Hi! My name is Rick Goertzen, and I am the Lead Pastor at SMCC. I grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, a small town of about 40,000. I knew early in high school that I wanted to enter the ministry. My father was a pastor as well as my grandfather. I thought the only way to have a fulfilling life as a Christian was to serve God fully.

I dedicated my life to Christ at an early age, and upon graduating from high school, I attended Southeastern Bible College here in Birmingham and earned a degree in Theology in 1985. I later attended The Master’s Seminary where, in 1991, I earned my master’s degree in Divinity (M.Div.) and my doctorate in ministry (D.Min.) in 2007.

Since 1983, I have been on the staff of five churches in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, California, and Kansas. In 1995, we planted Grace Bible Church in Hutchinson, Kansas where I served for 20 years. In January 2016 the Lord led us back to Birmingham where I became the Lead Pastor at Shades Mountain Community Church. SMCC has an incredible foundation. The members have such a great heart for God and for His Word which is reflected in their love and grace toward others. I have a heart for missions and have had the opportunities to minister in Brazil, Russia, Africa, and the Philippines. I currently serve as President on the Board of Directors for the Slavic Gospel Association.  

I enjoyed 39 years of marriage with my wife, Kris, before the Lord sent His Blessed Chariot in the form of ALS to take her Home in April 2023. Kris had a servant’s heart to minister to women, and she was an incredible ministry partner. We have 3 married children, Bethany Yates (Jacob), Sarah Dower (Ted), and Joshua Goertzen (Erika); and 7 Grand Dudes: Tucker, Hunter and Archer Yates; Thomas, Whit and Titus Dower; and Rex Goertzen.


I love the outdoors, especially hunting, and spending time with my family.  I enjoy writing and have authored two books published in Portuguese on the subject of expository teaching and pastoral ministry.


As the Lead Pastor of SMCC, there is no greater privilege than to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through the preaching and teaching of God’s precious Word. A favorite part of my job is watching lives change through the work of the ministry of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Favorite Scripture:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Learn More About Me: