Service Times

Saturday - 6:00pm

Sundays - 9:30am & 11:00am

Each service offers childcare for infants and toddlers. Pre-Kindergarten ages meet in designated areas within the main building. Check-In is in the Cafe.

TAB KIDS (K-4th grades) meets next door in the Firehouse.

FIREHOUSE STUDENT MINISTRIES and TAB KIDS Children’s Ministry are held at the Buckley Campus on Wednesday nights. For more information go to the Ministries Tab on the website.

The Buckley Campus also houses all of the offices of the Tabernacle. Office Hours are Monday-Thursday 9am – 1pm. Our phone number is (231) 269-4190.

About the Tabernacle

The Tabernacle is a group of imperfect people desiring to be changed by the love & grace of a perfect God. We gather on Sundays to worship Jesus, then scatter to our communities as missionaries throughout the week.

God is using the Tabernacle to change lives, growing the church from less than 50 people to over 600. Although located in the barbarian wilderness of Northern Michigan, the Tabernacle has a God-sized vision to Change Lives.


Only sinners are welcome at the Tabernacle. Young, old, country, urban, families, singles; we’re all welcome! Biblical preaching is central to each service, straightforward and plainspoken. The worship experience puts the focus on Christ, and Christ alone. The dress is casual, the atmosphere is friendly, and there are no secret handshakes. If anybody is mean to you when you visit us, let us know, and we’ll be sure to “punch them in the mouth”.


The Tabernacle is about Changed Lives, and focuses on Loving God & Loving People, teaching them to follow Jesus and labor for his kingdom. We are a non-denominational Bible church that strives to be culturally relevant while remaining theologically conservative.

We believe the Bible is God’s Word to all people, inerrant in the original, infallible, God-breathed, and our final authority for faith & life.

We believe in the Trinity, one God eternally existing in 3 persons: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit – all co-eternal in being & nature, co-equal in power, glory, & attributes.

We believe in Jesus, the Son of God, conceived by the Spirit, born of a virgin, fully man & fully God, sinless, suffered & died as a sacrifice for the sins of all who believe. He defeated Satan, sin & death by his bodily resurrection, and now sits at God’s right hand interceding on our behalf.

We believe the Holy Spirit baptizes believers at conversion into the Body of Christ. The Spirit regenerates us, convicts of sin, teaches, comforts, guides and seals Christians unto the day of redemption.

We believe Salvation is received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and his blood shed on the cross. It is the only way of salvation and cannot be earned through our own efforts.

We believe that Man was created in God’s image, but freely chose to rebel against God, infecting all mankind and creation with sin, and is entirely unable to remedy his lost condition.

We believe the Church is the body of Christ, a spiritual organism including all born-again persons. The local church is a community of baptized believers committed to the teachings of Jesus and seeking to bring the Gospel to the world, working together in love & unity.

We believe that Spiritual Gifts are bestowed by God for service to others & ministry in the church. However, gifts are neither essential, nor are proof of the Holy Spirit’s presences or an indication of a deeper spiritual experience.

We believe that Eternity is destined for every human being, either eternally separated from God in Hell, or in union with God in Heaven. Jesus will return on a day known only to God, and will judge the living and the dead.

(Click Here – for the full Statement of Faith)

The Tabernacle DNA

The Tabernacle operates with a unique code of values that shape the culture of our church, and how we choose to operate:

We love Jesus. We worship, follow, and obey Jesus as our prophet, priest, and king. He is our hero, our example, and our Senior Pastor.

We Are About Changed Lives. We help Seekers become Believers, teach Believers to become Followers, and challenge Followers to become Laborers.

We love God & love people. The Great Commandment is pretty simple really, but we seek to live it out inside & outside the church.

We Will Defend the Big Rocks. We prioritize the “Big Rocks” of Christianity, leaving room for differences of opinion on secondary issues of theology.

We Are Dominoes. God uses people to reach people, and we believe that any person can be used by God, as a “domino” in His saving process.

We Are Cracked Pots. We are “jars of clay” that have cracks and imperfections. Saved by grace alone, we are called to show grace to others.

