Mitchel Lee, lead pastor of Grace Community Church in Fulton, Maryland, recently published the book Even If: Trusting God When Life Disappoints, Overwhelms, or Just Doesn’t Make Sense.
In Even If, Lee explores how God remains present in the midst of suffering, loss, and disappointment.
Associate Editor Timothy Isaiah Cho spoke with Lee about the themes explored in his book. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I’ve been in pastoral ministry since 1998. I was born and raised in Maryland. But I like to say that I became an adult when I got married and moved to Chicago, and that was in 2004. I was in Chicago for eight years doing some grad school but also pastoring at a church in the western suburbs. And then in 2012, we moved back to Maryland, where I joined a church called Grace Community Church as the young adult and teaching pastor. And in 2016, became the Lead Pastor here, receiving the baton from the pastor who’d been here for 28 years at the time.
Wow, a big shoe to fill!
Yeah, it really was. And it was really quite unheard of. He was a White pastor – I didn’t come here thinking that I would receive the baton from him. I just came here because I felt the Lord was adding us to the church. And so, in 2015, when he asked if I would pray about succeeding him, and all the interviews with our elders, that whole process really was quite a remarkable transition. It’s been a tough transition as well, and that’s all before the pandemic and then the pandemic just added to that.
The most important things about me: my wife is Sarah and I have five children, Calvin, Noah, Benjamin, Beatrice, and Owen. And they keep me sane, while making me insane at the same time. So, it’s quite a mysterious tension. But that’s who I am. The son of Korean immigrants who immigrated to Maryland in 1974, and I was born the following year.