I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, where I grew up in the cultural Christianity of the South. My view of God was based on behavioral conformity and religious standards. I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” many times, always prefaced with, “God if I didn’t mean it last time, I do this time.”
My parents divorced, and I started high school in a brand new place, leaving all my friends behind, and questioning everything that I had ever been taught about God. I always thought that if my parents split up, if I didn’t follow the rules, or if I didn’t fit in a certain religious “box,” I would disappoint God. But instead of feeling like I disappointed God, a feeling of betrayal entered my heart. Religion and Christianity felt created by men to control men. I was never atheistic, but certainly agnostic. If there was a God, I thought, He clearly wasn’t interested in me. I built up all these logical arguments around my heart to guard it.
As a junior, I was invited to Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and was surrounded by Christians who talked about God and Jesus in ways I had never heard before. They knew Jesus on an intimate and personal level. That was so attractive to me, and I couldn't explain why. I was given the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and one day, sitting in the back of an algebra class, I pulled out that book. Reading it, I was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. All the arguments that I had built up for so long were instantly extinguished. In May of 2010, God saved me. I became a follower of Jesus.
That summer, I was discipled by an intern at our church. He spent many late nights outside the Starbucks in downtown Columbia, patiently and graciously answering all my questions. He asked me to come with him to check out the Bible college in Los Angeles where he had just graduated. I went to visit and knew immediately God was leading me there.
After graduation, I married my wife, Chelsea, and we went to work for a ministry outside of Pittsburgh for a year. We moved back to the South to a church outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, where I was an associate pastor for six years. All three of our beautiful children were born during this time. It was moving back to the cultural Christianity of the South where God awakened my call to the need for gospel-preaching churches in America. I discovered many people with stories similar to mine. The brokenness underneath the cultural veneer in our country is very real.
Hope for The Village Church
My hope for The Village is that it would continue to be a beacon in our country and in our world for gospel preaching, spiritual formation, and local church multiplication. I hope that the men and women of TVC would get a front row seat to Jesus building His Church as they continue to love God, love people, and make disciples of Jesus Christ.