I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas through my Elementary school years. My dad was a good man, but he was not a believer, however, my mother was a devoted preacher’s kid from St Jo, Texas, and she faithfully took my brother and I to church at Skillman Ave Church of Christ in Dallas while I was growing up. We were weekend farmers, spending a lot of time commuting to and working on our farm near Hugo, Oklahoma. On the farm, I learned how to weld, drive a tractor and work cattle when I was in the sixth grade. My folks eventually sold that OK farm and bought some land just west of Van Alstyne. My brother and I helped my dad build a barn, corral and fenced-off the land while our home was being built. We finally moved to the VA farm as I was going into the 8th grade, but I had decided to be baptized at Skillman Ave, by brother John Bannister, before we moved here. We attended the VA Church of Christ during my Jr High and High School years. I was fortunate to get a football scholarship with the University of Houston. We were SWC champs during two of those years, so I had the good fortune of being able to play in the 1977 and 1979 Cotton Bowl games. After my senior season, I was drafted by the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, but my sports career ended there, as I did not make the team but returned to Houston to complete my Engineering degree. I spent a couple of my work years employed by Andrew Corp’ in the telecom’ industry, but most of my engineering career was spent in aviation and defense, as I worked for E-Systems, Gulfstream Aerospace and L3Harris at facilities in Greenville and Dallas, Texas. After 43 years, I was blessed to be able to retire from my engineering career on June 1, 2023.
While working for E-Systems and living in Rockwall, Texas, I was attending church at the Saturn Road Church of Christ in Garland. One summer, Saturn Road was hosting an area-wide Singles Ministry activity. That summer, I fell in love (at first sight), when Robbie came with her friends from the Webb Chapel Church of Christ to Saturn Road to attend the Singles event there. We were together again at the next Singles event held at Webb Chapel, and a few months later, I proposed, and she accepted! Robbie was also raised by a mom who was a preacher’s kid, in Albertville, Alabama.
During our 41 years of marriage, we have lived in Rockwall, Carrollton, Prosper and now Van Alstyne. The Lord blessed us with three wonderful children (Kacy, Kara and Riley) whom I had the joy of baptizing while we were living in Rockwall. I loved spending time with my kids either coaching or cheering them on through softball, t-ball, soccer, volleyball, band, theater and football and participating with them in the Indian Guides and Indian Princess programs.
I have had the good pleasure of being able to serve as a Deacon at Webb Chapel (where Robbie and I were married), and in Rockwall at the former Lakeside Church of Christ (now Eastridge), and also previously served as an Elder at the High Pointe Church of Christ in McKinney. Our family moved back to Van Alstyne in 2012. We initially attended church in Howe and then McKinney, but we began attending the Van Alstyne Church in August 2021, and have absolutely fallen in love with this congregation, thanks largely to the love and truth proclaimed and demonstrated from the pulpit by Shannon Jackson.
I am excited about the opportunity to serve with Tom, Bart and Howie during this amazing time when God’s hand and favor are clearly upon the VACoC family, and I’m anxious to see where He takes us during the coming years of projected growth in our community. I believe the Lord has been preparing me for just such a time as this by instilling within me a drive to serve, equipping me through years of leadership training and many opportunities to teach classes and lead ministries at other congregations.
I love to hunt and fish, and enjoying working outside on our farm, and enjoy doing handy-man work, being under the delusion that I can fix just about anything. But, with our recent retirements, Robbie and I are looking forward to spending time traveling and seeing parts of the world where we’ve never been.
I was born in 1969, in Garland, TX. I’m a native Texan, growing up in Allen, TX, until the 7th grade. Then, my parents bought some land east of Van Alstyne in 1982. We moved to Van Alstyne in July of 1983. My wife Gayla and I met in high school my junior year, her sophomore year. Her father Nathan Henderson shared the gospel with me when I was 18yrs old, under and old Bois d’arc tree at the edge of the driveway on the same property we live on today. We were sitting on the tailgate of a 1967 Chevy pickup truck, and he shared the whole second chapter of Acts with me. I accepted Christ that night and was baptized at Central Church of Christ in Van Alstyne. Gayla and I dated until she graduated in 1990 and married August 11th, 1990. I graduated Van Alstyne 1989 and started a welding career shortly after. I went to Grayson County College for my welding degree. Gayla went to Austin College for a dual major in Business and Religion. Gayla is Finance Supervisor at Emerson. I work for Lawson Products in Engineering.
We have two amazing children. Kayley, our oldest, was born in 1992. She and her husband Daniel have blessed us with 3 amazing grandchildren. Sloane is 6, Swayde is 4, and Duke is 1. Our son Jesse was born in 1998. I remember praying for a son, and God blessed us immensely. Jesse’s heart is amazing and it’s an honor to be a father of both my kids, and it goes beyond blessed to be a husband of one (Gayla) and a Pawpaw of three, Sloane, Swayde, and Duke. They make Gayla and I very proud. All I can say is God has truly blessed us. Life has had its ups and downs, and we have had unmeasurable losses at times, but God has always carried us through. It is humbling to serve as an Elder and a true honor. My hobbies are Hunting, Fishing, and cooking BBQ. My favorite Bible verse is:
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
I am a native Texan born in Dallas in 1971. I have lived in Oak Cliff, Duncanville, Plano, McKinney, and finally in Anna. I spent most of my childhood in Plano from second grade to my senior year.