We Are Barbarians. We trust God & take risks, fearlessly living for the King; rejecting religion, apathy, and the safety of the American dream.

We Challenge Men. Men & women are created equal, but men are called out to take responsibility for themselves, their wives, their children, and their church.

We Give Ourselves Away. We give generously, investing our money, time, and resources in the good works God has prepared and saved us for.

We Are All About the Numbers. Every number represents a life. Our lives have been changed, and we intend to change as many lives as we can.

We Let the Holy Spirit be the Holy Spirit. We correct & rebuke on clear matters of sin, but trust God to convict & guide believers on wisdom issues.

We Are United By What We are For. What we are against is secondary to what we are for: Jesus, the power of His love, grace, and mercy to all men.

The Story

The Tabernacle was born almost 90 years ago when a series of tent-revivals in Buckley birthed a small Sunday school class. After initially meeting in a private home, numbers grew, people gave, and a second-hand church building was purchased – hauled to the present location by horses. A solid foundation was established by the grace of God, and on the backs of Bible-believing, salt-of-the-earth Christians.

Over the years, growth seasons and difficult seasons came and went, but not much changed at the Tabernacle. Like many rural churches, the challenges of becoming a growing, dynamic, and creative church seemed too great, and the comfort of the status quo beckoned. But God had other plans, and the past 5 years of dramatic growth have required an expansion to multiple services, and venues.

The word tabernacle means, “a meeting place of worship; either fixed or movable, temporary or permanent, such as a large tent or building.” Our church is called the Tabernacle, but it’s not about a building, it’s a community of believers passionate about loving God & loving people. We’re excited and humbled to be a part of the exciting things God is doing in our church and communities, and want to be faithful to God’s call to teach people to follow Jesus and labor for His Kingdom.


John Vermilya

Lead Pastor

A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, John has traveled and ministered extensively across the globe. Prior to joining the staff at the Tabernacle, John played pro soccer for the Charlotte Eagles (USL) and served for over a decade with Missionary Athletes International, leading soccer ministry tours internationally. John is also currently an Itinerant Speaker with Kingdom Building Ministries and travels nationally speaking to stir Christians to embrace a life of passion and purpose by actually becoming a follower of Christ with all the unpredictability and risk that it entails.

John lives in Buckley, Michigan, with his wife, Darcey, and their children, Isabel, Lilian, Sophie, Gabrielle and Benjamin. The son of missionary parents, John grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He enjoys golf, college football and English Premiere League soccer. On October 16th, 2016, John Vermilya finally shot his first buck.

Tim Burgess

Campus Pastor

Tim is a Northern Michigan native. He loves to study, preach, listen to loud music, play video games, watch the garden grow and hang out with friends late into the evening/morning. Tim finished High School, has attended a couple of colleges, but has no degree, “other than my experiences in life” as Tim says. Tim is very happily married and still in love with the smartest, most beautiful follower of Jesus he knows. Tim has 4 amazing children: Dan, Marc, Jake and Corrie.

Message from Tim: In our journey through this life there are three choices: we are either moving forward, sliding backward or we are dead. There is no such thing as standing still. Following Jesus is, in my mind, the most intelligent choice as he gives courage to those who move forward, mercy to those who slide backward and life when we die. I am blessed to have my position at the Tabernacle and I absolutely love the people God has put in my life on this part of the journey.

Kit Potter

Executive Pastor

Kit has lived in Northern Michigan since the age of 6 and has loved every minute of it. Kit is the son of a Pastor but chose to go into the secular business field instead of ministry, owning his own business and working in operations of several companies for 12 years until God called him to The Tabernacle to become the Executive Pastor.

Kit lives in Buckley,Mi with his wife of 13 years Heather and their twins, Paige and Brady. Kit enjoys playing golf, watching sports and spending time in the outdoors with fishing and hunting.

Thought: It does not matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water. No matter how troublesome life can become, you are in control of your emotions, decisions and outlooks on situations. Try not to dwell on how empty or full your life, or the lives of others, might be. Believing that God has given you the power to control how much water is poured into the glass of life is a powerful skill.

