The Pastors

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Reverend Mike Baynai has been a Presbyterian pastor for over 15 years. He has helped shepherd churches in South Carolina and Michigan. Prior to serving as head pastor of Good Shepherd, he was head pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church in Kentwood, MI.

A little more about Rev. Mike in his own words:

I think my life-verse says it all; “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you. I thank God that I was raised in a family that taught me the truth claims of the Christian faith. And I thank God that He has blessed me with a faith that walks with and loves Jesus The Christ.

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic in Detroit. In my early teen years however, I rejected the teachings of the church in large part due to idealistic assumptions and immaturity. Out of family obligations I attended a baptism at a large downtown PCUSA church were I felt and saw the authentic love of God. I confessed Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and began to walk a life of faith. As my faith grew so did my love and adoration of Jesus. I followed a prompting from my pastor to consider a life in the ministry. In 1998 I graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and accepted my first call to pastor.

After serving two other PCUSA congregations I was asked to resign my pastorate by officials of my Presbytery. In November 2015 I did so and accepted the terms of a six-month severance agreement. In February of 2016 I was asked by members of a newly formed ECO (Evangelical Covenant Order) church; Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church to accept a call as their pastor. With joy and gratitude I did so!

The “mountains have shook and the hills have indeed been shaken”, but His lovingkindness holds. I am thrilled to be a part of a congregation of believers that truly and sincerely love 1.) all God’s people, 2.) the work of the Christian Church 3.) the Lord Jesus and 4.) His Word!

The Lord has blessed me incredibly with and through my wife and very best friend Donna, our two children and four wonderful grandchildren. I love all things Scottish (most especially Scottish short bread!!) and my morning time with the Lord while Sunday worship is the highlight of my week.

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The Reverend Doctor Laura A. Smit is Assistant Pastor for Good Shepherd. She is Professor of Theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where she has been teaching since 1999.  She was ordained in the PC(USA) in 1989 and served as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Clayton, New Jersey for six years before going to Boston University for a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy and theological aesthetics.  Her dissertation was on aesthetic epistemology in the theology of Bonaventure.

She is the author of Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love, a book that features interviews with many college students about their experiences of romantic rejection.  This book has led to many speaking engagements on college campuses.

From 2003 to 2008, Smit served as Dean of the Chapel at Calvin College, and in connection with that position she was ordained as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church, while retaining her PC(USA) ordination.  In the summer of 2012, Rev. Smit was dismissed from the PC(USA) to ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.  She has been a member of the theology team for both the Fellowship of Presbyterians and ECO since August 2011.  She is a member of ECO’s Great Lakes Presbytery and serves on the Ministry Assimilation Team.  She also serves on ECO’s Synod Executive Council.