Loft Associate Pastor
Rev. Michelle Manuel (pronounced like “manual,” as in the type you read) joined The Loft staff in July 2016 upon completing her studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. For the Midland, Texas native and her husband, Quentin, who hails from Louisiana, it was the perfect opportunity to move closer to their families.
She had found her way to Asbury after sensing a call to ministry while on a retreat in New Mexico with the Wesley Foundation. At the time, the Texas Tech University undergrad was studying exercise and sport science. Though raised in the Methodist Church, a career in ministry was never something Michelle had considered before the retreat.
The theme of the weekend was “Hearing the voice of God,” a concept of which she was skeptical until one particular morning.
“I woke up and said ‘I’m going to try this thing. I’m going to go hear the voice of God,’” she says. “And I did. That’s when I got my calling to ministry. I had my Bible and I was thumbing through it. I don’t know what I was reading, but what I can now call the Spirit fell upon me, and I just knew what God had created me for.”
As Michelle was finishing seminary in 2016, she and Quentin began to seek the Lord about where they were headed next. Michelle began looking for a pastoral position, and once she visited The Loft and got a sense of where the community was headed, everything seemed to fall into place.
Michelle loves that part of her ministry at The Loft involves being with people in “the mud of their life” and partnering with them as they walk into abundant life.
“I’m not about doing ‘church as usual,’” she says. “I am not about walking into a church and going about like nothing’s wrong, playing that game. I’m ready to be real. I think this coming generation is ready to connect with one another in the ‘mud’ of their life.”
She’s also excited that The Loft’s leadership shares this commitment to honesty and transparency in community and is seeking to make that the culture at the church.
“I care about people who are hurting and people who are maybe their own worst enemy, and they just don’t know how to get out of the rat race,” she says. “I’m a product of a transformative community — first and foremost my college ministry, and then also what went on in the seminary for me. So I believe that when we live amongst other believers, we cannot stay the same and we do not stay the same. We are changed.”
Michelle is married to Quentin, whom she met while at Asbury Theological Seminary.