Of all the accomplishments and titles I have earned in my life, perhaps my favorite achievement is being named “the best fixer” by my 3 year old son, Nate (although I was pretty excited the day I won the title “husband” too). Our son has provided Carol and I with more amazement and exhaustion than we ever could have imagined. His ability to swell my heart with pride is only matched by his knack for teaching me humility (these lessons are usually taught in crowded public places like church services or the Wal-Mart parking lot). He is a constant adventure.
I moved to Columbia in July of 2012 when my wife was called as the Senior Pastor. Originally we did not intend to both serve here at First Baptist, but through God’s grace and the trust of this congregation, it became possible for both of us to serve in this faith family. As a ministry couple, we are constantly amazed at how God uses our gifts to complement one another and accomplish far more than either of us could ever attempt alone.
Serving as the Associate Pastor to Youth, College, and Missions is a wonderful fulfillment of the calling God has placed on my life. I have been active in leading Student Ministry for over 14 years (serving previously at Stonegate Community Church in Waco TX, First Baptist Church in Augusta GA, and First Baptist Church in Knoxville TN). My passion is to help students encounter their Creator and move from simple understandings about God to a well examined, undeniable relationship with Christ.
Serving as the Missions leader allows me to help shape how our church puts our faith into practice both inside and outside of our walls. I love to travel and to experience the beauty of our Christian community around the world. My heart for missions began with my first mission trip to Belize when I was in 8th grade and has lead me to see God’s Kingdom at work in places like: Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia, Juarez Mexico, Basel Switzerland, Cakovek Craotia, and Johannesburg South Africa. Connecting with believers around the world shines the light on our need to share Christ’s love with those in our own community. Our partnerships with local ministries here in Columbia help us to live out our faith through service and love.
My faith journey began in my parent’s Methodist church but has been shaped by the revivals of my grandparent’s Baptist church, numerous VBS experiences at my neighbors Presbyterian church growing up, countless life lessons from caring adults and leaders at a non-denominational church youth group, many summers at church camp, professors at Carson Newman College who helped me to understand my faith more deeply, and a seminary experience at Truett Seminary that encouraged and equipped me to step into vocational ministry. Through this journey I developed a strong sense of what I believe, while nurturing a healthy respect for what I can learn from those who understand God differently than I do. It has been an invaluable experience.
Currently I am working on my Doctorate of Ministry at Fuller Seminary in Youth, Family, and Culture. I hope to finish my degree in 2015. My research has focused on the changes to the world of adolescence and how the church can respond. In a society that is losing adult presence and influence in the lives of youth, it is imperative that our student ministries partner with parents to create positive and meaningful ways for adults to invest in our young people and build community across generations. This is a vital calling for the future of the Church.