Paul Gardner and his wife, Sharon, came to ChristChurch in 2005. Following a degree in Spanish from London University, Paul started a candle-making company with a partner in the early 1970’s, with the intention of being able to afford a theological education. In 1979, Paul received his Master of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS and later, his PhD from Cambridge University in England.
Paul is British, and Sharon was born in California, leaving for England when she was just twenty. Paul’s ministry in England has included teaching New Testament and Homiletics for seven years at Oak Hill Theological College, a seminary in London, pastoring a church in the northwest of the country for over twelve years, and most recently, serving as the Archdeacon of Exeter. This is a position appointed by the Bishop to help oversee clergy, parishes, and churches in an area in southwest England.
Along with his love of pastoral ministry and care for people, Dr. Gardner has been actively engaged in preaching and teaching both nationally and internationally. In England he served, for a number of years, as Chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council. Some of his teachings are available at www.paulgardner.org.
Paul and his wife Sharon arrived in Atlanta in November of 2005. Sharon is a qualified school teacher. Their family is now grown: Jonathan is married to Charlotte, and they live in London with their daughter Naomi, born June 28, 2006. David is married to Amanda, and they live on Seabrook Island, SC. Hannah is married to Steven Simms and she is pursuing studies at Richmont Graduate School.
Paul has published a number of books and articles, including commentaries in the Focus on the Bible Commentary Series from Christian Focus Publications. He has written on 2 Peter & Jude, Revelation, and Ephesians for that series. Further works include “The Gifts of God and the Authentication of a Christian”, “An Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 8-11,” and “The Zondervan Encyclopedia of Bible Characters” (as editor and major contributor). Dr. Gardner is also working on a commentary for Zondervan on 1 Corinthians and a pastoral book on the subject “When God Says No!,” which he describes as a “much-neglected area in Christian teaching.”
Sharon and I have a passion to love God and his people. We are always learning, but we are so thankful to God that he has called us to serve here. We long to serve the Lord at ChristChurch in whatever areas he opens for us. Whether it be visiting those in serious need, inviting people to our home, or teaching, or preaching the Word, our desire is that we grow continually in our knowledge and love of the Lord and help others to do the same. For both of us, the study of God\'s Word, and worship and prayer with God\'s people are foundational and the deepest joy of our own spirituality and love for the Lord.
My excitement about serving as the Pastor for Congregational Life comes from a great desire to see people gain a deeper understanding of God’s grace and reach out with that grace to our community. In my ten years as a youth pastor and nine years as an associate pastor at ChristChurch, I believe the Lord has given me a heart for shepherding and discipleship, and a real passion for the next generation.
Coming from a broken home, I came to know the Lord at a young age and have been influenced greatly by many godly people, including family members, teachers & coaches, Young Life leaders, youth group leaders, friends & mentors. After graduating from Anderson University in 1986 and spending 5 years in retail management, the Lord confirmed a desire to be in full-time ministry in the summer of 1991. While serving as a youth pastor, I completed my graduate studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1995.
The last several years have been a time of amazing growth in Christ and movement toward self-awareness and God-awareness. I believe the Lord has led my wife of 19 years, Paulette, and me on an incredible journey of our hearts. He has taught me much about myself, but more importantly, much about Him, exposing my idols and showing me His grace, His goodness, and His sovereignty. There have been times of struggle and difficulty, but a sense of wonder and “awakening” as well, with a new discovery and understanding of God’s grace and what that really means in our lives. It is truly irresistible and it’s truly amazing! Through the privilege of being a father to two incredible daughters, the Lord is redeeming my own experiences and revealing His character as I become more and more dependent on Him.
Ministry in God’s church, many times, involves deep personal struggle. Nevertheless, I have a great desire to deepen my personal relationship with the Lord and glorify Him with my work, for I “continue to work out [my] salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [me] to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Phil. 2:12-13)
I am passionate about God`s Word, his people, and the gifts that he has given to his Church in order to spread the Good News of Jesus in a compelling and holistic manner. For those reasons I am most interested in how we, as the Church, can best enter into God`s presence and make the most of the Bible, Bread and Wine, Baptism, and Prayer which are given by our Lord with the intended purpose that they nourish his people and call others to faith in King Jesus. Everything that I do at ChristChurch (see below) starts with worship. As a Christian and as a pastor I believe it is a joy to worship God and I hope to see others, those who confess faith in Jesus and those who as of yet do not, come to share the same joy and excitement of knowing our powerful creator God as a Loving Savior, a Loving Father, and a Loving King.
I grew up in a Christian home and for all intents and purposes I do not remember a day that I did not believe the good news that Jesus died for my sins and rose again from the dead having freed my from the tyranny of sin. As I have grown older my spiritual maturity has increased and so has my understanding of how sinful I am and how beautiful God`s grace is. In late high school and college I became enamored with Theology and I continue to loving studying God and his word and am humbled by how little I know and how many questions I still have.
