Michael Weatherbe is a two-time graduate of Lancaster Bible College: first, he earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies at the college’s Philadelphia location in 2014. Then, overachiever that he is, Weatherbe came back for more and earned his master’s degree with a concentration in leadership studies in 2016 from the college’s seminary. And in the midst of his studies, a lot of life has happened – his children have grown and they’ve started college – and he and his loving wife of 19 years, started planting churches.
But what made Michael decide to make a life change and earn a degree at age 32? In 2010, he was working a regular job, but felt like he wanted something more out of life. “I felt within my heart that it was the right time to go back to school,” he said. “My children were getting older and it felt like the right time to pursue my calling.”
The calling that Michael mentioned was a calling to plant churches. But knew he would need an education to back up his passion – and that’s just what he got when he enrolled at LBC. Of course, starting a degree while balancing life, work and ministry can be challenging. Thankfully, Michael had some help. “I had an amazing support system that made it all possible,” said Michael. “My wife Jaime was my number one supporter. She would make sure the kids were cared for while even assisting with ministry duties. She definitely had a big hand in seeing me through my school years.” Michael also said he carefully balanced his scheduled to maximize time with family while also allowing himself enough time to complete his assignments. “I scheduled times within my day to complete homework assignments, but I would also make sure that there was a time to rest and spend time my family,” he explained.
Shortly after Michael graduated with his bachelor’s degree, he and Jaime wasted no time in putting his new skills to work and planted a church in the city of Philadelphia. “My wife and I started The Love Center in 2014 with a heart to reach the community with the love of Jesus Christ,” he said. That plant blossomed and it is now a part of a network called Hope City Christian Church, which has four campuses and is always looking to expand. “[We joined forces with Hope City] because we found that the areas that we served in South Philadelphia and the places they were serving in Germantown had similar needs,” he explained. “Those needs may be different but there are still needs there. We do our best, with the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, to minister to these individuals holistically – spirit, soul and body. We strive to spread the gospel and hope of Jesus Christ to every city we occupy through the local assembly.” According to Michael, his education directly impacted the way he does ministry. “My education has enriched my ministry because it has shown me how to be effective and share the gospel within any cultural context,” he said. “I can proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ with boldness, rightly dividing the word of truth because of the tools I have received from LBC.” He continued, saying, “My education has also changed the way I lead. I am more reflective and can easily empower those I lead because I have developed an understanding that it takes all of us to fulfill the mission and calling of Christ.”
Overall, Michael expressed how thankful he was for the role LBC played in his life and ministry. “I am definitely glad I chose LBC for my undergraduate and graduate degrees,” he said. “I have learned so much at the institution and have gained so many rich relationships in my life that I still have contact with – I’m a Charger for life!”