I was born and grew up in northern Lancaster County. As a child, I would have told you I believed in God, but I had no idea who He was. We said prayers at dinner time and on an occasion attended church. At the age of 10, I was truly introduced to the church through Vacation Bible School at Swamp UCC (which became Swamp Christian Fellowship). I spent a week hearing Bible stories and participating in Gospel-related activities. Soon, I found the seeds of faith planted. Little did I know at the time, I was also then introduced to the girl who would later become my wife. Over the next few months and years, I began to attend Sunday school and then also began to attend worship services. In God’s sovereignty, he had been preparing me for the road ahead. After regularly attending, my parents joined as members and my father would eventually become a deacon.
I found that attending church was not enough; I was full of questions, doubt, and conflict. I longed for more that seemed just beyond my grasp. This longing plagued me throughout my childhood into my teenage years. I could answer all the Sunday school questions but my desire to belong would not disappear. Even after becoming a member of the church, I still felt like an outsider. In the fall of my sophomore year in high school, my father had back surgery, through which he discovered he had cancer. Throughout the course of the next year, I watched my father’s physical strength be completely obliterated, but I saw his faith flourish and grow.
At the age of 15, I found myself undone and completely exposed, feeling there was nowhere to go after the death of my father. I had been able to keep a Christian facade up for some time; however, I knew that I could never meet the standard God had set. The following January, I attended a friend’s concert at The Mill in Lititz, PA. The concert concluded with a testimony and had an altar call. After a short time of silence and being stunned by this small coffee house crowd of teens, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to step forward and pray with them to turn toward God (what I would later find out is repentance). My life was changed, the world seemed new, and I was Christ’s.
After my conversion, the rest of my two and half years in high school were plagued with chasing from one spiritual experience to another. The doubts and concerns I had about eternity had been replaced with new doubts about how to live and where to find the power to do it. In the midst of my struggles, God placed a desire in my heart for ministry. Entering into my senior year of school, I had plans to study business. In the attempts to push the unnatural desire to serve the Lord aside, I had set a course for my plans. The first roadblock to my plan occurred after graduation, as I began to date my best friend Melissa Ensinger. Despite heading in different directions in school, we embarked on a long distance relationship. The second roadblock to my plan was in a room assignment mixup that placed me into the “religious learning community” at college. Through this group of Christian men I found encouragement, hope, and fellowship through the struggles of young adulthood. The third major roadblock I encountered was Westside Fellowship. Westside was a church plant that began just off campus during my freshman year. It was in this baby church that, for the first time in my life, I heard expository preaching week after week. In hearing God’s word preached, I decided to discard my plans and follow His plan.
Melissa and I married in August of 2003, while living in Graham, NC. I found quickly that I lacked the skills for life together, as husband and leader of a family. For the first time in my life, I turned to Scripture first, rather than reason. As a couple, we began to seek the Lord through the Word of God. I witnessed how my devotional life directly related to my relationship to God. As a result of my eyes being opened and my submission to God’s call in 2004, we moved to the Reading area, studying at Lancaster Bible College (LBC) and serving at Swamp Christian Fellowship. Submitting all of life to Christ and becoming a living sacrifice has become an integral lesson and challenge I learned at LBC. While at LBC, we were blessed with two children, which has shown me the great need of a personal devotional life and biblical community in discipleship. We were also slowly being incorporated into leadership at Swamp: I was able to serve by teaching Sunday school and eventually serve as an interim Youth Pastor.
In 2008, I resigned from my position as we searched for a Bible-believing church in the city of Reading because, prior to graduating from LBC in 2009, we moved to Reading to serve the Lord. After a few months of exploring local churches, we decided to make Grace BFC our home church in December of 2009. After making the decision to join the Grace church family, I served in a variety of capacities including evangelistic outreach, attending and leading small groups, and going on a mission trip. While at Grace, I also had the privilege to serve as a teacher in youth and adult Sunday school classes. In 2016, I was honored to be elected to and serve on the Board of Elders. In 2017, when the position of Youth Pastor became available, I prayerfully considered the position and applied. I was chosen and began that work on January 1, 2018.
After serving at Grace BFC for four years in that role, I was overwhelmed by the opportunity to serve at Kutztown BFC when the elders invited me to consider taking over as Pastor in December of 2021. After serving for a couple months as Interim Pastor while the search committee finished its work, I was formally called to the position on May 22, 2022.