My Professional Story:
Originally, I am from Greenville, South Carolina, and I earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Presbyterian College (2002) in Clinton, South Carolina, and my Masters of Divinity (M. Div.) from Reformed Theological Seminary (2008) in Oviedo, Florida. Presently, I am working on my Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, with an emphasis in worship. I was ordained as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America in 2008. My wife Jennifer and I live here in Eatonton with our son, Nathaniel, our golden retriever, Molly (who I claim as a pet), and our cat Bentley (whom I do not claim as a pet, and yet still offer food and shelter). From 2003 until 2006, I served as the Director of Music at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oviedo, Fla. From June of 2006 until September of 2008, I served as the Director of Music and Worship at Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church in Eatonton, Ga. After ordination in 2008, I served Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church as the Associate Pastor for Worship and Discipleship. In January of 2013, I was called to be the Senior Pastor of Metrocrest Presbyterian Church in Carrollton, Texas, beginning in March of 2013.
My Personal Story:
My personal walk with the Lord began at infancy (although I didn’t know it at the time). Throughout my life, I was raised in a church-going family that placed me within the doors every time they were open. Most of my childhood was marked by a struggle to fit in, a sort of crisis of self identity. Since I was not a member of the “in” crowd, I spent most of my days being the outsider. Around the time of middle school, I had decided that enough was enough, and that I was going to do everything within my power to be accepted. I changed my outward identity, I drank, smoked, partied, and lived the life of a chameleon, never wanting to stand out, just blend in. Of course this led to quite an identity crisis, because before long I did not know who I was. All I knew is that outside I had nothing, and inside I felt empty and dirty. I felt completely alone. Home was no consolation, and neither was my church; it was just more of the same. And yet, the summer after my sophomore year of high school (which was a year that was marked by deep bouts with depression), God miraculously intervened and I decided to go to a youth camp for a week. It was not evangelical, it was not in the least bit gospel centered, and yet through that experience God used a dear friend to speak truth to me one night. They told me about letting go and trusting Jesus, and that I didn’t have to worry anymore, because God loved me and I am someone that Jesus died for. Later that night, I surrendered my life to the Lord.
My spiritual formation from that point on was rocky and awkward, but through it all the Lord worked. I was involved in a great youth group for my remaining years of High School, and had the opportunity to have my life radically shaped by the ministry of Campus Outreach at Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC). Through Summer Beach Projects, Christmas Conferences, Bible Studies, and Godly men investing their lives in me, I began to grow more deeply in love with Jesus and in my understanding of the Reformed tradition and all that it involves.
My relationship with the Lord has been marked by God shaping his image into my life, undoing my misconceptions about who He is, healing my wounds, and lighting a fire and a passion in me to pursue him with all of my heart and life. He has been impressing on me that I would seek His kingdom first, and that I would in all things walk in faith, trusting that He is not going to abandon me like others in my life have. My relationship with the Lord is the single most important thing to me in my life, and I shudder to think about the hopelessness that would ensue should I be faced to live life alone with out the saving grace of the Lord Jesus.
In a seemingly simultaneous action to the Lord calling me to Himself, I felt called to the ministry. Ministry was, in all honesty, the one thing that made my life make sense. Why else would I have gone through the things that I did if not to make a difference for the kingdom in the lives of other people? God gave me life experience so that I could minister to those who are in need, to those who feel helpless, and to those who need to know the grace of the Lord Jesus. I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life, and that I had to be patient to wait on the Lord to reveal just how this was going to all pan out.