Dr. Hamm (Jeff) was born in Germany and adopted by an American couple stationed there with the U.S. Army. His parents also adopted a daughter of Polynesian descent. Jeff thus experienced the diversity of growing up in a bi-ethnic family. He has lived in Europe and Asia—in addition to multiple states in America—plus toured over a dozen foreign countries.
Jeff graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in Mathematics (1990). Afterward, he served in the U.S. Air Force for 6 years but separated at the rank of captain in order to pursue the call to ministry. He attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi where he received the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree for ordination. Jeff then enjoyed the pleasure of serving as the pastor of the Thomson–Memorial Presbyterian Church in Centreville, Mississippi, for four years. He was also honored to serve as the pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, Alabama, for ten years. Most recently, Jeff earned the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (est. 1495). His dissertation—in the field of presupposition apologetics—was published as a book entitled Turning the Tables on Apologetics: Helmut Thielicke’s Reformation of Christian Conversation (Eugene: Pickwick, 2018). Jeff has also accomplished additional research on the doctrine of Christ’s descent into hell. His unique contribution on the matter, challenging 500 years of Reformed interpretation, was published in the Westminster Theological Journal (“Descendit: Delete or Declare? A Defense against the Neo-Deletionists.” WTJ 78 : 93-116).
When Jeff was 38 years old, he experienced a life-changing event: meeting his own biological mother and German family. The wonderful reunion has been truly remarkable in multiple ways. For example, after learning of his family history, Jeff realized that he had read the work of his ancestor—a 19th century Old Testament scholar and professor at the University of Göttingen—in his own research while yet unaware of his lineage from this forefather. The new relationship with his German family naturally directed the focus of Jeff’s Ph.D. thesis to the work of a 20th-century German theologian which served to help him learn some of their language, history, and culture.
The purpose of Jeff’s life is to know God and make Him known. This goal has a significant influence on his preaching ministry (which he considers as the art of Christian conversation—occurring either publicly from the pulpit or privately in personal dialogue). For example, before conversing with non-Christians he first tries to identify with and understand them by viewing the world from their standpoint. This identification does not take place in the comfortable armchair of rational certainty, but rather pushes him to the edge of the abyss of unbelief. For Jeff is convinced, following Luther’s Anfechtung theology, that it is not until one’s faith is challenged to the point of crisis can one truly perceive what is genuinely real. Indeed, his life-long prayer has never advanced beyond that of the father of the demoniac, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mk. 9:24; KJV).
Jeff gives glory and thanks to God for Kelly, a true companion in his pilgrimage on this earth; and for their four children, Joshua, Hunter, Luke and Betsy, whose lives and love are a shelter in the storm and stress of his very existence.
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)
My passions in ministry are preaching and teaching in a way that cultivates fellowship and outreach. I aim to motivate God’s people with the gospel in order to see them become a faithful presence of God’s love as they increase their love for Jesus, each other, and the lost and broken with whom they live, work, and play.
I grew up in a Christian home and 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 that passion continues.
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 oldest, Hadden, who is now 11 years old; since then we have added Tennyson (8), Roan (6) Graham (3), and...wait for it...a little girl(!) Naomi who is halfway through her second year.
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 about 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 ensure 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 HomeGroup link).
Beyond Outreach and Home Groups, I also plan and lead our evening worship service (Sundays at 7pm). 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. Further, I preach regularly, teach often and offer pastoral oversight to our College ministry as well as our Art Gallery. 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.
Bob Brunson is originally from Gadsden, Alabama, and earned a degree in communications from the University of Alabama in 1979. Following several years on staff with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, he attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, where he completed the Master of Divinity degree in 1986. Bob has served as a small- town pastor in Mississippi and Alabama, as an associate pastor at churches in Florida, Colorado, Georgia and Mississippi, and 6 years as senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers, FL. The Brunsons returned to Alabama in 2016 to join the staff of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, AL first as executive pastor and then as acting senior pastor until leaving to become the executive pastor here at ChristChurch in March of 2018. Bob’s wife Karen is also from Gadsden, a graduate of the University of Alabama, and a teacher by trade. Bob and Karen have 2 married children and one granddaughter. In his spare time, Bob enjoys reading good books and playing bad golf.
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.”
Kutania is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and has served in ministering to youth and young adults for over 18 years with her husband Brian of 19 years. She and her husband share a love for music and have recorded several underground musical projects with a style of hip hop alternative and contemporary worship for the local congregation. Their message is to bring hope to the broken hearted and encouragement to strengthen the weak. Kutania and her husband have two lovely daughters, Kenya age 17 and Zionne age 10 and they reside in Powder Springs, Georgia.
Kutania has received her Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Counseling from Luther Rice University and has served in children's ministry for over six years. She has a passion for reaching the next generation while leading them and their families in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. Her two favorite passages of Scripture are Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and Jeremiah 29:11, “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” To her, these are messages of hope to all people for knowing they have purpose and knowing they are loved by God. Kutania finds joy in giving endless energy, honesty, creativity and resilience to the next generation in helping them to discover their part in God’s story.
Carl is originally from Birmingham, Alabama where he began his career in facility
management at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. After 5 years, he then moved to
Atlanta where he served at the Perimeter Presbyterian Church for 15 years. Carl has
been at ChristChurch since 2002. When not putting out fires at the church, he enjoys
bowling, lifting weights, and dreaming of Christmas.