I was born into a Christian household. My mother and father (deceased) are both Christians and members of The Salvation Army, the church in which I grew in the knowledge of the Lord. I answered a call to follow Christ at a Salvation Army summer camp and served Him in my local church, in my community, and overseas in the Caribbean as a young man. During college, I met my wife Crystal. I am enamored by the grace that runs through her life, her strength and integrity, her compassionate faith that fights and speaks for those who can’t for themselves. She’s a social worker, a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, and a diligent keeper of our household. Our individual commitments to becoming more and more like Christ keep our marriage strong and vibrant, which is a hopeful reminder for our children. Three of our children are biologically ours, and the other three are ours by adoption following a kinship foster placement. In 2014, they came to live with us, and a series of events led to our finalization of their adoption in 2017. Six kids, all ours. Gifts from God within my quiver and a heritage unto Him.
My initial personal encounter with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ came when I was about 14. I grew up attending The Salvation Army, a church with a social service mission. It was there, on a Sunday night, I accepted the atoning work of Jesus during an evening meeting altar call. That following summer, I publicly committed my life to following Him. Soon, my life experience began to rapidly unfold. Although I accepted that Christ died in my place, believed that He was raised to life again, and confessed that I was a sinner in need of a savior, the repentance and regeneration was not clearly discussed or delivered to me until I began attending college some four years later. I spent much of my teen years wandering about, treating the Bible as a good novel I read as I had time, volunteering at my church, but entertaining the old life Paul wrote against in Ephesians 4. In college, as my understanding grew, so greatly did my faith. So, in summary, my relationship with Christ began on unsure footing. I had some life-dominating sins still hanging around, but by the grace of God, he sought to deliver me from those. These sorts of sins are damaging to a marriage, but God, who brings light to darkness (Genesis 1, 2 Corinthians 4:6), glorified Himself in the restoration of that marriage. Forgiveness and mercy were copious in my wife as we worked through things, but how much more the grace of God that renewed my life, after understanding more fully the futility of my own work and merit and the abundant grace in the substitute death of Jesus, miraculous power in His resurrection, and the merciful gifting and fruit-production of His Spirit in me. I’ve repented of my former life, putting off the old desires, renewing my mind each and every day — taking captive the thoughts that undermine godly character and putting them under His submission — and putting on the new self, created to be like Him for every good work.
As a family, we currently attend a Bible-teaching church that stands for the Truth of God’s word and encourages practical application in daily life and opportunities for sharing the love of Jesus and the power of His Gospel to both the body and to the lost in our community (Matthew 28). As the husband and father of the household, I seek to commit my day to the Lord in the morning (Psalm 63), to meditate on His word during daily study and throughout the agenda of my day (Psalm 119:10), to delight in fellowship with other believers whenever possible (Hebrews 10:25), to carry another’s burdens, along with all of my own, to the Lord in prayer (Romans 12:12), to seek justice and walk in humility (Micah 6:8), to glorify God through Christ Jesus in my manner, my speech, and the use of my gifts (1 Corinthians 10:31). I strive to show my wife Christ-like love (Ephesians 5), to carefully instruct and aim my children for independent adulthood (Proverbs 22:6, Colossians 3:21), to maintain a reputation in the world that is faultless and of high moral integrity (Titus 2:7, Matthew 5:16). As a family, we worship together, we study together, we pray together, we eat together, and we live together. All of this through the strength of Christ, the power of His Holy Spirit, the providence of God the Father, and my steadfast reliance on His grace (Hebrews 13:21).
We are members of this church, having attended since August, 2017. I am a pastoral intern for the church while I attend Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Together, my wife and I direct the Sunday morning Children’s Church. Prior to this church, we were members in good standing of a church in Ohio beginning in March of 2014. The church we attended prior to that one has departed from the true Gospel and preaches a watered down prosperity message (1 Timothy 6). We are grateful to God for leading us to the Southern Baptist churches that preach the Word of God and are committed to loving one another. Without our church family, we would not have survived the summer of 2014 when my wife and I opened our home, at God’s direction, to three of her cousin’s children. Our household grew overnight, doubling the amount of children. The outpouring of love from the body of believers has been moving and awe-inspiring (1 John 4). So, in the same way He has shown such love for us, we love one another.
Although I cannot pinpoint a specific moment in time when God called me to ministry, the echo and tuning of this call has been going on for a number of years. It has only been the last few months that this calling has become more clear as I pursued more education and more counsel from wise believers in the body around me. I have always been gifted as a communicator, but a passion to clearly convey the Word of God to His church and to the lost has been a significant part of my philosophy. I believe that all believers in Christ ought to be serving in ministry, but it takes a specific calling to enter full-time ministry as a pastor. I know now that that specific calling is on my life. God shall have all there is of me. In the particulars of living out this calling, I have dedicated my life to the further study of His Word, the inerrant and final revelation of God to man, the living, two-edged sword. More than merely study, I cherish the daily mercies of the Lord that allow me to sow, to water, and if He wills, to harvest. No one serves in ministry alone, so my gratefulness to my supportive wife is deep. I look forward to serving a body of believers in a local church, where the Gospel is the essential guide to ministry. In the cross of Christ we have the undeniable reminder of our desperate need for God and the undeniable fulfillment of obedient love. These two things are the motivation for ministry. And all of this, we do for God’s glory and at the pleasure of those we serve.
In 2017, I accepted God’s call to pastor, preach, and teach and began sending resumes to a number of churches seeking men of God to shepherd them. The more I pressed into this calling and worked at sending the resumes out, the more urgently I felt God pointing me to Midwestern to be thoroughly equipped and ready for the church God has in store for me. I was blessed to be able to take courses at an accelerated rate, and will have completed a Master of Theological Studies in Preaching and Pastoral Ministry along with a Master of Divinity degree in May of 2019. During this time it has been my pleasure to serve as a pastoral intern, all the while practicing ministry skills that I obtain from classroom study as well as sit under the mentorship of a plurality of elders and godly men serving the local church. I have had the pleasure of using my gifts and talents to see a major remodeling project come underway, bring necessary reform to the children’s ministry and events, and preach and teach a number of times for the edification of the saints and the proclamation of the Gospel to the lost.