The session has called for a congregational meeting on September 13 immediately following the worship service for the purpose of voting on officer candidates: Rob Porter (elder), Carson Snipes (elder) and David Thorsland (deacon). This meeting is being scheduled at a later date because the Presbyterian Church in America's Book of Church Order requires 30 days notice prior to the election of officers. These three men have been nominated, gone through officer training and been examined both in writing and before our church elders. Please be in prayer as we consider these men as officers in our church.
I grew up in a believing household, and was raised in the church. I knew that God was good, but I thought I had to be good for Him to love me. I was good at checking off boxes to make myself feel worthy of God’s love. When I graduated from Liberty High School in 1989, I moved to Clemson to attend Clemson University. I had been involved in FCA in high school, so I continued attending FCA at Clemson. I got involved in an FCA freshman Bible study that fall, and it was there that I first started to realize that there was more to Christianity than I thought. I continued to search and learn during my years at Clemson, but I still didn’t really understand what Jesus had done for me. I still felt like I had to do my part in order to be right with God. I got married to Starla in January of 1994, a few weeks after graduating from Clemson. We started attending Downtown Community Fellowship, and got involved in a Bible study on Galatians. It was during this study that God opened my eyes to the gospel of grace. Paul’s words came to life as they never had before. I saw myself as I really was, a broken sinner who could do nothing to make himself any better. I knew that Jesus’ blood was all I needed to be in a right relationship with God. We started attending Clemson Presbyterian in 1998 and it has been a joy to grow closer to Christ together with other believers. I continue to have ups and downs in my spiritual life, but I never doubt that Christ died for me and his blood covers all of my sins.
I was asked about being an officer at Clemson Presbyterian several years ago, and after praying about it, I felt that the time was not right. My kids were young and I was teaching and coaching in another town. Around two years ago, I was asked by three different people if I would consider being an officer in the church. I did not immediately know if this is what God was calling me to, but after much prayer, and officer training, I felt God’s call to the office of deacon.
Starla and I have three sons. Our oldest Josiah is 23 and is working as a civil engineer in St. George, Utah. Our middle son Sam is 20, and is studying environmental engineering at Clemson University. Our youngest son Nate is almost 16, and is a sophomore at Seneca High School. Starla is a social worker working for Community Long Term Care. I have been a science teacher in Oconee County for the past 26 years.
Born in Orlando, Florida, I was truly blessed to be part of a Christian home where I was taught about God from an early age. Unfortunately I leaned upon this foundation to the point that I thought I was not really a sinner and therefore was good enough to be let into heaven some day based upon my family's faith and my good behavior. By God's grace, however, I attended a youth retreat in the eighth grade and was truly convicted of how great my sin is and how desperately I need a savior. The great news that was revealed to me that night was that in spite of my sin Christ Jesus died for me and paid for my sins, giving His life as a free gift for me so that I can now have a right-relationship with God that is impossible without His sacrifice. Since then I have seen God at work in and around my life and He has placed His Spirit within me with a desire to pursue His will for my life.
God has been generous to me through the blessings of my wife, Molly, and 3 children, Miles, Jordan, & Elsie Lyn. We are thankful to be part of the Clemson community and we look forward to witnessing what God has planned for Clemson Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community through His sovereign power.
During the week I use my degree in Packaging Science to design reusable industrial packaging systems in Greenville.
Though I did not pursue the office of ruling elder of my own accord I can say with confidence that God has shown me through prayer, reflection in the Word, and deliberation with godly people that this is where He is leading me in spite of my great failings and shortcomings. I take great comfort in the promise that Christ's power will be made perfect in my weaknesses and I humbly ask for prayer for myself and my family as we embark upon this calling together in His powerful name.
I was raised in a Christian home with two parents who were believers and they taught me many good lessons about matters of faith, the gospel, and what Jesus’ death meant for sinners.
As a young child, I saw a lot of efforts by Christians to maintain their belief structures, which seemed more works-based than grace. I was driven to obedience but not knowing why for sure and certainly not having peace about my circumstances.
But there were people involved in my life that loved me and in gospel sharing. I understood Christ as someone who died for me, I understood the fact that He was sinless, I understood the fact that He was someone to emulate, but I never quite put it all together until……
The Lord began to work in me through a pursuit of questions I had about Him, His character and His way to salvation. I made a public profession of faith at the age of 13 but walking the aisle of a church was not the point. The point is, I went from trying to do this on my own to recognizing that not only could I not do it alone, I didn’t want that to be the case because if I could secure my salvation and right standing before God, then I could lose it just as easily.
I understood that there was a Savior that died for me and gave me something I could never achieve: perfect righteousness. He paid the penalty for my debt. His righteousness became mine. My disobedience, shame, sin and guilt became His – Wow!
Family and vocation:
I have been blessed with a wife of 23 years, Tonya, and we have three children: Austin, 18; Mary Elizabeth, 16; and Katherine, 12. I work as the Area Director of Donor Relations with the ministry of Compassion International, where I have served the last five years. My previous background has been in higher education development, founding a Christian campus ministry and serving a local church as a youth and children’s minister. I am a 1993 Clemson graduate and 1998 graduate of Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.
Calling to the office of elder:
Simply put, I love Christ, I love His Church and I love serving His people. I believe I meet the qualifications of elder as outlined in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. I believe the Lord is calling me to elder, having gifted me in the areas of ministry required for the office as shepherd, teacher and ruler. I yearn to serve His Church in this capacity, seeing it as a noble calling but realizing the weighty responsibilities the office carries.