Matt is passionate about helping others live more fully as followers of Jesus – he loves to help them discover the next steps Jesus is shaping in them. Prior to joining the NewLife family in 2020, Matt served as Minister of Discipleship at St. Luke in Ann Arbor, MI; as Senior Pastor at St. Luke’s in New Richmond, WI; and as Associate Pastor at Trinity in Wausau, WI. He received his M. Div. in 2006 from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Prior to entering pastoral ministry, Matt was an adjunct instructor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Central Michigan University where he earned his undergraduate degree. Matt and Jennifer married in 2001, and have four significant journeying partners in their children Gideon, Miriam, Eden, and Silas, whom they help to follow Jesus more intentionally. Matt loves growing pumpkins, catching walleye, and enjoying life together with friends and family around a big dining room table or a campfire.
Brooke graduated from Concordia University, Ann Arbor with a major in Music Performance and a minor in German. She has been married to her husband Sam for more than 20 years. They have three children: Lucie, Karolein and Micah. Since 1997 she has served the Lutheran Church in various roles within the ministries of music and worship. She and her family served as missionaries in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay for two years. Upon returning to Michigan, they worked together to identify areas of urgent need for Gospel outreach to underserved rural Hispanic communities northwest of Lansing. Brooke has served the Lutheran Church for a total of 12 years in the areas of Worship and Music, and many more years as a speaker and/or music contributor to various events in the Church. Brooke joined NewLife as Director of Music and Worship in the fall of 2017.
Samuel Orozco started in ministry early on in life as a Sunday school and Vacation Bible School teacher, youth leader, and eventually, at the age of 18, elder at his home Church in Roseville, Michigan. In 1997 he became the Community Life Administrator and youth volunteer at Community Lutheran Church in Flat Rock. Along with taking pre-seminary courses at Concordia Seminary, Sam served as lay Teaching Pastor and church planter for 4 years at Jefferson Hills Lutheran Church in Missouri and was also a part-time missionary to La Vid orphanage in Mexico. From there he was called and served for 2 years with his wife, Brooke, as lay missionaries to the Lutheran Church of Paraguay, South America. Sam and Brooke have been married for more than 20 years and have three children, Lucie, Karolein and Micah. He joined the staff at NewLife in October of 2019 and is also serving as executive director of the Latino Mission Society in St. Johns, Michigan.
Suzie Thalhammer is new to the staff at NewLife, serving as Administrative Office Coordinator since June 2018. She has been a faithful attender at NewLife since the church began, teaching in the children’s program for 18 of those years. Suzie volunteers at Franklin Avenue Mission & Family Promise of Genesee County. She graduated from Baker College Flint with an Associates Degree in Hotel Management. Suzie has been married to her high school sweetheart, Doug, for 23 years. They have been blessed with a daughter, Adeline, who attends Genesee Christian School.
Sandy studied at Wayne State University and Walsh College of Accountancy and Business and was employed by EDS where she met her husband, John, of 29 years. Sandy and John have two adult children, Travis(Lauren) and Kristin, both of whom she homeschooled from their elementary years through high school. Sandy has been a member of the NewLife community for more than 18 years, where she has served on many ministry teams. Her roles have included directing the Children’s Ministries, being the Family Promise mission coordinator, and serving on the Board of Directors.
Becky is a graduate of both Ferris State University and Michigan State University. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work and specializes working with older and disabled adults and their families. Becky also works part-time at a local nursing and rehabilitation center. She was married to her husband, Brandon, in 2008 and together they have three children; Paisley, Owen and Sawyer. Becky and Brandon have been members at NewLife since 2012 and have enjoyed growing and serving within the church.