I was born on March 13, 1975, in Rochester, NY. My parents are both Christians, as are their parents. There is a long heritage of Christian faith and ministry in my family. While I was in kindergarten, a babysitter asked me, “If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?” I stumbled through an answer, but it was clear that I did not know. So later that afternoon, I asked my dad to explain the answer to me. I remember a clear sorrow for sin and a desire to go to heaven. That day, at the age of five, I gave my life to Christ. However, I did not fully understand what that meant.
Through my developing years, I grew in faith and love toward God and his people. By the time I was in eighth grade, my youth pastor, saw that I was a potential leader. He asked me to teach my junior high Sunday school class for one lesson. I found teaching the Word to be both natural and fun. Later that year, I joined several high school guys on a leadership development trip to the Rocky Mountains. Each of the eight young men was specifically chosen because of their commitment to Christ and their leadership potential. Through the intense spiritual focus of that trip, I committed my life to not only loving Christ but serving him as well.
Throughout my high school years, I was a leader in the youth group and in the church. My youth pastor, Tim Erickson, became both a friend and a mentor. He pushed me to grow in the things of the Lord. At the same time, I became fascinated with the study of theology. While other guys were busy trying to get to know girls, I was more interested in knowing God (most of the time). I couldn’t get enough, and I soon branched out into areas of hermeneutics, church leadership, and preaching. However, I was convinced that I would never be a pastor. I thought that I would always be a lay leader in the church.
The story continues with my call to ministry.