A man’s “before and after” spur him on to become a pastor and share the message of salvation.
Julie K. Wietzke
Nick Mount, a new pastor serving in Nebraska, loves to tell people about Jesus.
Maybe that doesn’t surprise you. I mean, what pastor doesn’t love to share the good news of salvation?
But Nick has a unique perspective: He didn’t always have faith.
“Members say, ‘He’s so enthusiastic,’ says Diana Mount, Nick’s wife. “I say, ‘Of course he is. It’s because he has a before and an after.’ ”
Nick adds, “I know what it’s like to be without faith, and I know how scary that can be.”
But he also knows the peace and joy that came from learning about God’s undeserved love for sinners. And that’s a message he wants to share with everyone.
Although he was baptized as a baby in the Lutheran church, Nick didn’t grow up going to church. His parents divorced when he was eight months old, and he lived with his mother. “My mom’s side of the family was Catholic, and there was no emphasis on going to church,” he says.
Although his dad would take him and his brothers to worship and Sunday school when they visited, for the most part Nick grew up in a household where God’s Word wasn’t present. “My mother’s side of the family had a bigger influence on me because I lived with my mom,” he says.
When Nick graduated from high school, he joined the military. After serving for five years, including two tours of duty overseas, he returned to Wisconsin where he grew up.
Nick decided to live with his father and go back to college, but it was a struggle for him to acclimate to civilian life. “I remember feeling lonely and disconnected from the community. I was nearing depression,” he says. “The whole time there was always something missing.”
His father continued to share God’s Word with him over the next two years, but Nick wasn’t quite ready to believe it. “Going to church wasn’t something that I was hostile to, but it wasn’t something I did,” he says. “Things were starting to make sense, but I didn’t know what to do with my life. I didn’t know what to do with my sin. I kept thinking, I’m a mess. What am I going to do about this?”
Finally, not knowing what else to do, he started praying.
“A captive audience”
A few weeks later, Nick was out celebrating the end of the school year with his friends. As they were driving to a party, he was having an intense conversation with the driver about the existence of God. “Just as I was saying, ‘No, there has to be a God,’ right at that moment, we were hit by a drunk driver—a head-on collision,” he says.
Nicholas woke up in the emergency room, not knowing what had happened. He had broken his tibia and fibula and had hit his head on the windshield. His dad nursed him back to health, the whole time sharing God’s Word with him. “I was a captive audience,” Nick jokes.
But God worked through the Word, and Nick started going to church and Bible instruction class.
“I had to be thrust back into the kingdom,” he says. “Ever since the car accident my life just went in a completely different trajectory. I can’t completely express what happened.”
He continues, “You look back at the terrible things that happen in life and you realize that they can be the greatest blessings because my life completely changed at that point.”
Besides going to church, he started getting involved at the Point of Grace, a WELS campus ministry for Milwaukee-area college students. There he met other believers—including his wife, Diana. “I look back and see how faithful God is,” he says. “The people I hung out with prior to the accident for the most part weren’t believers at all. But God just kept bringing people into my life who were believers so I was being nurtured.”
At that time, Nick still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. After he and Diana married in 2006, he even mentioned going to Martin Luther College to study for the ministry. But the couple dismissed the idea, and Nicolas finally decided to become a speech therapist. He began pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
But that path left him dissatisfied—especially in light of his newfound faith. “I wanted to help people [as a speech therapist], but [I felt] if I can’t tell them about Jesus am I really helping them?” he says. He began witnessing to people he met at St. Joseph’s hospital, where he worked as a security guard in the evenings. “Nick would look for every opportunity to share Jesus,” says Diana. “He would spend his shifts witnessing to people. I think that was his training ground.”
Finally in 2012, Nick dropped out of his master’s program and again began talking about becoming a pastor. Things fell into place, and the couple decided to take a leap of faith and move their young family first to New Ulm and then to Milwaukee so Nick could study for the ministry. “We knew if we didn’t do this now, we would never do it,” says Diana. “Those six years were hard, but the Lord supplied all our needs.” Nick graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2018.
The Mounts are quick to thank all those who helped them along the way. “We would not be able to do this if we would not have had support from countless Christians, countless WELS members, people we met along the way and people we never knew,” says Diana. “We didn’t have to ask for anything; it’s just God using people to provide for us.” That support came through prayers, encouragement, and monetary gifts.
Nick noticed that same community years ago when he first was coming to faith. “It wasn’t just one person; it was a patchwork of people helping me and sharing God’s Word with me,” he says.
He says that support—and also his varied life experiences—helped prepare him for the ministry. “I’ve been prepared from so many different places in my life,” says Nicholas. “The military gives you a lot of confidence to face the battle, but it doesn’t prepare you to deal with somebody as a loved child of God. I developed that compassion when working in the hospital.”
His firsthand knowledge of what it’s like living without faith also spurs him on to share God’s mercy and love with those who are struggling, including veterans. “These guys are coming out of the military with questions like, ‘Did I do the right thing?’ Or the guys in combat who think, Did I just murder somebody? . . . It’s so important to be there with God’s grace.”
That grace made an eternal difference in Nick’s life—a difference he is all too happy to share.
Author: Julie K. Wietzke
Volume 106, Number 7
Issue: July 2019