themcneilsI’m a Kentucky native and was saved as a child. After studying computer information systems at the University of Louisville, I headed to Southern Seminary, and plan to finish my MDiv in December 2016 while in the NETS program.

In 2012, I joined the staff at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Kentucky and served as pastor to college students and young adults, IT director, and director of the Upward Sports program. It was there that I met Abby, a Texas native.  Abby studied psychology at Texas A&M, where she was saved through Campus Crusade for Christ. She was also a member of the Corps of Cadets, and is now an officer in the Army Reserves. Abby and I married in 2013, and in April 2016 we had our first child, a daughter, Eowyn Rose.

Eowyn

I started at Southern intending to pursue academia and teaching. However, Abby and I feel God used my time there to help shape our hearts for planting churches. I still have a passion for higher study, and hope to pursue a PhD in Hebrew linguistics, but I now see the benefit of a pastor-theologian role. These two passions should be married and not seen as independent of one another.  In particular, my passion for preaching has grown tremendously through weekly opportunities at Severns Valley.

When Abby and I attended the 2014 NETS Banquet in Louisville, we fell in love with their commitment to marriage and family. Our many interactions with Wes since have confirmed that this commitment is real and that it stems out of love for Jesus Christ and his scriptures. We believe God is leading us to plant a church and we are very excited about this training. However, more than the training, we are looking forward to the discipleship from mentors, the strengthening of our marriage, and the community with fellow future planters to shape us into a biblical pastor and wife.  We hope our time with NETS will help confirm our desire to plant, develop the skills and maturity needed for planting, and strengthen our marriage.