Local Men: Noel Heikkinen
Noel Heikkinen began attending Riverview Church with his wife when they were students at Michigan State University in the early 1990s. He became one of the pastors in 2001 and now teaches at weekend services. His mission is to introduce people to Jesus; he also helps oversee the big-picture vision for the church.
Q: HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PREPARING FOR PREACHING?
A: The goal of preaching is to bridge the message of the Bible to the culture in which we live. In order to pull this off, I have to be a student of both. I strive to be faithful to communicate what the Bible says (not what I or anyone else wants it to say) which means I have to wrestle with the “normal meaning” of the text. I also try to engage with the culture of our world, specifically with young people in the Lansing area. I try to find the connections and build bridges with my sermons.
Q: YOU ALSO RUN A PERSONAL BLOG. WHAT IS YOUR GOAL FOR THAT?
A: The goal of my blog (and the rest of my social media) is to live my life as publicly as I comfortably can. I try to showcase my life, my doctrine, my teachings, my parenting, my friends, my passions, my pet-peeves and whatever else comes to mind. I often blog on the same themes I am teaching on at Riv. Oh, and every Friday I post total randomness.
Q: AS A PUBLIC FIGURE, IS IT EVER A CHALLENGE TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVATE LIFE WITH YOUR FAMILY?
A: This is definitely a tricky one, especially for a pastor of a large church. I want to be as accessible as I can be, but I can’t have a close relationship with all of the 3,000 people who come around to Riv on an average weekend. Because of this, I have had to set boundaries so that my wife and kids can live as normal lives as they can. The cool thing is the Internet allows me the opportunity to connect with a lot of people in ways that wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago.
Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A FATHER?
A: I love watching my children make wise decisions independent of my constant input. Specifically, it’s been fun to see them work out their faith and make decisions to follow Jesus for themselves instead of just to please my wife and me.
Tags: Noel Heikkinen, Riverview Church