Pastor Joel Leyrer was born in Waukegan, IL. His family moved to Watertown, WI when he was four years old and to Milwaukee, WI when he was in eighth grade. Pastor Leyrer attended Northwestern Preparatory School (now Luther Preparatory School) in Watertown, WI, graduating in 1973 and Northwestern College, also in Watertown, graduating in 1977. He continued his ministry studies at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI, graduating in 1981.
Upon graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Pastor Leyrer was assigned to exploratory mission work in Perry, GA. During his time in Georgia, Sola Gratia Lutheran Church was established. In 1986, Pastor Leyrer accepted a call to Grace Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, IN. He served in Indianapolis until 1992, when he accepted a call to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye, MN. Pastor Leyrer was called to St. John’s, Wauwatosa, WI in August 1998.
Pastor Leyrer serves as the senior pastor of St. John’s. He is responsible for the overall spiritual growth and guidance of the congregation as well as administration and leadership training. Although his ministry extends through all areas of the congregation, he works primarily with the Boards of Elders, Stewardship, and Education. Pastor Leyrer serves the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod at large as the first vice president of the Southeastern Wisconsin District. He is also a member of the Boards of Directors for Wisconsin Lutheran High School and the Wisconsin Lutheran Historical Society.
In 1978, Pastor Leyrer married Lorna. They have been blessed with five adult children and four grandchildren. He enjoys reading, watching sports, spending time with family, and traveling and has been to Malawi, Norway, Greece, China, and Mexico.
One of his greatest joys as a pastor is watching God at work in the lives of his people. Pastor Leyrer is thankful for the opportunities to teach and interact with congregation members. His vision and prayer for St. John’s is that we be a Great Commission church – one that is consciously dedicated to nurturing believers in Jesus Christ and reaching out to those who don’t yet know of his saving love.
office phone: 414.258.7831