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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


Pastors Gary and Michelle Smith

Founding Pastors

Gary and Michelle 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 has 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.  


Worship Leaders

Jim and Lori Miller

Jim and Lori have been serving as worship leaders are 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 the Lord of Lords!  They love to hear the sound of the congregation joining 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 four grandchildren. 


Church Administrator & Children's Ministry Director

Denel Fisher

Denel enjoys serving at New Life and brings 12 years of certified office manager experience to the 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 the 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.  

Denel can be reached at
NLCF Office House: 9:00AM - 4:00PM Tuesday &
 9:00AM - 1:00pm Thursday



Bill Kroll

More about Bill coming soon!


Communications Coordinator

Nicole Morgan

Nicole joined the New Life team during the summer of 2015.  She is passionate about helping to spread the Gospel message in creative and effective ways!  Nicole supports New Life Leadership in various ministries by assisting them with building and implementing communications strategies. She also oversees the creation of church graphics, maintains the church website and various social media outlets, and leads the video production team.   Nicole and her husband Chris are the proud parents of three wonderful kids.  Together they enjoy traveling, playing music, and spending time at the lake. 


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