Pastor of Preaching & Teaching
Jeff was raised in rural Alabama by parents who were dedicated to the church and to serving God. Though he was involved in the church his whole life, it wasn’t until he was a teenager that Jeff
came to faith in Christ. After having spent his first seventeen years playing sports almost year round, Jeff’s family moved from rural Alabama to Birmingham, where he joined the school choir instead of continuing with athletics. This proved to be a work of God, and a turning point in his life…less than a year later, Jeff found himself as a scholarship musician at the University of Alabama and leading worship for multiple campus and church ministry groups.
The Lord expanded Jeff’s opportunities and this soon grew to his leading worship full-time. After his junior
year of college, Jeff says, “As I reflected on how God how worked through the ministry of our band, I recounted
all the first-time professions of faith, and the question kept ringing in my mind, ‘If the Lord would affect people
in this way through my simply doing what I love to do, how in the world could I do anything else?!'” After
pursuing God in His word and receiving wise counsel from close influential believers, as a twenty-one-year-old
young man, Jeff dedicated his life to vocational ministry.
For approximately five years, Jeff served at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, where he grew tremendously, both personally and his capacity to serve the church. As an Assistant Student Minister, Jeff led worship for the 500+ member student ministry and oversaw the Student Discipleship Ministry. After four and a half years at Hunter Street, he again pursued an opportunity to lead worship traveling, and also earned an MA in Counseling from Liberty University.
During this season, Jeff had his first taste as staff at a church plant. He served as Worship Pastor for approximately four years with a young church plant in Cullman, AL on a part-time basis. Thereafter, Jeff accepted the position as Worship Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Kansas City, a time he says, “I grew tremendously in my understanding of church planting and the application involved.” At Harvest, Jeff not only led worship, but oversaw the Outreach, Communications, and Student Ministries, and also shared responsibility in the Counseling Ministry. Jeff says, “This was a time of testing, stretching, and refining for my family and me, and was invaluable in preparing us for the ministry the Lord has ahead, whatever that may be.”
Today, Jeff and Kelly desire to plant a church in Canton, a neighborhood in southeast Baltimore. Kelly, Jeff’s wife of thirteen years, is a great support to Jeff in his ministry, and sees herself as a partner alongside him. Further, she is a talented musician and teacher, and, as Jeff puts it, “She makes up for my weaknesses as a gifted administrator.” This is proven in her responsibilities of homeschooling their five children: Josie, Judah, Jana-Klaire, Shiloh, and Amos. Jeff and Kelly, having grown up in suburb of Birmingham, AL, feel drawn to Canton because of, first, the desperate need to reach the 12,000+ people there, 80 per cent of whom are unchurched. Further, they appreciate the culture of the quickly growing, family oriented Baltimore neighborhood.
“I began my ministry,” Jeff says, “as a fairly young believer with a deep desire to play music and lead people in worship. Over time, the Lord has cultivated in my heart a passion to proclaim His Word and to affect as many people as possible with the truth of His gospel.” This is exactly what he expects will be born out of the ministry of Church of the Harbor.
Favorite Scripture: John 14:15
Favorite Books: The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer; Desiring God, Piper; The Weight of Glory, Lewis; Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, Dawn
Favorite Band: Sovereign Grace Worship
Famous people Jeff would like to have met: CS Lewis, Martin Luther
Something Jeff learned from his parents: Generosity
Favorite Food: Fried Squash or Buffalo Wings, it’s a toss-up
Favorite Past Time: Hiking with the family
Annoying Habit: “My wife says I play with my beard too much.”
Favorite Sports Team: The University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Something unusual about Jeff: “I’m the only redhead in my family.” (plus, Jeff is equal parts Irish and Cherokee, among other things).
Last thing Jeff does before going to bed at night: Read