Describe the path to your current vocation.
I grew up in Mississippi where there is a strong Southern Baptist influence. Growing up as a Lutheran in a predominately Baptist culture, I developed a curiosity regarding “What makes us different and does it matter?” My home pastor Rev. Rick Sawyer was very influential for me, answering my questions patiently and thoroughly as I grew in my theological understanding. After beginning a degree in business administration at Mississippi College, I quickly realized that I had a great interest in discussing theology and decided to transfer to Concordia Nebraska, where I entered the Pre-Seminary program while completing my Business Administration degree. After graduating from Concordia Nebraska, I entered Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I married Mandy (Grote) from St. Charles, MO, after my second year of seminary and we started my vicarage shortly after the wedding. I served my vicarage under Rev. Warren Graff at Grace Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM, where I further developed in my theological understanding and my interest in youth and campus ministry. After completing my Master of Divinity, I continued my education at Concordia Theological Seminary for another year and earned a Master of Sacred Theology. My first call out of seminary was to Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Estes Park, Colorado, in 2011. After serving at Mt. Calvary for four years, I accepted the call to Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, IL, to serve as Associate Pastor, then was called as Senior Pastor in January of 2019.
When did you become a Lutheran?
I was born and raised Lutheran in Brandon, MS, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, under Rev. Rick Sawyer.
What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy the opportunity to teach and preach the Gospel to the Lord’s people, comforting them with a peace that this world cannot give. It is a joy to watch a congregation grow in the faith and in their appreciation and understanding of the Scriptures.
What was your longest or most favorite road trip?
Before being installed at Bethany, my wife Mandy and I drove across Colorado to visit some of the great sights while we still lived in the West. Last July, we drove from Estes Park through Grand Lake, to Aspen and Snowmass, to Telluride, to Grand Junction and Palisade, to Vail, then back to Estes Park through Boulder. Mandy and I were able to spend great time together and see some fantastic places.
What are your hobbies?
My wife and I love trying new foods and restaurants. We enjoy jogging and walking with our 2 daughters and our 2 dogs. In addition, when I have the time, I enjoy home brewing beer (although it rarely turns out tasting good :).