After completing studies as a Salvation Officer, and having been commissioned and ordained, in 1994 Michelle was appointed with her husband Rob, to the Salvation Army’s church plant, Sunnybank Queensland. It was during this period that Michelle witnessed God working in many people’s lives through the Alpha course, and other Christian education programs and, as a result, the church grew. While at Sunnybank, Michelle and Rob welcomed their first child into their family and also commenced studying a Bachelor of Ministries through the Australian College of Theology.
During 1998 Michelle and her husband, Rob were transferred to the Salvation Army’s Officer Training College (Bible College) to help train future ministers for leadership in Salvation Army churches and social programs. Michelle’s main roles were pastoral care of students, and helping students prepare and present sermons and church services.
After responding to God’s leading, Michelle moved with Rob and their young family to Moscow Russia to jointly lead an international Church for the Salvation Army. The congregation was made up of both Russians and expats from various countries including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Italy, France etc.
Michelle and Rob returned to Australia in 2003 and were given responsibilities within the Salvation Army’s public relations department in Sydney and then the leadership of the Dulwich Hill Salvation Army, an inner Sydney suburban Church
After a change in direction the Atherton’s moved back to Lismore (Michelle’s hometown) where they took on secure employment.
From 2007-2014 Michelle was employed by the Lismore Minister’s Fraternal where she was posted at Richmond River High School, initially as a Special Religious Education Teacher and later the position of chaplain was also included. It was during this period that Michelle discovered her love for working with teenagers.
At the beginning of 2015 Michelle took her present teaching position at Summerland Christian College where she enjoys sharing God’s love and hope with the students in her classroom whilst teaching mainstream subjects such as History and Geography.
As well as being employed as a teacher, Michelle and Rob have been Church Ministers at New Heights Christian Fellowship for the past five years as a tentmaker ministry.
Throughout the years, Michelle has found God faithful and wants to continue serving Him where He places her.