I was born and raised in Mesquite, Texas. My parents divorced when I was two, so I was raised by my grandmother and great-grandmother. I attended Mesquite schools until my sophomore year of High School when I transferred to Balch Springs Christian. I quit school in the spring of my Junior year to help financially support my family. Our family did not regularly attend church.
In the summer of 1985 I started riding the J.O.Y bus to the Casa View Church of Christ. I was reluctant to go and could hardly stand the people. I grew up in a home where being told, “I love you” was not the norm. Members of the church hugged me and told me often they loved me, especially Joe Millican, one of the elders. John Hill and Fred Adams started studying the Bible with me and I decided to give my life to Christ February 14, 1988. My life has been richly blessed by so many who love and encourage me, there is no way I could name them all. God has truly used His people to change my life.
Even though I was a Christian, I was still a teenager trying to be cool. My youth minister, Jim Harrington, asked me to teach a class on a youth retreat. I always said no thanks. Long story short, trying to be macho in front of teen girls I lost a bet playing pool to Jim and had to teach. I fell in love with it. Members of the youth group and adults
encouraged me to go into ministry. Several of my Bible class teachers would allow me to fill in from time to time. When Jim became the pulpit minister, he allowed me to fill in on Sunday nights from time to time. I fought against God about going into ministry until May of 1999. The Center for Christian Education held a “Center Sunday” at the church and Danna, and I decided to enter fulltime ministry. We served six years at the Mesquite Church of Christ as a Junior High and Family Life minister. In September 2006 we moved Van Alstyne to be the pulpit minster.
Danna and I were married in September 1996 and have two children. Bonnie was born in June 2003 and is currently a nursing major at Harding University. Brennen was born in June 2004 and is currently a Senior at Van Alstyne High School. My mother-in-law lives with us as well and she is a blessing to have in our home (unless the Texas Rangers stink).
I graduated from the Center for Christian Education in May 2002. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Leadership from Dallas Christian College. I have a Master of Art in Biblical Interpretation and a Master of Divinity from Lubbock Christian University.
Ministry in today’s culture is both challenging and rewarding. Many do not see a need for God in their lives and some acknowledge Him, but do not walk with Him daily. With misconceptions about God and a time where we are Biblically illiterate, it makes ministry difficult. The growing concern I have is the lack of true discipleship from those who confess Christ as Lord and are slow or reluctant to grow spiritually. We want easy Christianity, cheap grace. To quote one of my favorite theologians, Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book “Discipleship”, “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
My desire is to help the church grow spiritually and in their commitment to Christ.
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am very much a people person. Our favorite way to relax is either on a cruise ship or the beach. Reading is one way I enjoy relaxing. I have been known to read several books at once. I consider myself a professional coffee drinker and usually drink coffee all day long, especially when I am relaxing. I especially enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the day to day to get away and spend time alone with God usually out in the country somewhere. My “Life verse” is Colossians 3:4, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” When others see me, I want them to say, Christ is his life. For me there is not a greater compliment.
I started as a youth minister here at the Van Alstyne Church of Christ in September of 2022. Growing up in a family with ministers, elders, and teachers, having this opportunity to work with the youth shows how much God is in control. I have a Bachelor's degree in Education and I am starting my Masters in The Art of Ministry in the Fall of 2023. I married my wife, Reilly Cates, in May of 2022 and we both enjoy spending time outside, with our families, and are expecting to grow our own family this year. Spending time with the youth group is something Reilly and I have come to love and is easily our favorite thing to do. We love going from weekly devotionals, to going on fun trips together, all while growing in His word. God has given me a burden to help each teen enlist to Christ, and help them be equipped to make disciples, and to encourage them to make disciples.