CALL TO MINISTRY
I started teaching in the local church when I was in college. At that time I also led some small group Bible Studies, discipled some fellow students, and began to be more interested in actively telling others about Jesus (you know without lowering my voice and being a little embarrassed!). I was encouraged by pastors, elders, and friends to seek out God`s calling for me with regard to Gospel Ministry. So in June of 2006 my wife Julie and I headed out to St. Louis where I was enrolled in the Masters of Divinity program at Covenant Theological Seminary. At that time Julie was pregnant with our first child, Hadden who is now 8 years old, and since then we have added Tennyson (6), Roan (3) and Graham (1.5). As a result our house is full of lots of sword fighting, super-heroes, and weird smells. After seminary I interned at a church in San Diego, CA for a few months and then moved to Georgia where I continued to pursue ministry while working a number of sales jobs. God taught me many things about his faithfulness, his love, and his desire to see Christ formed in me during this time. I subsequently learned much of my doubting heart, my lack of patience, and my obsession with control (among other things). But during all of that time God was preparing me for gospel ministry in ways that I still struggle to describe.
SPECIFIC WORK TO WHICH I HAVE BEEN CALLED
In June 2011 my family and I began to worship at ChristChurch and in May 2012 I was called by the elders of CCP as the Assistant pastor of Outreach and Home Groups. That means that I am responsible to insure that everything we do as a church has an outreach—evangelistic—focus. This is an exciting calling at a church where many people want to tell others (friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members) about the hope that we as Christians have in King Jesus and where people, young and old, are eager to see visitors at Church!
One way that outreach is fostered, at CCP, is in our Home Group ministry where Christians are encouraged to grow deeper in their faith, grow closer to one another and engage their neighbors together (see Home Group link).
Beyond Outreach and Home Groups I also plan and lead our evening worship service (Sundays at Seven). At this service we dig deep into the word of God, sing and pray to him in the Spirit, and engage the questions that people have always wanted to ask but have, maybe, never had the opportunity to ask them. Further, I preach regularly, teach often and offer pastoral oversight to our College ministry. In all of these areas of church life it is a joy, and a labor of love before God, to serve the people of God, and encourage an outward face that seeks the peace, flourishing, and salvation of those in the City of Atlanta.
Greg joined the ChristChurch staff as the Director of Music and Arts in 2006. He is a graduate of Belmont University with a Bachelor of Music in Church Music, emphasis in conducting and piano. He completed a Master’s in Church Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Greg has served the local church for over twenty years, specializing in blending old hymns, modern songs, and liturgy into services of worship that undergird the spoken word. At ChristChurch, he is responsible for the training and development of instrumentalists and vocalists from within the body to lead weekly worship. He also leads seasonal choirs and produces Christmas at ChristChurch, an annual event including adult and children’s choirs, orchestra, dance, and drama.
Greg also oversees the ChristChurch Arts Ministry, which includes the Genema Gallery, located in the church foyer. The Genema Gallery hosts rotating exhibits by artists both inside and outside the church. The ministry has grown to include Expressions, an art show celebrating talent within the church body.
Greg is married to Kristi, a preschool teacher and freelance graphic designer. They are parents to a son and a daughter. Together, Greg and Kristi enjoy leading worship for Mission to the World (MTW) conferences, both in the US and abroad. They also enjoy writing and composing.
I love children and youth! God is so good, creating an amazingly structured organism that provides a beautiful image of the tri-une God. When I think about families, and God’s plan for them to reflect who he is and his love for us, I get really excited!
I was born and raised in Southern California...yes, a Los Angeles native!
Due to my parents love for children, working in both local churches as well as community-based programs we moved around a lot. These experiences early in life laid the foundation for what the LORD would use to develop my “call” to shepherd and equip adults how to diligently disciple their children in the Word of God.
To get where I am today was a long, and at times sordid journey…but always one in which the LORD guided and directed me toward his ultimate plan for my life. After graduating from BIOLA University with a degree in psychology (emphasis in child development) in 1992, I have worked in camping, urban and suburban settings, in both church and community-based programs and ministries.
In 2001 I met my wife, Kelly, when mutual friends bugged me until I asked her out. Being we were in our early-mid 30’s at the time, I was a bit leery having been set up on many blind dates that clearly did not turn out so well. Needless to say, we hit it off right away, getting married a year-to-the-day we met.
Interestingly enough, while we have many things in common, what most drew me to Kelly were our differences...differences that the Lord has used to mature me into a man. Including such things as her being from the Northeast (New Jersey) and my being from So-Cal. However these cultural differences may have challenged us, God has used them to bring him glory in how we serve him together.
In addition, God has also used Kelly’s completion of her Masters in Theology in my life, which she has used not only to lead and teach women in various capacities, but to also support and challenge me in my thinking and approach to ministry.