Brian Williams

Worship Pastor

Brian has been involved in worship for over 10 years. He and his wife Leah have 4 children, Carson, Jordan, Lyla, and Alayna. He loves sports, specifically the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Lions, and is an avid Michigan fan. He enjoys playing guitar, spending time with family, and playing sports in his free time.

A Message from Brian: God can use anyone of any background. I have never taken a guitar lesson, I have never taken a voice lesson, I do not own a ministry degree, and I probably have no idea what I’m doing. But somehow, God has seen fit to allow me to take on this role. God continues to use uneducated, unqualified, ordinary people just like me and you. So let’s all be unqualified together and do something awesome for His glory!

Karol Garrison

Student Ministries Pastor

Karol (pronounced Carl) Garrison, and his wife Judith, recently moved to Northern Michigan after a brief stay in a faraway land called Florida. Both are Michigan natives from the Lansing area. They met in church and with a healthy push from mutual friends, decided to have lunch. If there were a resume of faith, Judith would be a turning point for Karol…

Youth has often been a natural gravitation for Karol, and will often refer to himself as a “big kid.” Judith is a natural songbird and has often found herself on stage leading in worship.

Karol has worn many hats to include actor, writer, Helicopter Rescue Swimmer, filmmaker, military officer, skateboarder, and surfer. But of all the hats, nothing has been more challenging or rewarding than being married to Judith. They expect their first child in November.

Tracy Romzek

Children's Pastor

Tracy has been attending The Tabernacle since 2004 and volunteered in many areas before joining the staff in August of 2016.  Tracy discovered her passion for working with children on her first missions trip to Haiti in the spring of 2015.  Following that, she began serving with TabKids in the Wednesday night programming, weekend services and with summer camp events.  When you partner her energy and enthusiasm, her willingness to have fun and be silly and her passion for Jesus, Children’s Pastor is the perfect fit.  Tracy also serves within The Tabernacle for special events and Haiti missions.

Tracy attended Lake Superior State University, studying secondary education and has a strong employment background in business management and team development.  She is married to Mike and they have five children.  Having only three left at home, Tracy also enjoys being a grandmother of three.

Heidi Burgess

Campus Ministries Assistant

Heidi Burgess is eternally grateful to be the wife of Tim Burgess and grateful to serve with Tim in the campus ministry. Not formally trained for ministry Heidi has spent much of her adult life running hard after Jesus and loving on His people. Heidi loves studying, learning and teaching as well as meeting women for coffee, tea, lunch or a long walk with or without their darling children. Growing up a tom boy, it has taken Heidi awhile to appropriately value girlfriends and is now making up for lost time, loving the women of all walks of life that God puts in her path.

Heidi has four children: Dan, Marc, Jake, and Corrie. Heidi has always had a passion for helping others; whether it be at work or ministry.

Darcey Vermilya

Women's Ministry Director

Darcey was born and raised in Buckley and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University. Shortly after marrying John, they moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where she worked in Medical Technology. She and John served on the staff of Missionary Athletes International for ten years before moving back to Buckley in 2003. Darcey & John have five children: Isabel, Lilian, Sophie, Gabrielle and Benjamin. She is currently the managing Vice-president of the Vermilya Household. Darcey enjoys good coffee and her favorite authors include Henri Nouwen & Brennan Manning.

Mat Luce

Director of Outreach & Development

Mat is a recent transplant to Northern Michigan, moving to Buckley in 2015 from Knoxville TN. A graduate of The University of the South with a degree in Classical Languages, Mat taught Latin for several years before becoming the Director of Development at The Episcopal School of Knoxville.

Prior to his collegiate experience, Mat served as a Missionary on a community development project in southern Kenya, working with the Maasai people.

In 2009, Mat married his high school sweetheart. Mat and Iris have one daughter, Vera Ruth, who is the joy of their lives.

Mat loves the outdoors, particularly hiking, biking and fishing.

