I grew up like most little boys in rural Missouri. My family’s land gave way to plenty of space where I could run, climb trees, play Army, shoot guns … and get into my share of trouble. Although I spent my younger years raised in the church, I walked away from faith through high school and for seven years following. I had never let the truth of the Gospel sink in, never realized the depths of understanding that it contained for me. Subsequently those years were characterized by a lack of meaningful forward movement, and selfishness.
During those seven post high school years a complete lack of purpose and direction led to three failed attempts at college. The only true passion I had in life was Martial Arts, pursuing one of the world’s definitions of “tough guy”, I heavily invested in it. Looking back on that time I may have been “legally” considered a man, but I was far from actually being one.
When my first son, Ethan, was born, I realized my bankruptcy as a man. I knew nothing about manhood and certainly nothing about fatherhood. My worldly pursuits hadn’t offered me the insight or the direction I’d hoped for when that day came. I quickly realized that all of the things (as a man and father) that I said that I wouldn’t do, all of the things that I said I wouldn’t be, I was. I was well on my way to failing my son.
At the same time he was born, I had entered the police academy. As a police officer I began to encounter real-life suffering and brokenness on a level I’d never imagined occurred in Southwest Missouri… or my home. My life was broken and crazy. As I struggled to become a good father and find security, peace and direction, I did not know where to turn. I felt betrayed by the inadequacy of my “faith” to answer the questions I was struggling with…..
Although my upbringing had given me a foundational understanding of Christianity, I found that my elementary understanding of the Christian faith did not explain the deep questions in my soul or quench my thirst for answers. Debating if I would believe Christianity at all, I was guided to a book on Christian apologetics. The book intrigued me, I had never realized what I had been exposed to as a child had such strong intellectual roots. I decided to pursue my “faith” rationally, and if it did not hold up I would no longer even bother with the “label” of it and my obligatory occasional Sunday attendance. If anything, I was overly skeptical of the rationality and reality of faith in Christ. I had a deep emotional rift with my “faith”, I felt betrayed by it and the time I had given it in my youth. I was ready to just be done, but I was intrigued enough that I decided I would “give it a fair shake” in comparison to other faiths, including atheism, which was the top contender and my current functional faith at the time.
As I sought answers, analyzed and compared the Christian faith, I was amazed at what I found. My mind led me but my heart followed. God revealed Himself to me and grew my faith. During that time I was fathered by God, he began to mold and shape me in my understanding of what it meant to be a man, a father, and a leader for Christ.
As my relationship with Christ grew, my calling to disciple men in Biblical truth soon became clear. God began leading me to build up men who, in turn, build ministries and address needs in the world. The vision for Background Leadership Academy began to form.
In the meantime, I took another stab at pursuing college — and now with a deeply rooted faith, guidance and direction, I obtained a degree at Liberty University.
Now I continuously study theology, apologetics and Christian fundamentals in my “free time.” I still mentor young men, and also am diligently working to build and equip elder men who can also produce world changing disciples. Evil is a violation of purpose (Ravi Zaccharias,) but through this ministry, we are restoring purpose to men everywhere. They in turn are restoring order, fulfilling their Biblical mandate to cultivate and to keep, to preserve and protect, to create, and when appropriate, to destroy.
Today I married to my wife Laura,and am father to four beautiful children- Ethan, Shiloh, Beckett, and Aliza. My family and I reside in Pleasant Hope, Missouri.