Michael is a native of Greensboro, NC and grew up in Newton, NC and Spartanburg, SC. He and his wife Jana met through a Gainsville mission trip in 2006, and have been married since 2008. Michael is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Southeastern Baptist Seminary. He is currently completing doctoral work in theology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Michael enjoys reading, theology, traveling, hiking/camping, college football, and any activity that includes Jana. His passion is to make disciples who are drenched in the Gospel, have genuine affections for God, and who love God with their minds, with the result that the majesty of God is displayed by their lives. Michael has been serving at Gainsville since 2009.
What is your hometown and where have you lived?
I was born in Greensboro, NC and have lived in Newton, NC and Spartanburg, SC (where I completed high school). Post-high school, I have lived in Columbia, SC—one of the hottest places on earth!, Wake Forest, and Wheaton, IL (45 minutes outside of Chicago). And now Jana and I are glad to make our home in Lincolnton.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Jana is my best friend and partner in ministry. In addition to her, I am close to my two younger sisters, my parents, an aunt and uncle who live in Charlotte, and my maternal grandmother—who loves Gainsville! And I’m grateful for the family I’ve married into, who I love and am enjoying being a part of.
How did you meet your wife?
Jana and I met on a Gainsville mission trip to Gulfport, MS in 2006. She claims I wouldn’t give her the time of day, but I noticed several things about her character and we began talking over the next year. We began dating incognito while we served together at Gainsville in the summer of 2007, and were married the next October.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in biology, Southeastern Baptist Seminary with masters degrees in Divinity and Theology, and I’m finishing up a doctoral degree in theology at Wheaton College outside of Chicago.
Tell us how you were saved.
As a nine-year-old boy I had a series of nightmares featuring Satan and Hell. That scary experience led me to ask my parents more about salvation. My pastor helped me understand my need for Christ—my great sin and his great saving power. I’ve never gotten the over power of the Gospel, and by grace it is at the center of my life.
What is your favorite passage of Scripture? Why?
I would say Romans 3:19–31. In stunning detail this passage explains humanity’s sinfulness and estrangement from God, and God’s righteousness and provision of Christ as a substitutionary payment for our sin. If we would but place our faith in Christ, Romans 3 explains, we will be justified and receive Christ’s righteousness.
Favorite book of the Bible? Why?
I have a special love for Romans, because of its clear portrayal of the holiness and sovereignty of God and the gospel, but I also turn frequently to the Psalms for worship, confession, and lament.
What area(s) of theology interests you most?
The Doctrines of the Trinity, Scripture, and Christ are among my favorites.
How and when did you end up at Gainsville Baptist Church?
I came to Gainsville in August of 2009. But as I mentioned above, I served at Gainsville during the summer of 2007. When Mike and I attended Southeastern and worked alongside one another at UPS, we always dreamed of the chance to to minister together. I saw the summer of 2007 as a chance to make that a reality. Little did I know that God would move in my heart, and draw Jana and me back to Gainsville for good!
What restaurants might we find you at on a Friday night?
We’re partial to the Court Street Grill, Mazatlan, Kobe’s, and Carrabba’s.
Outside of the Scriptures, what is the most influential book you’ve read?
I have to list two: Knowing God, by J. I. Packer and the Religious Affections, by Jonathan Edwards.
Who is the most influential person/pastor in your life (that you actually know).
Honestly, it’s Mike Rice. Long before he actually was my pastor, I considered him to be that because of our close friendship and the way I counted on him for wisdom. I’m grateful for the way the Lord has intertwined our lives, and now, our ministries.
What artist/bands/albums are most likely music to be on your MP3 player?
Shane and Shane, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Indelible Grace, Daniel Renstrom, LeCrae, Fernando Ortega, Caedmon’s Call
What would someone find you doing on your day off or on a weekend?
If you caught us at home, we’d probably be working on the house or watching college football or basketball. But Jana and I like to take little travel adventures, so we might be off exploring/enjoying North Carolina.
What do you love most about your ministry?
The chance to pour the truth of the gospel into students’ and children’s hearts. What an amazing privilege it is to labor in making disciples among the next generation!
Where would you like to see Gainsville Baptist Church in 5 years? 10 years?
Growing increasingly in our love for God, for truth, and for people. Love for God manifests itself in a lifestyle with heartfelt, deep-rooted affections for Christ and his righteousness, and is coupled with a hatred for sin. Love for truth shows itself in a love for the Scriptures and sound doctrine. And a love for people reflects both a love for the body of Christ and those within it, and the passionate pursuit of the lost who are outside it. The latter consists of taking the Gospel to our neighbors as well as the world and includes meeting the physical needs of those who are hurting.
What do you want to say to any first-time visitors at GBC?
Welcome! We’re so glad you came to worship Christ with us. You’ll quickly find that Gainsville is a warm and loving church. We’re not perfect—but we are growing in our love for God, each other, and the world, and we’d love for you to join us in that journey. Please let us know how we can minister to you and your family.
What do you want to say to the members at GBC?
We love you and appreciate you! It is a joy and a privilege for me to serve as your Pastor for Family Ministry. Thank you for your love for Christ and for us as we serve alongside you.