Quote from Mat: In my experience, I find that even in our hardest times, if we are truly introspective, we will discover that God has already prepared us for the trials at hand, and that He is walking with us every step of the way.

John Williams

Campus Pastor

John is  the son of a Baptist Pastor and grew up in a Christian home.  As a teen he rebelled and tried to do things his way until his foster brother, who was his best friend, was drafted and sent to Vietnam.  It was there that he lost his life.  At that point, John gave his life fully to God.

After working in management for 30 years at Amway, John felt God calling him to full time ministry.  God closed the door at Amway and opened a new one in ministry.  John, and his wife Barb, had always been involved in ministry their entire marriage.  What they felt was a natural fit to go in to full time ministry was not as easy as they assumed it would be.  John attended three different colleges, the final one being Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music.  John has previously been a Youth Pastor and an Associate Pastor at churches in the Grand Rapids area.

John’s passions are working with people and pointing them to Jesus Christ and whatever else is needed in order to bring God the greatest glory.  His life verse is Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

John has been married to his wife Barb since 1973.  Together, they have 6 children, 4 of which live in Michigan, 1 in Colorado, and 1 who went to live in heaven at 2 1/2 years old.

Statement of Faith

The Triune God We believe that the one and only true God is Spirit; self existent, eternal, infinite, personal, and unchangeable; perfect in every good attribute and work; omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; creator and sustainer of all things; eternally existent in three persons Father; Son and Holy Spirit. (Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 32:4; Matthew 28:19)

God the Father We believe that the Father is self-existent, neither begotten nor proceeding; the external Father of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Author of salvation; the Father of all who are begotten into newness of life through faith in Christ. (Psalm 90:2; 1 Peter 1:3)

God the Son We believe in the Deity of Christ; in His eternal generation from the Father; in His incarnation, whereby He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, thereby uniting the divine and the human nature in His one unique person; in His sinless life and His vicarious death to make atonement for the sins of the world; in His bodily resurrection and ascension to the Father; in His present mediatorial work for the believer; and in His imminent coming in power and glory.
(Hebrews 1:8; Acts 2:22-25)

God the Spirit We believe in the Holy Spirit as the person of the Holy Trinity who lives within the believer. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, empowers us to live a holy life, counsels, comforts and guides us in truth. (John 15:26 and Acts 15:8 & 9)

3.2      The Bible
We believe that the Bible, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the word of God given by divine inspiration, inerrant in the original manuscript, and is the unchanging authority in matters of Christian faith and practices.
(John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; and Peter 1:20 & 21)

3.3      Man
We believe that mankind was created by God, in His own image, but because of Adam’s sin (disobedience) man inherits a corrupt nature that inclines him to do wrong. Man cannot save himself by his own will or works (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 3; Romans 5:12)

3.4      Salvation
Salvation is accomplished by Grace, through Faith. Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, was given by God as a sacrifice for the sins of all men. Christ died on the cross to mend the relationships between God and man which has been broken by man’s sin of disobedience. Belief and faith in Jesus Christ, recognizing Him as Lord and Savior, gives men and women the free gift of eternal life. (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:22-24; Romans 10:9-10; and Ephesians 2:8-9)

3.5      Sanctification
We believe that sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit to cleanse the heart, indwell the person of the believer, and direct and empower a life dedicated to the will of God. (1 Corinthians 1:30-31: Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)

3.6      The Church
We believe that the invisible and universal church is an organism composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who have been called out from the world, separated from sin, and vitally united by faith to Christ, its head and sovereign Lord. (Ephesians 1:22,23; Hebrews 12:23)

3.7      The Second Coming of Christ [Heaven and Hell]
We believe that those who have not accepted Christ as their personal Savior and are unrepentant, will be judged by God in His perfect justice and doomed to eternal punishment. We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ to receive His believers into heaven and eternal life. The time of His return is unknown but may be at any moment. This is the glorious hope of all of God’s children. (Matthew 25:31-46; Corinthians 15:50-54; 2 Corinthians 5:10; John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

Constitution & By-Laws