IMG 6049Pastor Donald T. Plock

I was born into a Christian family as one of two identical twin boys in 1957.  I was the surprise! 

 

My family attended the German Valley United Methodist church regularly, where I grew up in the church and joined after confirmation classes on June 6, 1971.  I had always been active in Sunday school and our MYF Fellowship, as it was referred to then. 

 

Loving God, serving Him and the church was important all through my high school days and after.  I graduated from Forrestville Valley High School in 1975 and attended Highland Community college.  Later I attended Illinois State University and majored in music and elementary education.  I worked throughout my college years at different places. During my junior year I lost my financial aid due to federal budget cuts…..I remember, shortly after returning from my junior year in college, giving a message in church on laity Sunday.  It was about the parable of the sower. I had plants as illustrations and I was dressed in bib overalls.  Only in a small country church do you see that. 

 

Later, I worked at a craft store and became a picture framer.  When the business was sold after two years, I and a partner purchased the business which we operated for four more years.  During an economic slowdown we were forced to close the business and I remember how devastated I was the day I left for the final time.

 

But God opened a door and I became an assistant manager at the JC Penney Co. which lasted 10 years.  But during those ten years I lost touch with God.  He was there for me, but I was not there for Him.  Figuring I had it made and I could take care of myself, I didn’t rely on Him; didn’t reach out to him.  Mind you, I still went to church every Sunday but out of obligation, not worship.

 

In November of 2002 my life changed. Thinking I had an abscessed tooth, I lay on the couch Thanksgiving Day and on Friday awoke with the left side of my face so swollen that my eye was shut.  We discovered I had mucormycosis in the left sinus cavity.  I was flown to UW Madison for emergency surgery.  Many do not survive that disease, but God spared my life and after a very lengthy hospital stay and recuperation I began life anew.  Thanks be to God, for he is the one and only healer!

 

At the end of 2003, I began working in our church office as a volunteer.    I have now been the administrative assistant for the church for over 12 years.  I work daily at the church and my ministry for God has been to volunteer in His house in the office and in many other jobs as well.

 

Through the guidance of Pastor Rick Neblock and Pastor David Decker, I started taking classes at the Lay Academies offered by our district and became a Local and then a Certified Lay Servant of the United Methodist Church in 2010.  I have been serving our church as well as the Winnebago United Methodist Church in that aspect ever since.

 

I now feel God’s calling to ministry changing again.  I feel I am being called to step out of my comfort zone and reach out and touch people’s lives as I spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  I feel I am being called to minister as a licensed local pastor - to serve God by pastoring his people.  I know I have much to learn and much yet to experience.  I only know that God has worked in my life, and he has saved me for a special purpose. I know I am ready to now ask “Is it I Lord?” And if so, to answer, “Send Me!”

                                                                                                                              

 

Personal

I was born to 2nd grade and high school science teachers, and grew up in Warren, IL. I was baptized and confirmed at the Warren UMC, though I didn’t attend much as my parents were primarily C & E’s. Mostly what I remember about those years was that my grandfather would pick me up after Sunday school and we’d go and get a donut and a newspaper.

 

During the school year I would help my father with janitorial duties at the church (I took the job fully for a couple of years during college), and I mowed the church and parsonage lawns during the summers. I also worked 20-40 hours a week at the local grocery store saving money for college.

 


Matthew, with wife Lisa and daughter Liliana, January 2013

 

Liliana, January 2014

Professional


Once I was confirmed, however, I ran from the spiritual side of church as soon as my parents would let me. I didn’t return to God for 15 years. After a conversion experience 7 years ago, I was led to walk through the doors of Faith UMC in Freeport, where I found myself home again.

 

In 2009, I met the love of my life, Lisa, and married her in 2011. In the spring of 2012, I received the Call to ministry while serving on the Walk to Emmaus retreat. For several months I fought it…I denied it…I tried to find a way out of it…but eventually God hit me upside the head with the proverbial 2x4 and I accepted His leading. Our beautiful daughter Liliana was born in January 2013 and last fall I started my Masters of Divinity degree classes at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.


After graduating from Warren High School, I attended Auburn University in Alabama…

where I quickly learned that my dream of being an engineer would die with my calculus grades. I came home, received my Associates degree from Highland and my Bachelors from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville…both in business. In the middle of 8 years in the retail and catalog industries, I received my M.B.A. in Leadership from Illinois State. Most recently, I was Business Manager and co-owner of a small technology company in Freeport and also taught for several years at Blackhawk Technical College in Monroe, WI.

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