Greetings in Jesus, Our Lord, Savior, and King!
Many who look at the pastor’s description are often asking questions of his background, family, hobbies, doctrine, and ministry commitments. Often based on who the pastor is and how he preaches, an individual or family will choose to visit a church and potentially make it their home.
In light of this, before I start, I feel compelled to say that I shepherd this particular church with great passion derived from my experience of the unmerited love of the gospel wherein Jesus died the death I should have died, rose from the dead for my new life, and now sits in bodily form as my advocate at the right hand of the Father’s power as King and Lord. However, I am but one of a group of leaders called elders who lead this church. It is important to emphasize this because this is not my church. It is Jesus’ church. This church is not run by a single personality but governed and shepherded by a plurality of elders specifically chosen by God to equip His people towards greater Christ-likeness.
That being said, I can now move on to tell you a bit more about my family and me.
I am Sarah’s husband. We went to high school together at Hilliard Davidson and graduated in 2002 and 2003. She’s the younger one. We are both Ohio University Bobcats. She has a degree in sociology and criminology — which has come in handy while parenting our six kids (I joke a bit…). I have a bachelor’s in social work.
As I said, we have six kids. The older three are boys, the younger three are girls. We planned it that way. I would tell you their names and ages, but you won’t remember them. I even forget from time to time. They are spirited and wonderful kids. We are blessed. By the way, we are far from perfect parents. It’s just good to get that out there right away. That is why we had them baptized as babies. We need God’s partnershiping-covenant as we hope to see our children grow in the love of Christ.
Sarah and I spent two years on Campus Crusade staff at OU. After that I attended seminary and received my Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis.
I am called to be a pastor-scholar. I received a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Trinity College, Bristol University in 2017. During my time as a post-graduate student until now, I have been active on several committees for biblical studies, and I have published articles and books in the same concentration (some of those are listed at the right for your reference). I was also active in the local church in various internships.
I think the most important thing for people to know about me is that I am truly and actually a sinner who repents often, and by the grace of God I have been saved from my old life, but will battle sin until Jesus comes or I enter into glory. You and I are both sinners, and the worst thing we can do is hide that. The more we hide our sinfulness, the more we diminish our hope in the great gift of grace that God has given us in Jesus.
My vision is to someday preach each week to a group of people that are out of the closet and vocationally repenting sinners — people who trust Jesus alone moment-by-moment for their salvation. It would be a Sinners Anonymous, so to speak.
As for our church as I perceive us to be: First Presbyterian Church is for our village of South Charleston and its redemption by the gospel. That means we are not trying to be a great organization but a servant to a village that needs Jesus. We pray eagerly for the goodness of God to touch each life within our reach.
It is also important to say who we are not. We do not exist to be a big church with the greatest programs. We are not separatist but ecumenical. We are not a politically-driven church. This does not mean that Jesus does not have something to say about how we work out our ethics in the public square. He most certainly does! It is simply not the ONLY emphasis the Bible has and not even the most primary one. We are not a church for only Presbyterians. We are not at any level exclusive. We include all sinners. This means that we are also not a church for righteous people or for anyone who feels they have arrived. We are a haven for sinners who need the fresh and cold water of the gospel in their lives.
We hope to share the gospel with you one Sunday morning in the future at either 8:30am or 11am. If you come at 8:30, I will be wearing a robe. Don't let it freak you out. We can talk about why I wear it some other time. At our service we pray, read Scripture together, sing the truths of the gospel together, and hear the gospel preached. Once a month we also are nourished by the body and blood of our Savior at His table.
Hope to see you soon!