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Tom Bartmer, senior pastor

Tom is a native of Chicago, IL, and has lived in the surrounding area his entire life.  Born to German parents, much of his childhood was spent in Kenosha, WI, just north of the Illinois border.  During this time, Tom’s introduction to matters of God and spirituality came from his Lutheran upbringing.  During his enrollment in a Lutheran church’s catechism, Tom was inwardly confronted with his need for Christ as his Savior and Lord.  Just moments before his baptismal service, Tom put his faith and trust in Christ and received His gift of salvation at the age of twelve.

Several years of typical rebellious teenage-years passed when, in 1984, God re-ignited Tom’s passion for Him and the Christian life.  Through the ministry of Temple Baptist Church, Kenosha, WI, Tom re-dedicated his life to Christ in the summer of 1984.  Two years later, Tom sensed God’s call to pastor, to which he responded by giving himself to the priority of preparing for the ministry.  He did so through various discipleship training courses and frequent opportunities to preach and teach at Temple Baptist and other churches in Kenosha.

It was also during his time at Temple that he met and fell in love with Sharon.  They were married in June of 1987.  Tom, together with Sharon and her three children, which she had from a previous marriage, continued to serve faithfully at Temple for the next two years. 

In the summer of 1989, Tom’s first ministry experience in church planting opened its doors at a mission church in Burlington, WI that was about to disband.  The church’s desperate need for leadership prompted Tom and Sharon to give their service to New Covenant Baptist Church.  For three years, Tom served as the adult bible study teacher, church pianist, and preached at the Sunday night and Wednesday night services.  The church officially licensed Tom for the ministry in September 1990.  Tom and Sharon felt their work there had come came to a close when the church, having grown and strengthened, was able provide its own leadership within its ranks.

Ministry opportunities were opened for Tom in several churches thereafter, He was named interim pastor for a period of six months at First Baptist Church, Zion, IL and  chaired  the church's search committee as they looked for a permanent pastor.   During his time as interim pastor, Tom, along with his wife, instated the church’s AWANA program.   When the church hired its new pastor, Tom found other ministry opportunities, among them a youth pastorate of a sister church in Zion, IL.  

In the fall of 1995, Tom was accepted to the Moody Bible Institute, where he enrolled in the Pastoral Studies Program.  As practical ministry experience was required during this program, Tom had the opportunity to expand his experience with several other area churches by leading a single’s ministry, chairing a church development committee, and developing another AWANA program.  He also served as a marriage counselor, and supply preached for many of the Southern Baptist churches in the Lake County area.

In May of 1998, Tom graduated from Moody Bible Institute, earning a B.A. in Pastoral Studies.  He now serves as pastor of Lighthouse Church of Antioch in Antioch, IL.

In 2012, the long-time dream became reality when Tom and Sharon purchased a little farm in nearby Bristol, WI.  They raise a small flock of sheep and other animals, including chickens, goats and even a donkey.  Pastor Tom is now a shepherd in more ways than one.   Click on the link below to direct you to the Bear Valley Farm website for more information on the farm: