The desire to start Open Table Church was rooted in my desire to help people see Jesus clearly and come into a life-giving relationship with Him. When a person meets a community of Christ-followers who love each other, know that Christ is the source of life, and experience God’s presence through the Holy Spirit, that person will want to know more. That is how I, an agnostic who thought he knew all about Christianity, encountered the living God and said “yes” to Him.
I was born in Las Vegas and then went to college at the University of Washington. During that time I was searching for answers to the big questions of life and was confident that Christianity did not have them. I looked into philosophy, explored other religions, and decided that we're all on our own and just need to choose how to live the best we can.
After college, I moved to the Bay Area, moved in with my sister, and met some Christians who loved each other and were fun. They drew me out and invited me into relationship. In their church I saw normal people who were connecting with God at a heart level and were confident that Jesus was real, present, and interested in their lives. This was different from my perceptions of Christianity, and it made me curious to learn more.
I investigated Jesus by reading the Gospel of John and Mere Christianity. John revealed a Jesus that was unlike the remote God I had learned about in Catholicism. The Jesus that John described was alive, passionate, and revolutionary. C.S. Lewis’ book helped me see Jesus apart from the unattractive face Christianity presented to me through the media, and it helped me see that faith is reasonable.
During a sermon at the Palo Alto Vineyard Church the pastor said, “I think the Lord is calling someone here to Himself. If that’s you, please stand up. We want to pray for you.” At that moment my heart started thumping, I felt life radiating through me, and I could not help but stand up. The living God was making Himself real to me, and my desire to know and follow Jesus was ignited. Since that day I have been eager to know God better and to help others know Him and encounter His presence also.
Here’s a quick look at some of my experiences and training since then.
- Worked as a PR consultant in the technology industry in the Bay Area (1992-2000)
- Helped start an outreach and discipleship house in San Francisco for youth called the Prodigal Project where many young adults came to Christ (1993-1996)
- Went to YWAM’s School of Biblical Studies (SBS) in Montana and came away with a solid Biblical foundation (1996-1997)
- Helped start a church in Bellevue Washington that eventually closed; learned some hard lessons about ministry (1997)
- Moved to India to help start a YWAM Bible School that helped Indian pastors and missionaries develop a Biblical foundation and worldview (1998-1999)
- Moved back to Walnut Creek, met Becky at The Creek Church, got married (yes!)
- Moved to India with Becky to teach again at the YWAM Bible School (2000-2001)
- Moved back to Walnut Creek, worked at The Creek Church as the Director of Spiritual Life and Contra Costa Christian High School as Bible teacher and chaplain (2001-2003)
- Moved to Seattle to complete a Master’s of Spiritual Formation from the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and Regent College in Vancouver B.C. (2003-2004)
- Moved back to Walnut Creek and worked full-time as Director of Spiritual Life at The Creek (2004-2007)
- Moved to Seattle to explore church planting and work as the Pastor of Transformation at Northshore Community Church (2007-2011)
- Completed an M.A. in Biblical Theology at Western Seminary in Portland (2007-2011)
- Becky and I received a recommendation to church plant by the Evangelical Covenant Church (2010)
- Moved back to Walnut Creek to start and be Lead Pastor at Open Table Church (2011-Today)