and quickly discovered a passion for telling others about what God had done for them.  This passion grew into the recognition of God’s clear call on their lives.  In 1992, Gary became the Senior Pastor of New Life, a new church plant.  Michelle worked alongside him in every area as the church grew and became established.  In the beginning they were both bi-vocational, but in 1999 God made it obvious that it was time to go into full-time ministry, so they left their jobs and haven’t looked back.  


Together they have effectively led New Life through many growth phases, including the purchase and renovation of a new building, and most importantly, into having a strong influence in their community for Christ.  Nothing gives them more joy than seeing others brought into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and discovering his plans for their lives.


Gary is a diligent student of God’s Word and ways.  His straightforward approach and ability to relate the message of Jesus to everyday life, combined with practical application, down-to-earth humor and a love of history, makes his preaching and teaching impactful.


Michelle is known for her visionary insights, wisdom, and leadership ability.  She is gifted in teaching and exhortation, and is passionate about unlocking the potential in others to live out all that God has intended for them.  She recently launched Purely Women’s Ministries, with the purpose of helping women of all ages discover their true identity as a woman of God.

They believe that in order for a church body to be healthy and vibrant, the leaders must be spiritually healthy and whole!  This core value continually motivates them with a hunger to know God and His Word more fully and to stay fresh in the things of the Holy Spirit.  They regularly participate in on-going training and strongly value the accountability relationships they have developed with local pastors of like-heart.


They have three adult daughters and sons-in-love and enjoy spending time with their five incredible grandchildren as much as possible.  Their interests, besides their love for the Lord and family, include gardening, canoeing, rustic camping and all things outdoors.

Jim and Lori Miller | Worship Leaders

Jim and Lori have been serving as the worship leaders at NLCF since 2013. They have both been involved in leading worship for over 20 years. Their passion is to glorify and exalt Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! They love to hear the sound of the congregation coming together and lifting one voice up to the Lord in unity.

When not leading worship, they enjoy biking, walking, and working in the flower garden. Jim and Lori have seven children and two granddaughters.

Denel Fisher | Church Administrator

Denel enjoys serving at New Life and brings 12 years of certified office manager experience to this position. She is passionate about keeping "all-the-things" organized and running smoothly. Denel, her husband Mike, and their four sons serve together in various areas within the church.  She enjoys playing clarinet, singing on the worship team and teaching children about Jesus!  She is thankful for her extended church family, and is always looking for ways to help folks feel they belong.  So, whether you are new to NLCF or have been attending for a while, you are warmly welcomed to ask Denel about events, classes or any other general questions!


She can be reached at

NLCF Office Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Tuesday - Thursday

Nicole Morgan | Communications Coordinator

Nicole joined the New Life team during the summer of 2016.   Her passion is delivering the message of God in creative ways. She designs graphics and promotional material for various church ministries and special events as well as the website and social media outlets. If she is not doing ministry work, you will find her spending time with her incredible husband and kids. Nicole married her husband Chris is 2011, and together they have three children.

Deb O'Neil | Finance

More information on Deb coming soon! 

Kevin Englund | Care and Outreach Team

Kevin Englund leads the Care and Outreach team. He is passionate about people and serves to see that people who come to the church are being cared for. Kevin has a background of working with the ministry of care in previous settings. This experience assists him in leading a team of people who make calls and home or hospital visits to those who are experiencing difficulties in their lives or who need encouragement. He also adds technical expertise in providing hands-on help with the purchasing and installation of audiovisual and computer needs.

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And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17


New Life is a Christ centered , Bible believing, spirit-filled church in Alpena, Michigan. 


At New Life we are commited to helping you get to know God better and to grow spiritually. You will find relevant messages, great music and friendly people who genuinely care about each other, all in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. We are real people who have discovered the hope that God offers, regardless of our circumstances.



317 South Ripley Boulevard

Alpena, MI 49707

(989) 354-0095

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