Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)
Hello, Readers! I am currently serving in many different roles at Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas. I am a recruiter for the school. I serve primarily as the Director for the Center of Evangelism but also work with the Men’s sports teams as the Strength and Conditioning Coach. On the side, I manage the social media for Ecclesia and work with the marketing department on how to better utilize Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. for the benefit of the students, parents, and potential students.
My favorite job though is one that I do not get paid for and that is serving the saints of First Southern Baptist Church of Goshen, Arkansas as their Discipleship Pastor. I love working at a country church because I’m able to know everyone in my congregation, minister to them more effectively, and see the fruits of the Spirit spring up in each and every one of them who calls Christ as their Lord.
As the Discipleship Pastor I focus primarily on small group ministry, pastoral counseling, and prayer ministry, but when I am “loosed” upon the congregation from the pulpit I find myself worshipping God more than I find myself preaching per se. I am passionate about seeing revival happen within my generation and seeing the next Great Awakening occur should the Lord tarry any longer.
I am also currently pursuing my M.Div at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Great Commission Studies and Expository Preaching. Upon graduation, I am planning on doing further study in Church History and Preaching through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and honing in on the political, societal, cultural, impact that the Great Awakenings, and primarily the preachers and preaching of that era, had on the early American states.
Apart from all of that I am an avid Arkansas Razorback fan, New England sports fan (Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins), and am quite the persnickety coffee and Tex-Mex snob. On the average weekend, you will find me either in a local coffee shop reading and writing or if it’s not too hot I’ll be hiking in one of the many local state and national parks.
What are you reading right now?
Currently, I am reading a number of things for Servants of Grace and for seminary. I am in the middle of Wayne Grudem’s latest book, Free Grace” Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel, Derek Kidner’s commentary on the Psalms, Gregg Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers, Michael Bird’s What Christians Ought to Believe, and Vern Poythress’ Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God, Parliamentary Procedure for Church Leaders by Dr. Barry McCarty who is the Chief Parliamentarian for the SBC, The Unfinished Reformation by Gregg Allison and Chris Castaldo, and reading through the Harry Potter novels again.
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
Well, I re-read The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer yearly because it is my favorite Christian book outside of my ESV Bible and it has taught me more about God than any other book written by a non-biblical author.
I find myself getting lost in the world of Harry Potter, Frodo, and Aslan all the time because those stories are timeless and I love all the imagery in each and every page of every chapter that Rowling, Tolkien, and Lewis crafted.
Another Christian book that I go to regularly is my dear friend Russell Moore’s Tempted and Tried. It is the best book on the temptation of sin, how to kill sin, and how to understand the temptations that Christ went through and defeated I’ve ever read.
What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently? Is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?
The last biography I read was Thomas Kidd’s on George Whitefield. It fundamentally shifted my perception on the Great Awakenings like never before and spurned within me a passion for learning more about the man Whitefield himself. It also inspired me to formulate my doctoral work around the impact of the preachers and preaching of the Great Awakening on the culture at large.
If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?
I’d recommend to any new believer that they must read:
- The Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer
- Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan
- Desiring God by Piper
- The Biggest Story by DeYoung
- The entire Bible in whole. All new Christians should work through every book as soon as they can.
What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel?
I have five go-to books that have molded me in Christian leadership and pastoral ministry greatly that I encourage all pastors, pastoral ministry students, would be pastors, and lay leaders to read.
- The Conviction to Lead by Dr. Mohler
This book fundamentally changed my biblical-theological convictions on leadership and how to effectively lead with passion, love for people, and love for the Gospel.
- 10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know by Dr. Floyd
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is a dear friend of mine, a mentor, and a man who has been in my “corner” for a number of years now. This quick little book he wrote offers up 10 primary principles that future ministers need to learn and live by, and how to lead out in these 10 principles in the home, church, and public sphere.
- Knowing God by Dr. Packer
If you do not truly know God then you cannot lead God’s people in any way. As a minister, you must intimately know God, and Dr. Packer explains the Christian doctrines masterfully in his quintessential volume that has stood the test of time. This book was my primer to studying theology and knowing the doctrines of the Christian faith that have given me a passion for discipleship and evangelism and leading others to an encounter with Christ.
- An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People, in Extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth by Jonathan Edwards
No this is not a book; this is a sermon from the greatest preacher of the Great Awakening, but this sermon has done more for me than any book on prayer ever could. Edwards does more in a sermon on prayer for my heart and turns my affections more to God than volumes upon volumes that have been written. All ministers should read this and reflect deeply on its implications for the church, for themselves, and for the lost culture around them. As pastors, we must be united together for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ and no matter the denominational and ecclesiastical divides we must be united in prayer for true revival once more to occur.
- Preaching & Preachers by Dr. Lloyd-Jones
This is the pinnacle book outside of the letters to Timothy and Titus on pastoral ministry. Lloyd-Jones treats the reader to incredible insights on the primacy of preaching and declaring biblical truth from the pulpit, and how that preaching influences all the other ministries of the church. He is winsome, articulate, and driven by the conviction that the Word of God being preached to the people of God must take priority over all other ministries. This take on pastoral leadership is not without controversy and not without detractors, but it’s a position that must be weighed and thought through biblically.
Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus?
I am continually learning not only how deep my sin is, but also how much deeper the Father’s love for me is. Ephesians 2:1-10 resounds in my heart all the time. I am enthralled by the fact that God is constantly refining me, equipping me, and challenging me to do more and more in ministry. I am incredibly thankful for the blessing of grace in my life and rest in the promise of an eternity with Christ. it is this promise that spurs me to do more, evangelize more, and preach the Word of God more often in any situation I’m in.