#1 – When Did You Begin Following Jesus?
I became a Christian when I was in 9th grade while living at the Falcon Children’s Home. My decision to follow Jesus was largely influenced by a man named Mark, who worked at the Children’s Home. But Mark was more than an employee, he was like a Dad to a lot of us kids. I respected him, felt loved and cared for by him, and I was inspired by his faith in action. So one night I was laying in my bed and I began to pray as I had heard Mark pray many times. I told Jesus I thought my life “sucked” and I asked him to make it “better.” That was the beginning of me following Jesus.
#2 – When did you know you wanted to be a Pastor?
Soon after I began following Jesus, we had a “career day” at my high school. I walked to all of the booths and even met the military recruiters, but none of it interested me. When it came to my future & life planning, I just felt lost. I wasn’t even sure if college would be right for me. Then, one evening at a Sunday night church service, the pastor spoke about the “calling” to ministry. I don’t remember everything he said, I just remember identifying with a lot of the emotions and feelings he described. So I went forward to the “altar” where he and a few others prayed for me, and after that experience I was convinced that one day I would be a pastor.
2 weeks before my 16th birthday, I got adopted. My new Mom was an elementary music teacher, and my new Dad was…a pastor. I went everywhere with my Dad. Church gatherings, funerals, hospitals, conferences, seminars, and various “ministry” environments. I got to watch my Dad do it all. I saw the good, bad and the ugly while standing his shadow. And even then I was convinced this was the life I desired.
#3 – Why Did You Start Oasis?
Growing up, I was fully engaged in my local church. I was part of a thriving youth ministry, and I learned so much from my youth pastor, my Dad and others. I remember going to conference with my dad and youth pastor called “Catalyst” in Atlanta GA. A man who referred to himself as ”Andy” stood on stage and captivated my heart. His story ignited a dream in me to start a church one day that wasn’t for “church” people, but was for “unchurched” people instead. As the years went by, my father continually breathed life into this little dream I had, and that dream became more of a BURDEN. I began to see EVERYTHING through the lens of Church planting.
So throughout college and my twenties, I ALWAYS wanted to create an environment where an unchurched person could meet Jesus. That type of environment does not happen accidentally or even just prayerfully, but rather intentionally. So I became a “student” of the church. Watching, learning, and mistaking my way through early adulthood and eventually, by the time I was 30 years old, I just HAD TO start a church.
One day, while on staff at Hope Chapel, my pastor approached me and said he had a vision to be a “sending” church. After a ton of discussion, prayer, and thoughtfulness, the Oasis idea was born.
#4 – Is Oasis affiliated with a denomination?
Yes, we are affiliated with a movement called “Foursquare.”
Foursquare gave our church a large chunk of money during the first year in order to assist with the startup expenses. Since then, we have tithed 10% of our income BACK to Foursquare as an investment in more church startups, worldwide missions, and other local church ministry efforts.
Oasis wouldn’t be where we are without the financial, practical and spiritual support of our Foursquare family.
#5 – If Oasis is Foursquare, then why doesn’t it say that anywhere on the website or our church signs?
Because…Jesus did not die for denominations, He died for the church! We are here to build the name of Jesus, not the name of a denomination.
#6 – Are you an ordained minister?
Yes, I was licensed in 2011 and ordained in the spring of 2015.
#7 – Then why don’t you dress like you are ordained?
What does that even mean? Do you want me to wear suit and tie? Or a robe? If you see me wearing a suit and tie, then that means I’m about to minister at a wedding or a funeral. And if you ever see me wearing a robe, I probably won’t have anything on under it!!
#8 – Where did you go to seminary?
I don’t know why that is becoming a question I get more and more. I did not go to seminary. I don’t think I could have handled all the religious nut-jobs. But I did get a Masters Degree in Theology from Liberty University online. (which is like the equivalent of saying, “But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express”)
#9 – If you weren’t a pastor, what would you want to do?
I have no stinking clue. I’d be pretty decent in a sales management role. I’d probably end up in some job where I had to convince people to do things.
#10 – (You write the 10th question in the comments and I’ll answer)