Meet Mike Polley
Beginning January 2019, we are welcoming Mike Polley to the full-time staff of Cities Church. Born and raised in Minnesota, Mike graduated from Wayzata High School and went on to play football at the University of Northwestern. After sensing a call to vocational ministry in college, Mike has served with Campus Outreach for the last nine years, most recently as their Mobilization Director. He will be joining our staff as the Director of Operations, bringing his gifts and experience to the increasing organizational demands of our church. He will also be providing steady coaching and oversight to our discipleship structures, which is one of Mike’s passions.
Mike is married to Joanna, and they have one son, Jude. A couple weeks ago I had the chance to hang out with Mike and Joanna at their home in south Minneapolis, and one of the things that stood out to me in that conversation was Mike’s love for the gospel and his commitment to see it lived out in everyday life.
After reviewing and discussing our Leader Affirmation of Faith, I asked Mike to identify three truths he is most excited to teach right now.
Here’s what he said:
1. The joy of sacrificially serving others.
Paul says, “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all” (Philippians 2:17). I love motivating and equipping leaders to be poured out for others, whether it be their neighbors or those in their small group or their family. A poured-out life is a happy life. It is a joyful thing for us. It is for our good, and we get more of Jesus through it.
2. God is a good Father.
A lot of guys didn’t have great fathers growing up. Whether it was a lack of spiritual guidance or even just practical advice, “father hunger” is a reality in our world. But I love how Paul considered himself a father to the Corinthians “in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15). This is doesn’t necessarily mean that he was older than them, but just that he provided a solid example of what it means to be a trustworthy man. Our love and care for others can be a vista into their understanding of God as a loving and caring Father.
3. Be real with God.
I think I’ve learned a lot here, and I still have a long ways to go. As we read the Psalms, we constantly see the writers being honest about their weaknesses and fears. They are emotionally aware, and open about it. But a ton of people, including myself, can struggle with this. We can struggle to come to God with real, gut-level prayers. We often ask God for what we think is attainable, not what we truly desire. But God’s love and power are most potent when they intersect with our honest, specific, hurts and challenges. Additionally, if we struggle to be honest with God then we’ll always struggle to be honest with others. The only way we can find the comfort and healing we need is if we stop trying to hide. He is a good Father, and we can be honest with him. Taking our cues from the Psalms, I want us to develop a robust understanding of lament in the Christian life. Only then does the gospel of hope shine the brightest.
Next Steps …
Mike will begin the full-time staff position as part of the Pastoral Residency — a 12-month period of supervised ministry after which, God willing, the pastoral team will recommend Mike as a Pastoral Candidate. The recommendation will take place at our membership meeting in January 2020; and the congregational vote will be held at the following meeting in April 2020. Over the next year, we hope you to get to know Mike and Joanna well. We’ll be hosting a few opportunities for that, or feel free to reach out to them anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.