Steve and Charlene Michaels

Steve and Charlene Michaels

Steve graduated from Georgetown University and served three years active duty in the U.S. Army.  He was led to the Lord by a college student and experienced a dramatic conversion to a real faith in Jesus Christ.  Steve received divine direction to State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University. He began doing outdoor preaching. He became a member of the local State College Assemblies of God church, pastored by Rex Bornman. Rex asked Steve to organize a XA group at Penn State. Steve would direct XA a from 1980 to 1985. During that time, he met and married Charlene Bernhardt in 1984 who had come to PSU from Evangel University to pursue a Masters degree.  

In 1990, Pastor Arnold Lastinger invited Steve to preach two services at the First Assembly of God in Gainesville, Florida. He was looking for someone to develop XA at the University of Florida. The pastor then referred him to the AG Peninsular Florida District Council (PFDC) in Lakeland for an interview. The district presbyters approved Steve as the first full-time XA campus minister in Pen Florida.

Steve and Charlene implemented the XA principles of prayer, worship, discipleship, fellowship, and evangelism as a foundation for university ministry. XA meetings were held on campus. Student leaders equipped their peers for spiritual growth.  Bible studies met in dorms and apartments. Those with musical gifts led in worship. Over the years, hundreds of students participated in the UF XA ministry. They witnessed salvations, water baptisms, fillings with the Holy Spirit, and healings. 

  Chi Alpha students at the University  of Florida

UF influences students from many nations and cultures and with a diversity of backgrounds. For twenty-five years (1991 – 2016), they directed XA at UF. In 2016 Steve (age 71) and Charlene stepped away from full-time XA to focus on international students and scholars representing fourteen nations. Through the years, UF XA students have traveled to fifteen countries on mission trips. Here at home, students helped hurricane victims in New Orleans and migrant workers in South Florida.  

The global impact of campus ministry is represented by a journalist who came to UF from Taiwan on a Fulbright scholarship. Her major was media management. One day, she called the Michaels to let them know that she was setting aside three days to seek the Lord, and wanted to meet to talk about the Holy Spirit. She received the baptism with the Holy Spirit in the Michaels living room after a Bible teaching from Acts! This scholar returned to her nation knowing that Jesus gave “power from on high” to be a witness to her unsaved family and her nation.

National XA provided the Michaels with an opportunity to fulfill God’s assignment. The network of relationships and oversight helped them to continue these many years. Steve explained, “We are grateful to the Lord, our supporters, and all the college students who made this mission an exciting adventure!” At 75, Steve’s ministerial credential card reads, “Senior Retired,” however he and Charlene continue to minister to internationals as retirees.

Related Posts
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *