We're Going Central
(Greg is beginning his role as the Director of Evangelism for Central Church)
(Greg is beginning his role as the Director of Evangelism for Central Church)
Dear Family and Friends,
It is with great excitement that Briana and I announce to you that I will be serving as the Director of Evangelism & Reach at Central Church in Collierville, Tennessee.
I met the Lead Teaching Pastor, Matt Shackelford, at the church I was saved at seven years ago. He recently began serving at Central Church in January 2020. He is a like-minded theologian and one of the best expository preacher’s I know. He is also a husband & father who cherishes his family with the love of Christ. I am so excited to support his vision of reaching, teaching, and training.
Another incredible aspect of this transition is that Central Church is very supportive of Anchored North. We are overjoyed to partner together for the advancement of the gospel.
This is a position that I have prayed about having for all of my Christian life.
Just so you get a clear picture of this, I invite you into my journal entry from seven years ago.
Today was my first time approaching random people and sharing the gospel. It was amazing!
Sam was my tag-team partner at the Block in Orange. He is such a man of God.
The Lord led Sam and me to this group of high schoolers. All of them shut down except for this sophmore girl, Victoria.
What she said blew me away: “Be respectful, guys, and listen to what they have to say.” This was a sophmore in high school! So bold, so mature, the Lord has great plans for her.
Sam and I shared our faith with her.
I got to connect with her because she said she had an abusive father who cheated on her mother while she was pregnant and is verbally abusive.
I was able to share with her my abusive past and how the Lord really became my perfect Father to love me and change me.
Victoria said that the lack of a father figure has caused her to look for love in all the wrong places.
I hope she finds God as the father she has been looking for. I will definitely be praying for her. It looks like some seeds have already been planted in her life.
This day was huge for me.
First, it made me see further into this hurting world of ours.
Second, it made me realize how much God has equipped me for evangelism. Alone, I can do nothing, but through the Lord, I am able to make people feel comfortable and love on them just minutes after meeting them. Praise God!
Lastly, I learned today that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. God has saved me from much destruction, and I want to share His love with this hurting world! I want all to see His goodness and life-changing power.
I want to be an evangelist.
I am overflowing with gratefulness to God and Central Church for allowing me the opportunity to teach evangelism & apologetics, to lead evangelsitic outreaches/events, to pursue my M.Div. at Southern Seminary, and to create resources that will equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
Briana and I are looking forward to loving, serving, and being among the body of Central Church.
There are many painful memories I have that bring me to tears of both sorrow and joy, and they remind me of Christ’s redeeming love and my desperate need for Him.
I was a man enslaved to anger, hatred, and suicidal thoughts. I have caused immense pain and suffering for others by lashing out at them, manipulating them, and abusing them emotionally.
The woman I started dating during my junior year of high school was the victim of my explosive rage. It started out unassuming, and over three years it intensified to never-ending episodes of insults, personal attacks, and emotional games.
Desperate for change, and having just moved to a new church, she gave me an ultimatum: Either you come with me to church or we break up. I agreed to go, and on August 5, 2012, I walked into Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills for the first time.
However, months later my anger still hadn’t departed, so she did. It was over.
But rather than leaving the church that I had never wanted to attend in the first place, something started to happen: I began feeling a sweeping sense of my wickedness and depravity. I was so empty and ashamed of myself that I couldn’t get out of bed without reading the Bible. My hard heart was breaking, and I kept going to church by myself, despite the awkwardness and pain of seeing her and her family who were still attending. God’s Word was the only place I found hope.
Alone in my room a few months later, I was deleting pictures of the ceased relationship when I came across a video that she made in which she was so excited and full of joy. Immediately, I flashed back to the night she broke up with me; I had been yelling in a fit of rage up until the point that she screamed, “I feel broken.” These many months later, I finally understood how damaging my life had been, and I broke down crying.
In that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that heaven was real and that hell was real. Not only was hell real, but I knew I deserved to go there. Not only did I deserve to go there, but I would send myself there. It was like a villain had stepped out of a book he was in, read the book, and realized that he indeed was the villain.
By the grace of God, it didn’t end there. In that afternoon’s moment, everything changed. My eyes were opened to recognize Christ’s righteousness and His standard of complete goodness according to the Bible. My vicious heart was exposed before me, and I cried out for His forgiveness.
As an arrogant, verbally abusive man, I never knew an ounce of guilt or sorrow. But under the conviction of God’s Word, guilt and sorrow was all I knew.
For the next few hours, every sentence in the human language disappeared except these three: “I’m so sorry for my destruction, God. You have to change my heart. I’m not leaving here until you do.”
As streams of water poured from my eyes, living water filled my soul.
Now one simple truth defines me: Jesus Christ lived, died, and resurrected to take the penalty for my sins.
Since this day, I have never been the same.
It is with tears of joy falling down my face that I testify that this same church I walked into unwillingly seven years ago is the church that discipled me and sent me to seminary to study Evangelism & Missions at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In case you were wondering if miracles still happen today, I want to provide you with undeniable proof of God’s greatness: a beautiful woman who loves Christ decided to marry me, travel across the country with me to seminary, and now journey to Central Church.
I first met Briana at a young adults church group. At that moment, time stopped, the heavens rejoiced, and the grass became greener throughout all four corners of the earth.
From that encounter onward, we grew increasingly in our love for Christ and our love for one another.
On August 5, 2018, the Lord united us in marriage, I call August 5th “The Day of Brides” because it’s the day I was introduced to the Bride of Christ (visiting Kindred Community Church for the first time six years prior) and the day when I married my beautiful bride, Briana.
Words cannot express how thankful I am to God for bringing Briana into my life. She is quick-witted, intelligent, and thoughtful. Additionally, she is kind, compassionate, and loyal. Most importantly, she loves Jesus with her whole heart, and she is passionate about glorifying Him in everything she does.
What really drew me to Briana was her devotion to Jesus, her gentle spirit, and her willful mind. She holds to her convictions and anchors herself to obeying the Lord at all costs. To be honest, she convicts and inspires me greatly.
After two years of marriage, I can further testify beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has made us for one another.
I am so privileged to be one with her in our mission to glorify God in our home, in our church, and in the pursuit of a seminary education.
She encourages me in prayer. She encourages me in character. She encourages me in faith. She encourages me in spelling and grammar. (She now edits all of my writing, and I never knew how much I needed it. I’ve learned that I’m practically illiterate!)
Briana and I not only made vows to reflect Christ to one another; we made vows to reflect Christ to this lost and dying world. She truly is God’s provided companion in serving with me to reach this generation with the gospel.
We’re so excited to enter our third year of marriage in our third state!
As we head off to join Central Church:
Thank you for supporting us in this journey.
(we would love to see you there!)