Guides and leads the church, responsible for vision, teaching, and preaching
What would you sing at karaoke night?
“Sweet Home Alabama.” I can really belt that one out.
What is the best gift you’ve been given?
Words. Words of encouragement, appreciation and even correction. Words that express someone knows me and wants the best for me. That’s the best gift a person can give me.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Matthew McConaughey. He’s blond (I used to be), kind of wholesome, with an “aw-shucks” attitude. He also looks great without a shirt on. That’s pretty much sums me up, right?
What is your personal motto or mission statement?
“Do the thing God has called me to do with people I love.” It pretty much doesn’t get any better than that.
On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are?
That’s a complicated question. I pretty much think I’m an 8, but the rest of the world thinks I’m a 5 or 6. I’m waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.
What do people need to know to “get me?”
How much I love physicality and athletics. Even today, I see a green field — I want to run through it. I see an ultimate frisbee game happening with people I don’t know – I want to stop and ask if I can play. I see a great athletic contest on TV – I cry.
What is your hope for Community West?
That we would be a place where people experience the community they really yearn for, and the hope and reconciliation that Jesus really offered the world.
What motivates you as you do ministry at Community West?
I really believe the church is the hope of the world. I know the church sometimes seems out of touch, hypocritical and ineffective. But I really believe the church is the hope of the world.
More and more, it’s the people with whom I’ve walked through life who become the lens through which I understand my story. My early identity as a kid was formed by neighborhood football games with friends, painting sessions in the garage with my mother (who thought all her children were artistic!), and by teachers in school who affirmed me beyond what I deserved. My classmates at Freeman High School cheered me on as a leader by electing me class president all three years. My accountant father is probably the reason I majored in business at Washington and Lee University. Genes passed down to me from my Baptist grandfather are surely one reason I became a pastor.
After college, I landed at Wachovia Bank as a commercial lender because of mentors who showed me the way. Four years later, I went to Gordon-Conwell Seminary for my Master of Divinity because my pastor, who preached “lights out” sermons, had gone there. I was awarded a Ph.D. in pastoral theology at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland!) because of a kindly, atheist anthropology professor who really understood qualitative research.
A particularly profound season of my life was journeying with my first wife Lacy, who died at age 31 after a terrible, horrible, long bout with cancer. In the mystery of God, Lacy’s life and death made me the gospel minister I am today. Five years later, I met Lisa, now my wife as of fall 2008. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife, finds that which is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Lisa is the fullness of God’s intention in that verse for me, and we have a lovely daughter Galyna who is a student at Old Dominion University. Our family has expanded, to our delight to include our son-in-law Jake and our handsome grandson Marcelo, born December, 2017.