Our Pastors
Pastor John Gawrisch, Star of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, New Berlin, WI

Pastor John Gawrisch
jgawrisch@starofbethlehem.org

 
I have had the privilege of serving as a pastor at Star of Bethlehem since 1983.
There have been 
many reasons to give thanks to the Lord for his blessings over the years.
One highlight would be the 
dedication of our new worship facility in 2004.
 
Personal Background
 
My wife, Wendy, and I have 6 children and now 10 grandchildren. Our children all went through Star of
Bethlehem’s Lutheran Elementary School and Wisconsin Lutheran High School. Wendy is the Principal’s
Administrative Assistant at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. I enjoy family, fishing, coaching men’s
sports programs, grilling, our Seniors Group, and our Star of Bethlehem family.
 
Education and Experience
  • I attended Northwestern Preparatory School in Watertown, WI for high school.
  • I graduated from Northwestern College in Watertown, WI in 1974.
  • I attended and graduated from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1978, where my father served as a professor.
  • Prior to coming to Star of Bethlehem, I served for 5 years as the pastor of King of Kings Lutheran Church, a mission congregation in Little Rock, AR.
Curriculum
 
In the 7th and 8th Grade Confirmation Classes, we use a 2-year series entitled, Confirmed in the Faith.
We use the Bible a great deal, Luther’s Small Catechism, and train our students to listen to sermons on
the weekends.
 
Other Areas of Service in the Church and School
  • I have served as a Circuit Pastor, Metro-North Conference Chairman, Spiritual Growth Advisor of the National Board of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society, twice a member of the Board of Directors at Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Wisconsin Lutheran High School Foundation Board, the High School’s Nominating Committee, Southeastern Wisconsin District Nominating Committee, a Vice-President of the Northwestern College Alumni Society and a member of the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Alumni Society.
  • I have served as the League Director for the Star Men’s Basketball League, which consists of our own men’s basketball team and other teams from our area WELS churches.
  • I have also continued to coach our men’s softball team, which participates in a recreational league that is run by the New Berlin Parks and Recreation Department on Tuesday nights during the summer.

Pastor Jonathan Nitz 
jnitz@starofbethlehem.org


It is a joy to serve God’s people here at Star of Bethlehem with the Means of Grace! I have been blessed
by the Lord with this opportunity since 1998. It is a special privilege for me to work with the young
people of the congregation, from preschool to grade school to high school and beyond.

Personal Background

I am a third generation pastor. My wife, Stephanie, and I, have been happily married since 1989. We
have blessed with three children; Joshua, Caleb, and Marah. I enjoy staying active by running and
cycling, and am beginning to add in some swimming, with the goal of doing an Ironman in 2014.

Education and Experience

  • My training to become a pastor began at Arizona Lutheran Academy, Phoenix.
  • Following high school, I attended Northwestern College in Watertown, WI, from 1982-1986.
  • After graduating from NWC, my training continued at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI.
  • Following graduation from the Seminary (1990), I was called to serve as pastor of two
    congregations in western Minnesota.
  • I have served as associate pastor at Star of Bethlehem Lutheran Church since 1998.

Curriculum

In the 7th and 8th Grade Confirmation Classes, we use a 2-year series entitled, Confirmed in the Faith.
We use the Bible a great deal, Luther’s Small Catechism, and train our students to listen to sermons on
weekends.

In the Sunday morning Teen Bible Study, we incorporate topical study of the Scriptures to help our young
people to be grounded in the truth of God’s Word. During the 2012-13 school year we are looking at the
differences between different Christian churches, as well as the differences between Christianity and
other world religions.

Other Areas of Service in the Church and School

  • I coach the runners of Star of Bethlehem’s grade school Cross Country team.
  • I also serve as the Administrator/Treasurer for the Star Bowling League.
  • I accompany the Praise Band on bass guitar.
     

Pastor Jacob Schwartz
jschwartz@starofbethlehem.org
(262) 786-2900 ext.124

I am new to Star of Bethlehem as of October of 2016. I am very much looking forward to the many ministry opportunities that our gracious God has placed before me here in New Berlin!

Personal Background

My wife, Jamie, and I have 4 children, 2 girls and 2 boys. The oldest ones are in preK and Kindergarten and are very much enjoying their new church and school home here at Star of Bethlehem. Jamie stays at home with the younger children. I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids, participating in and watching many different sports (especially football and basketball), and talking to people about our Savior. 

Education and Experience
  • I attended Luther Preparatory School (LPS) in Watertown, WI for high school.
  • I graduated from Martin Luther College (MLC) in New Ulm, MN in 2008.
  • I attended and graduated from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2012.
  • Prior to coming to Star of Bethlehem, I served for 4 years as the pastor of two churches in northeast Michigan, Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church in Lincoln, MI and St. John Ev. Lutheran Church in Mio, MI.
Curriculum

In the 7th and 8th Grade Confirmation Classes, we use a 2-year series entitled, Confirmed in the Faith. We spend the majority of our time in God's Word, learning what he teaches us there and then applying it to our daily Christian lives. To accomplish this, we also use Luther’s Small Catechism, as it teaches the truths of God's word in a very straight forward and simple way. We also train our students to listen to sermons on the weekends.

Other Areas of Service in the Church and School

Here at Star of Bethlehem I have been called to oversee the following areas of ministry:
  • Outreach, where we seek to carry out Jesus' Great Commission, that all believers go and share the good news of Jesus Christ with all the world. We do this on the local scale through outreach efforts, programs and events here in New Berlin, and on a global scale through our offerings which help support the work of missionaries around the world.
  • Family, where we seek to help families understand God's purpose and role in the lives and by offering classes and programs to help strengthen the Christian homes of God's people.
  • Youth, where we seek to minister to the young adults of our congregation by strengthening and building them up in their faith and Christian living through Bible Classes, get-togethers and fellowship opportunities, and service projects and trips, all the while working to connect them to and show them their part in the Church.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" ~ John 3:16