MIDLAND Michael Gordon “Mike” Crowley Jr. had long thought the stories of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts who had turned their lives around were much more interesting than his, but in counseling a man like that who ultimately became a Christian, he found that his own shortcomings were equally compelling.

“Every Christian struggles as an addict to sin,” said Crowley, minister of Fairmont Park Church of Christ. “We struggle with relationships, money and being overscheduled, and I found that my story was just as powerful as his.”

Crowley is a 47-year-old native of North Little Rock, Ark., who lived in Idaho and Missouri before graduating from high school in Garden City, Kan., and earning a degree in Bible at Lubbock Christian University, where he did two years of graduate work in New Testament studies. He and his wife Rut have two children and a grandchild.

Crowley’s father is a minister in Matador, 95 miles east of Lubbock. His mom’s name is Judy Ann. He has two sisters.

His 3813 N. Midland Dr. church averages 500 people at its 8:15 and 9:30 a.m. Sunday services.

Often preaching from the Gospels, especially the Book of Matthew, Crowley said, “I love being in the Gospels and following Jesus around.

“If you don’t know who Jesus is, the rest of the Bible doesn’t make sense. I’m fascinated not only with what Jesus does but how he does it. Sometimes he speaks, sometimes he uses his hands and sometimes he spits to make mud.”

Crowley preached at churches in Houston, Modesto, Calif. and Sweetwater until arriving at Fairmont Park three years ago.

He rides a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle and has a pilot’s license, and he has participated in marathons, triathlons and long range shooting contests. For the past two years, he has been building a single-engine ICP Savannah airplane. His wife is an Argentinean.

“When God comes to the Garden of Eden and visits with Adam, can you imagine Adam turning around and asking, ‘What have you been doing?’” Crowley asked. “I can’t imagine that kind of access.

“God created everything by speaking and upholds everything by his presence. So reality is the mind or thoughts of God. Heaven is in him and his presence.”

Tim Hall, an elder at the Fourth and Elm Church of Christ in Sweetwater, said Crowley “is very creative with a fertile imagination and is a really gifted preacher.

“Mike has a wide array of interests and a great sense of humor,” Hall said. “I’m not sure if there is anything he doesn’t like to do, so he appeals to a broad range of people. He is at home with anybody. It doesn’t matter what their walk in life is.”