I am from a family of tobacco and cattle farmers, so life for me as a kid revolved around working on our 88-acre farm in Kingbee, Kentucky, going to school, and playing sports. When it came to religion, my house was very split. My Dad did not believe in God, and he valued hard work and trusting in no one but yourself in life. The men in my family have a work-hard, play-hard mentality, so when they are not working they are usually drinking, fishing, hunting, or watching sports. My mother, on the other hand, came into a relationship with Christ when she was 21, and was a faithful attendee of Kingbee Nazarene Church since before I can remember. When I was a kid, she had me in church every time the doors were open and faithfully prayed for me.
As soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions I didn’t spend much time around the church and followed in the footsteps of the rest of the men in my family. I found my significance through success in athletics, specifically baseball, and tried to find my satisfaction in relationships with friends and girls. My dream was to leave the small town through a baseball scholarship, but when that dream did not happen, I found my way to Eastern Kentucky University through part-time jobs and financial aid.
In college, I traded in baseball for the fraternity life, and if you have seen any movies that depict the “frat life,” then you have a pretty accurate idea of the life I was living my freshman- junior years. As I look back, I can see God’s grace in my life because I lived with my best friend Matt Mofield and he was a Christian. Matt and I have been like brothers since we were three years old, and he kept me from going off the deep-end many times through the first couple of years of college.
During my junior year of college, God used a tragedy in Matt’s life to draw me to Himself. In the summer before my junior year, Matt’s dad passed away in a tragic logging accident while Matt was away for a “summer project” with a Christian campus-organization, called Campus Outreach. Through that time, I saw a genuine faith in Matt that I had never experienced before, and I also met a guy by the name of Josh Duncan who was on staff with Campus Outreach. For the next eight to nine months, Josh began to build a friendship with me and share with me the message of the gospel. At the same time, I really began to question my life and what I was living for. I was successful in the things I was pursuing, yet it all seemed empty.
That next summer, through some different circumstances God opened my eyes to the truth. I was a sinner (Romans 3:23) and the wages for my sin meant that I was/would be separated from God in life and in death (Romans 6:23). However, God loved me so much that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment that I deserved, and in return was offering me a new life in the family of God (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17). I submitted my life to Christ and asked him to be my Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10) in the summer of 2007.
Immediately after I placed my faith in Christ, Josh began discipling me. I learned a lot over the next two years about God’s Word. I also developed a deep love for people in my heart. The one thing I wanted to do more than anything was see God change the lives of those around me. That desire led to Josh helping me start a Bible Study with my fraternity (Kappa Alpha Order). During this time, I also met my wife, Marie, and our other Lead Pastor, Sam, who has been like a brother since we met in Campus Outreach.
Toward the end of our college days, all three of us became involved in a church in Lexington, KY (Center Point Church) and began to serve. As I served, God kept putting a desire for full-time ministry on my heart, and after a year of serving at Center Point, they offered me an opportunity to become an intern and learn about ministry. Marie, who had just recently become my wife, and I decided I should take the internship, and that decision put us on a journey which lead me to seminary at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. There, I received a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling, and I joined staff team at Center Point full-time. A couple of years after that, I was ordained at Center Point and God put it on our hearts to plant a Church in New Orleans, specifically in the Mandeville area.
Marie and I could not be more thankful for the journey we have been on together and we love serving in our home of Mandeville, with our two children, Hudson and Julianna.
My desire is that our church would be a place where it is ok not to be ok; that people who have questions, are longing for community, and feeling dissatisfied or empty can come and ask questions and be loved at the same time.
My prayer is that as we expose people to Jesus through the word of God, that He would draw people to himself and give them a hope that only He can provide. The greatest thing that God can give to us is Himself, and I know that when people begin to treasure Jesus they begin to truly live.