I came to know Christ in a very real way while at Georgetown College through the ministry of Campus Outreach. God then used my own college experience to give me a vision to see future students understand the gospel and share Christ with the world. I married my wife Liza in August of 2008 and we have been laboring on the college campus at Eastern Kentucky University since 2009.
We have seen God do some incredible things over the last few years. The Lord has saved many and entrusted us with a few to disciple and give our lives to. Now as an area director over EKU, Centre College, and the University of Louisville I have the privilege of leading and developing staff as well as continuing to share Christ with students I encounter. I feel grateful to be part of a ministry passionate about reaching students with the gospel who will then influence the world for the glory of God.
I came to EKU focused on football and the college athlete life: alcohol, partying and girls. I was as far away from God as I could be until he crashed my life in front of my eyes. At the end of my freshman season my coach red-shirted me, signifying I wasn’t good enough, my dad was hospitalized from six blood clots and the girl I had been dating for three years had broken up with me. My identity (football), joy (girlfriend) and my affirmation (father) was all stripped from me in an instant. God used my pain and brokenness to draw me near to him. I went to a Campus Outreach meeting and I heard the Gospel of Jesus and truly understood it for the first time. On September 22nd of 2013 I surrendered my life to Jesus and have been chasing after Him ever since. A man in the ministry named Josh Crawford came alongside of me and gave his life away to me. He began to disciple me, teaching me what it meant to be a godly man in a broken culture. He showed me how Christ redeemed every part of his life and how being a christian was a daily thing, not just a Sunday thing. I believe the Lord saved my life on the college campus to send me right back to the campus to give my life away to younger men.
Growing up, God was always something that seemed real to me, but I was never sure what a genuine relationship with Him should look like. I would often pray to get the things that would make me look good, whether that was popularity, good grades, or success on the athletic field. Looking back, it is clear to me that I never sought to worship God. Instead, I tried to use him to get the things I wanted and boost my own image to my friends and family. Shortly after arriving at the University of Louisville, another college student named Ian invited me to join his Bible study in my freshman dorm. Ian and I developed a close friendship and I began attending Bible study, church, and campus ministry meetings with him. For the first time, the Bible and gospel began to make sense to me. God showed me that I was not a good person deserving of His blessing, but a sinner in need of His forgiveness. During my freshman year, I repented of my sin and trusted in Christ’s saving work.
My wife, Shannon, became a Christian at a young age through her church and Christian family. During her college years at Auburn University, God used Shannon’s local church to grow her love and knowledge of God’s Word and show her the value of living her life on mission. Shannon also developed a deep desire to love people in her community with disabilities. In January of 2015, Shannon got an amazing opportunity to work for Best Buddies, where she is able to combine her two passions -- reaching college students and reaching people in her community with disabilities.
Shannon and I got married in May 2014. Christ has done a mighty work in our lives and it is our desire to see the gospel go to the ends of the earth.
I grew up going to church regularly with loving parents who continued to push me towards Christ. However, being the sinner I am, I was stubborn and stuck on worldly idols. I believed that I could fool those around me with my successes. I was motivated by success in all stages of life. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I really began to have a heart change towards the Lord. Fortunately the Lord used my baseball teammates and other friends to get me involved with a ministry called Young Life, and it was there where I began to understand what the Gospel really was.
I began my college years at Jefferson College where I quickly realized how important a community was, as I was surrounded by a lot of non-believers on the baseball team. A verse I began to cling to was Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Fortunately baseball landed me at Eastern Kentucky University two years later where I was able to get plugged in with Campus Outreach. A man by the name of Blake Buckman began to show me what it looked like to be an unashamed believer of Jesus Christ and how to share my faith with others as he invested his time in me. I learned how to study scripture and invest time in friends and fellow students. Blake challenged me to live a more Christ centered life and showed me how to be a biblical man. My heart now goes out to all those students and athletes on the college campuses that do not know the Lord. I am praying that He will now move and use me to help impact others lives in the way that mine was and in the end build up laborers for Christ and His glory.