From the moment we met Kelly and I wanted to be involved in foster care and even possibly adopt. However, it was not until we struggled with infertility for 8 years and in our early 40’s that we began to realize if we wanted children we need to act soon. In 2011 we would be introduced to our boys, Jacob and Makiah, but it would take another two years before we would adopt them officially. It has been amazing to see how the LORD has answered a 25-year prayer of mine to have a family of my own.
My Calling to Serve God’s Family
In a nutshell, this is what drives me and what I believe God has called me to focus my serving of he and his church (from Deuteronomy 6, Leviticus 19:17-18; Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34-35):
• Every child valued
• Christ-centered relationships
• Diligent discipleship
• Biblically-focused teaching
• A safe and secure environment
• A high standard of excellence
Feel free to email me (email@example.com) with any questions you have...I love to talk with those who have a passion for teaching kids God’s word!
Robin serves as the Business Manager and also as Interim Children's Nursery Coordinator. She has worked at ChristChurch for over 10 years, and manages the day-to-day operations of the church.
Robin is married to Jay Parten, who manages customer support at Horizon Software. Robin and Jay live in Marietta, and worship at Johnson Ferry Baptist.
Beryl and her husband came to ChristChurch in 2005. She graduated from Nyack College in New York and received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at Georgia State University. She taught both public and private school for several years, and worked as the Director for the girl’s division of Youth Guidance, a ministry to troubled inner-city youth in Atlanta. Beryl has played piano, organ and keyboard at various churches and conferences over the years. In addition, she served as the Director of Music at Grace Church in Duluth, GA.
Presently, Beryl is the Assistant to the Director of Music and Arts at ChristChurch and occasionally serves as worship leader and pianist. She assists in the preparation of weekly Sunday worship services, seasonal choirs and orchestras, special events such as concerts, musical theatre and art exhibits. She sees music and the arts as a vital part of our worship and a means to glorify God through the creative gifts that God has given his people.
Beryl is married to Bob Fowler, an architect and President and CEO of Fowler Design Associates. They have been involved in the community through a variety of ministries and music/arts organizations. They have two grown children and 3 wonderful grandchildren.
Caroline grew up in the PCA, and after having been a member at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia during her college years, returned to her hometown of Atlanta. She began attending ChristChurch in summer of 2014. Caroline graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S.Ed in Early Childhood Education. After moving from Athens, Caroline enjoyed teaching kindergarten for a year at Providence Christian Academy before being led to her current position at ChristChurch as the Children`s Ministry Coordinator. Caroline officially became a member at ChristChurch in the spring of 2015, and a few months later joined the staff. It is her passion to partner with and empower Covenant families as they seek to raise God-fearing, Christ-like children who love the Lord.
Kelley has been working as the Accountant at ChristChurch since 2010. She is a graduate from Georgia State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting.
Kelley is married to Charles Miller who works as the budget director for the Counsel of Superior Court Judges. They have one grown son, Steven, who is currently serving in the US Navy. Charles and Kelley live in Locust Grove and are members of Salem Baptist Church.
Lauren joined the ChristChurch staff as the Next Generation Youth Director in July 2015. She graduated from Grove City College, in Grove City, PA, with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Religious Studies and minors in Psychology and Communications.
Lauren comes from a family with a strong background in youth ministry. She was born in the suburbs of Chicago, and attended a large non-denominational church where her father was the youth minister. At the age of five and a half, her family moved to England, where her father took another youth ministry position in a parish church. Through interactions with the youth group and her own peers, Lauren gained a passion to share the Gospel with youth and teens. From an early age, she realized how important it is to be able to grow and defend one’s faith. After living in England for just over five years, her family moved to Charleston, SC. Following her graduation from high school, Lauren returned to England for a year to serve as a missionary at a Christian “camp.” During this year she was able to work with a team of Christians from across the globe to share the Gospel with both churched and unchurched youth. Through serving on that team, her passion for sharing the Gospel with students grew, and God reaffirmed her calling to youth ministry. When her time in England was over, she returned to the States to study at Grove City College.
During the summers in college, Lauren spent two summers working at a Christian summer camp near Charleston, SC. The last two summers she spent as a youth ministry intern at a Presbyterian church in Ashburn, VA. The following autumn, she was an intern at an Anglican church in Georgetown, SC. She also worked as the Digital Sales Lead at her local Barnes and Noble for a little while.
In June 2015, Lauren married her college sweetheart, James. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Business and is a classically trained guitarist. He is currently working for a sales outsourcing company, but has the desire to compose for video games and other media outlets. They both dream of starting a duo for one of his side projects.
Lauren has a strong desire to see the students of the youth ministry not only grow in their faith and understanding of the Biblical Truth, but also learn how to reach out to their friends and communities.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”