A pastor's criminal past won't prevent him from joining the ministry of a church.
Mike Hintz, 46, will serve on the Papillion campus of Lifegate Church. Ten years ago he was convicted in Iowa on three misdemeanor counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist. All involved inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old girl near Des Moines.
Hintz didn't serve any jail time and his name has been removed from Iowa’s sex offender registry after 10 years.
Lifegate Church sent WOWT 6 news a statement:
"As you may know, Lifegate Church is dedicated to the service of the people of Omaha as evidenced by our church campus expansions (Papillion, Midtown and West Dodge) which are in response to our Lord's assignment to "go" to where people live and by our commitment of financial and human resources to the needy within our community. Lifegate Church’s service and ministries also extend regionally and globally. At Lifegate Church, we have an endless passion to invite people everywhere to discover, live and give Life in Jesus! and see ourselves as one expression among many loving and life-filled churches in our region.
"To carry out this vision, we have numerous pastors, elders, directors, staff and volunteers, and we are pleased to add Mike and Sharla Hintz to our team. Mike will serve as a one of our many pastors and will join a team of several who focus on the ministry of our Papillion campus . In considering Mike and Sharla for our Lifegate team, we fully informed ourselves through an exhaustive research, interview, prayer and consulting process that lasted several months.
"This confirmed to us that Mike's devotion to Jesus, ministry experience, pastoral and leadership giftings make him the right fit for Lifegate. Certainly, we are also aware that Mike has successfully completed all requirements by the State of Iowa for his one and only misconduct of more than a decade ago, and Iowa removed Mike from all registries. Of equal importance to us, Sharla and Mike’s marriage not only survived but has thrived over a considerable period of time, as they raised their four children.
"Though these facts removed impediments to a hiring decision, we truly felt God’s leading to add Mike and Sharla to our team. As such, the church elders became firmly convinced that Mike’s personal life, family and marriage have been fully restored, as proven by more than 10 years of integrity and excellence. In fact, God has used Mike and Sharla to share their journey of restoration to bless and encourage many. We are pleased to welcome them to the Lifegate Church team."