Beyond the Books
US Army Veteran
This top picture is my 1996 graduation picture from the United States Military Academy. I was a soldier once and young! I honorably served in the US Army as an Infantry Officer with assignments in the 82nd Airborne Division (2-505th PIR) and the US Army’s World Class Athlete Program, earning awards such as the US Army Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings, Air Assault Wings, and the Expert Infantryman Badge.
Kimberly and I got married on September 11, 1999 when I was a young First Lieutenant. We got married in the church where we met, at Fayetteville Christian Church outside of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This picture is when I was a Captain at an Infantry Ball at Fort Benning, Georgia in 2001 while attending the Infantry Captain's Career Course.
When I received my call into pastoral ministry, I resigned my commission as a Regular Army Captain. While in seminary, I served as a Chaplain Candidate and graduated from the US Army Chaplain School (2007). While I did not return to active duty as a Chaplain, I am thankful for the opportunities to train with and learn from the US Army Chaplain Corps.
Athletics & Coaching
After a successful high school athletic career, I had the privilege of competing as a Division 1 collegiate athlete on West Point's Track and Field team for four athletic seasons (1992-1996). From walk-on to team captain, I still hold the academy record of 229'6" in the hammer throw. I was a Patriot League Champion in both the 35-pound weight throw (indoors) and in the hammer throw. While I am thankful to have earned All-American status as a D1 athlete, I am most proud of the numerous scholar-athlete awards I earned, especially first-team Academic All-American. Go Army! Beat Navy!
I represented the US Army at the 1996 Olympic Team Trials (9th place in the hammer throw). In 1998, I was invited to be a member of the prestigious US Army's World Class Athlete Program, returning to West Point to train for the 2000 Olympic Team Trials (4th place in the hammer throw). I learned to coach throwers at the collegiate level, later becoming a USATF Level 1 coach. I was proud to represent Team USA at the 1999 World Military Games and 1999 World University Games. My official personal records are 239' in the hammer throw and 72' in the 35-pound weight throw.
Long after my last competition as an Olympic hopeful, I became a 2016 USATF Master's National Champion in the hammer throw, then added a 35-pound weight throw national championship in 2017. What a joy it was to return to throwing after over a decade off. While I enjoy throwing in masters competitions, I especially enjoy helping and encouraging throwers, of all ages, to love and excel in hammer throw, weight throw, discus throw, and shot put. It's rewarding to pass it on!
Since 2022, I invest much of my coaching energy on the throwers at New Castle High School. I am proud of my student-athletes, just ask me about them. I am happy to help anyone who wants to learn how to throw far, just contact me directly to see what we can set up.
Pastoral Ministry & Community Involvement
I am an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the American Baptist Churches (USA). I started as a staff pastor at Crosswalk Community Church in Sunnyvale, California in 2003, transitioning directly from active duty military into full-time vocational ministry. I started my seminary work that same fall of 2003, graduating with my MDiv in 2008. I was ordained shortly after and became the Associate Pastor. Next, I was invited to become the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of New Castle, Indiana. We answered the call, beginning this new ministry on January 3, 2010. With 20 years experience in pastoral ministry, we are blessed to continue to serve our Lord and His church.
Flowing from my pastoral ministry there are numerous services and ministries I provide to my local community. A significant service I provide is as a certified facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich Marital & Premarital Enrichment Program, from which I have helped countless couples either prepare for marriage, or return to thriving in marriage. Contact me for more information.
While I am visibly active in numerous ways, through speaking and service, my favorite ways of giving back are behind the scenes. This includes my preaching and teaching ministry inside the New Castle Correctional Facility, a state prison located in my home town. In 2023, I was invited by our newly elected sheriff to return to the Henry County Sheriff's Office as a chaplain. I am humbled to serve those who protect and serve!
Education & Professional Development
I love to learn, earning a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Pastoral Studies with honors from Grace Theological Seminary (2020). My doctoral thesis, A Trinitarian Praxis of Matthew 11:28-30 to Strengthen Pastors' Spiritual Vitality in the American Church, was published academically in December 2020. I know the urgency and importance of transforming this major academic work on pastoral burnout in the American church into an accessible book for a larger readership, and it is my plan to do that within five years of first publishing it. If you can't wait for the popular book format, and are interested in having access to the original mixed-methods social research, biblical research on Matthew 11:28-30 (including the rest motif and yoke imagery of Scripture), extra biblical research on spiritual formation practices, and my conclusions on how to rectify the major issue of pastoral burnout in its original academic format, please contact me directly.
Additionally, I have earned a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Fuller Theological Seminary (2008), an MS in Counseling and Student Development from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University (2000), and a BS in Psychological Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point (1996). I earned numerous scholar-athlete awards as an undergraduate and was privileged to represent Team USA when I was working on my first masters degree in New York.
Beyond formal education, I have always enjoyed being a part of learning opportunities and professional development communities. The picture above is of my cohort of pastors from the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa while on a study tour in 2014. Personally and professionally, I have travelled extensively throughout our amazing country, having been in every state, and having visited many countries on five continents. It is not where you have been, or what you have done that shapes you, but your reflections upon those experiences. I have had many rich and diverse experiences in my life, and I have sought to learn from each of them through reflection, applying those lessons to my life, ministry, and writing.
The next step of my formative journey is to pursue formal credentialing as a Spiritual Director, upon successful completion of my current writing projects -- the Seize the Moment devotional series and Live Today discipleship trilogy. While I have been doing such pastoral work for many years, just like with my counseling work, I believe it is important to partner with the Holy Spirit to be trained and equipped to do what God has called and gifted you to do. I find great joy in helping others strengthen their spiritual vitality in their lives and ministries, and I desire to learn best practices on how to do it even better. I especially want to help Christians, church leaders, and congregations learn how to find rest for their souls in the easy yoke of Jesus Christ. I'm not sure where that will lead me in the future with speaking, coaching, and consulting, but for now I am thankful to know the right next step (Psalm 119:105). May God be glorified as each of us is transformed by the renewal of our minds! Soli Deo Gloria!