I always feel a little weird with sharing details about my life. I really do prefer listening and learning about others. However, as I step into this Interim role, it’s probably good to provide a little background.
I was born in Michigan and grew up in the farming town of Manteno, IL (south of Chicago), adopted into a family with wonderful parents (Timothy and Terri), dogs a plenty, and an older brother (Sam). My parents and brother are my heroes. From a young age, I loved music, acting, academics, and friendship/community with those around me. Music specifically afforded me a lot of wonderful opportunities to travel, compete, and even provided an offer to join the theatre scene in NYC when I was seventeen.
Yet for all the acclaim and attention, I was very empty. When I was three, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety; something that colored my understanding of God. I would always cry out for God to meet me, but I would have severe panic attacks instead. So, after a long time, I believed that while God might be real for others, God must need someone to send to Hell. That must be why I was created. So, I called myself an atheist: A God like that surely was not worthy of worship.
To my surprise, many people found themselves drawn closer to God through my life, even as I tried to convince them that God could not possibly exist. I was often called sincere or honest. And I thought they were crazy. When it came time to pick a college, I had my heart set on a state school to study Music Education. But when I told my parents, my mother, through tears, begged me to attend a nearby Christian university for one semester. If I hated it, then I could transfer to the state school.
So, I went. And drank. And smoked weed. And had sex. And told anyone who asked that I was an atheist. All while traveling with Christian choirs and being called “honest” by all these Christian people. It gnawed at me after a while. Well, to make a long story short (A STORY I WOULD LOVE TO TELL YOU IN MORE DETAIL SOMETIME OVER COFFEE), I had a rather intense conversion experience and was compelled to follow God.
I grew interested in Theology, then Religion, and then Philosophy. I met my wife, some of my best friends, and worked with some of the most amazing people anywhere. I graduated with a BA in Music (Voice & Conducting), two minors in Philosophy and Religion, stayed to pursue an MA in Christian Thought (because moving would mean postponing my marriage, so I turned down full-rides elsewhere), and now I study at Yale Divinity School. I hope to pursue a Ph.D.
I’ve lived a blessed life, although that might sound cliché. I’ve traveled to various countries on mission trips and across the USA with music groups. I’ve conducted, sang, and acted. I’ve served in ministry for nine years and have had some radical spiritual experiences. I’ve led an inner-city music and art conglomerate in a poor and immigrant urban setting, co-founded a non-profit, taught classes as a professor in the school of music and the school of theology on a university level at my alma mater, and directed a program of university students who were training to become preachers and musicians to serve the church.
I am so thankful to learn from you, grow because of you, and partner with you. To put it mildly, I am excited and honored to serve my people in this capacity during this time. More than anything, I wish to serve God – and to be sincere in doing so.
Please know that I want to get to you know you, that our home is open, and that you matter to Christine and me!