I became a Christian at age 15, right before my 16th birthday. I was baptized by Ron Goodwyn at Pitman Creek Church of Christ. I realized that as I was about to start my adulting years, that I would not be able to get through it alone. I have always gone to church, ever since I can remember and my mother and grandparents took me at every opportunity.
My wife Elizabeth Paige McDonald (Paige) has been my love for 29 years so far. She has been a dental hygienist for all of those years. We were married on August 6th, 1994. About 7 years later, we decided to put our faith in God and have a child. Luke was born to us in January of 2001, then our daughter in April of 2004. All three of my family members are tremendous blessings and I am so proud of each of them.
I attended Plano Senior High School, graduating in 1989, then went to Texas A&M in College Station TX for about 2 years. I then took a couple of semesters off, attended Collin County Community College for 2 semesters, then resumed and finished my bachelor degree back at Texas A&M. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Analysis, which is a fancy way of saying I solve business problems using computers and programming.
I have worked for the same company for 29 years starting in May of 1994. It was originally my parents company called “Mirus” but then they were bought out around 2001. I have maintained my employment with “Anchor Software” ever since. I am a senior developer and I am solely responsible for several million lines of code. Our software is centered around direct marketing through the mail… basically what you would call junk mail. We prefer targeted marketing but either is accurate.
I love being an elder because I get to know people on a personal level. Typically, people do not open up about stuff, but as a trusted friend who will keep things confidential if desired, it gives them an incentive to share more. I love helping people through difficult times and watching a person grow in Christ. When I leave this Earth, I want to be know as a trusted friend and a person who helped them on their spiritual journey.
My goals for the Van Alstyne Church are simple. To have a spiritually mature body of believers who are well read in the Bible and that seek the lost. Numerical numbers are ok but spiritual growth is my number one goal.
Tom and I have been elders since the Summer of 2019. And though we don’t have specific areas of responsibility, we try and share the workload of the weekly tasks. Fortunately, we have a great minister who does a lion share of the daily work and serves as our point of contact to all things related to our church.
I remember first visiting at around Thanksgiving in 2016. We were attending the Church of Christ on McDermott Road in Plano, but it was a 35-40 minute drive. Since my oldest was reaching driving age, I wanted to minimize the travel for him to youth group events. We found Van Alstyne Church of Christ and loved it. For the first time, our kids were asking if we were going to church and if we could go to the one in Van Alstyne. Their faith took off, and ours, and that’s when we knew we were home. So as of this writing, it has been about 6.5 years.
My whole family did TaeKwonDo for about 7 years, each of us receiving our black belts. Luke and Paige actually achieved their 2nd Dan. Since then, my hobbies have dwindled down to yardwork. I do like to golf every now and then and I do enjoy home projects.
I grew up in a town of 160 people called Bristol, Texas, which is an approximate 20 miles SE of Dallas, Texas. I was into the farm life and spent a lot of time showing calves at the State Fair in Dallas and was President of the FFA at Ferris High School, where I attended school.
I grew up in the Church of Christ in this small town where there were only 3 churches: The Church of Christ, The Baptist Church and the Methodist Church. I was baptized there and they immediately had me leading singing in church. I married the love of my life, Sandra Stein, who I met in High School and we have a daughter (Mary Jac Witherspoon) and her husband, Paul O’Daniel who has been a wonderful addition to the family. We also adopted a son, Stephen Thomas Witherspoon, who is Choctaw, Cherokee and Sui Indian. They all attend with us on Sundays and are a joy we don’t take for
granted. Sandra and I have been married for now 52 years and she is still the love of my life.
I was a pole vaulter in High School and competed in this event at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. I still compete in Masters Weightlifting and train with weights 3 times a week.
I work as a consulting engineer and work this profession full time, even at age 74. Because of my experience, I do a lot of expert witness work, even though it is many times stressful.
I feel an enormous amount of pressure being an elder because this congregation is special to me and when I can fill in preaching I feel even more pressure because it has to be straight from the bible.
I am excited for our church and think the best is yet to come as we try to be the first century church.
I love working with Bart McDonald because I know his heart and he is a great example and he is a joy to be around. He and his family are wonderful and a joy to do this church work.
Sandy and I have been attending the Van Alstyne Church of Christ for now 27 years and it has been a wonderful experience. We have watched Shannon Jackson grow as a minister and a pulpit preacher and his growth has been amazing. Our Son, Stephen, was baptized here so this is still a special place to worship and be a part of this church family.