Former surfer Michael Tracy, pastor of New Beginnings Assembly of God in Harker Heights, describes his church as “fun loving” with a serious side of community outreach. Although his surfing days are behind him, Tracy still has the upbeat personality of a surfer and enjoys people from all walks of life.

“I began in the ministry in 1991, and I love people of all cultures,” Tracy said.

As a young man raised in Palm Beach County, Florida, Tracy was an avid surfer.

“I washed and waxed cars while my friends worked lower paying jobs,” he said. “In this way I could afford to spend free time surfing the waves.”

He was content to drive his old Honda prelude complete with open sun-roof and music playing, yet there was still that emptiness, he said. Tracy did not regularly go to church, but he did attend a Christian school.

The turning point in his life came when a friend invited him to a home Bible study where he heard a man talk about a personal relationship with God and leading people to Christ.

Tracy thought, “I want what this man has,” and gave his life to Jesus

Later, he moved to Tulsa, Okla. to enroll in ministry at Oral Roberts University, where he met his wife Neely. They both entered the ministry together in 1991.

“I came from wealth, financially, but I enjoyed working with day laborers,” Tracy said. “I am at home with all cultures and walks of life.”

Before coming to Harker Heights, the Tracys were youth pastors in Cleveland, Tenn., associate pastors in Watauga near Fort Worth and ventured to help with a church revitalization project in Aledo. They have three sons ages 19, 14 and 9.

Tracy said he is a positive person, a trait he inherited from his mother. Staying positive has helped him in ministry, he said, citing King David of the Old Testament.

“I encourage myself in the Lord when there are obstacles in ministry.”

He also keeps journals with scripture and answered prayers from past days to give him encouragement that all things are possible with faith in God.

Mary Stone has been a member of New Beginnings for seven years. She said Tracy has introduced new and fresh ideas to the church and endeared himself to the congregation.

“He is not long-winded, and he is loved by all,” Stone said.

Tracy’s short-term goal is building a charter school on the church grounds. His long-term goal is for the church to grow in order to minister to small and struggling churches that need helping hands.

“We are here for working, everyday folks, and we want to help broken lives find a ‘New Beginning,’” Tracy said.

New Beginnings Church is at 859 Copperhead Circle, Harker Heights.

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