An open-air preacher should be a church member because the Bible expects every Christian to be a part of a church. After reading this sentence, some of you may have this thought, “The term ‘church membership’ is not found in the Bible. It is an extra-Biblical concept.” Before I answer this objection, let me remind you of cultural factors. As Americans, we live in a hyper-individualistic society which chooses autonomy and freedom over community and submission. This contrasts with Asian cultures who think of themselves in terms of a group and not as individuals.
Why do I bring this up? I think that our American culture has unknowingly infected many open-air preachers. They argue against church membership so that they can be unaccountable. This leads to isolated individuals who do not have a community to encourage them, correct them, rebuke them, and watch out for them. This results in a Christian without a flock and without a shepherd. They are sheep unprotected from the devil who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Is church membership Biblical? While it is true that the term “church membership” is not found in the Bible, the concept is commanded. The New Testament gives four necessities which cannot be followed without being committed to a local church.
1. Love One Another
Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection.” Paul wrote this epistle to the church in Rome. As a local church, Paul is telling them to love one another. They must show affection towards their brothers and sisters in Christ. In verses 15-16, Paul continued to say, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.” These believers are living life together and not in isolation. Since Christians still sin, they will need to be reminded to show love and to live in harmony with one another. They must be invested since they will rejoice and will weep with a fellow believer in the body.
How can a believer follow Paul’s exhortation if he is not committed to a fellowship of believers? To whom is he commanded to show brotherly love? To whom is he ordered to live in harmony? While he should do this with all Christians, to whom is he especially responsible? How can an individual be rebuked for the sin of omission when they do not do this? Should a Christian in America be rebuked for not weeping and crying with a Christian in Iran whom they have never met? Or should they be corrected for not doing this with the believers in their local church?
2. Christians Are Commanded to Meet With One Another For Worship
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
The author of the letter to the Hebrews warns these Christians to keep meeting together. There have been reports that some people have stopped coming together to worship. By disobeying the Lord, they are failing to serve the body through stirring up one another for good works and encouraging one another.
Clearly the local churches knew who were expected to attend the meetings. When they stopped coming, they were disobeying this command. How are the thousands of pastors in America supposed to know who is expected to come to worship on Sunday? How do they know who they should pursue for non-attendance? Without a defined membership, the pastors have no basis to rebuke someone for their sin. Second, a lone wolf Christian cannot justify staying at home by himself since he is not gathering with fellow believers to serve and be served.
3. Church Discipline Requires Church Membership
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 states, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
Paul warns the church in Corinth about their ungodly reputation. He has received reports that a man is committing sexual immorality with his step-mom. Instead of performing church disciple on the man, the church is condoning it. Notice that Paul is assuming a local congregation with members. In verse 1, the sexual immorality is “among you.” What is the antecedent of you? It is the church in Corinth. Second, Paul commands the church to deliver the man to Satan. When are they to do this? They must perform this action when they are assembled. When the members of the church in Corinth meet, then they will remove the man from the body.
How can a person be removed from the body if they are not in the body? Matthew 18:15-20 commands the church to remove membership for an unrepentant sinner. A person must first be a member of the church before they can be removed from that church. Paul assumes that the man belongs to the local church in Corinth. Therefore, his behavior is an ungodly reflection upon the church and the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a lone wolf open-air preacher, how can you ever be the subject of church discipline if you are not a part of a church?
4. Christians Are Commanded to Obey Their Leaders
Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Christians have a responsibility to obey their leaders. The leaders are responsible to watch over their souls, because they will have to give an account. Notice that Christians are responsible to obey their leaders. They do not have to submit to leaders from another church. In the same vein, leaders are not responsible for every Christian. They are only shepherds for the Christians under their care. If there is no church membership, then how does a leader know who are the people for whom he must give an account?
When I student taught U.S history in college, the regular teacher gave me a class roster. When the class began, I had to go through the roll and take attendance. Then, I would put the attendance sheet outside on the classroom. During those fifty minutes, I was responsible only for the students in my classroom. The principal would not hold me accountable for the behavior of the students in biology. They were under another teacher’s authority. At the same time, the students were expected to listen and follow my instructions. Since they were in my class, I had the authority. If Mr. Jones allowed his biology class to talk, it did not carry over to my classroom. My rules were different.
In the same way, leaders must know who are their responsibility. Christians must know who they are accountable to follow. The writer assumes that every Christian has a leader to whom they must submit. There is no room in Christianity to be leaderless. If you listen to John MacArthur sermons, it does not mean that he is your leader. He is not responsible for your soul since you listen to his messages. He is only responsible for the members of his church. Membership is a covenant between the church, the leaders, and the new member. The church makes a covenant to love and encourage the new member. The leaders make a covenant to watch over the new member and give an account. The new member makes a covenant to love and encourage his fellow church members and to submit to the leadership of the church.
If you are a lone wolf open-air preacher, please name me the leader who is watching out for your soul? Who is the leader that will give an account for your life? Who is the leader to whom you are commanded to submit? Who is the leader who has the authority to tell you “No!?” Who is the leader that can confront you for your sin out of love for your soul? If you are not a member of a church, then you are a sheep without a shepherd.
New converts to Christianity usually have an unmatched zeal for the gospel. The freshness of their salvation through the precious blood of their Savior propels them to action. Their enthusiasm can lead them to engage people in evangelism. Some veteran street preachers even take the passionate babe in Christ with them for an outreach. Very quickly, this opens the door to their opportunity to step up on the box. While I admire such fervor to preach the gospel in the open air, I must caution against this approach for six reasons.
1. New Converts Need Time to Grow in Character
A new believer needs time to grow in the fruits of the Spirit. In Ephesians 4:17-32, Paul addresses the Ephesians on how we should live differently from the unconverted. We must put off the old self and put on the new self. This includes putting off unrighteous anger and corrupting talk. Open-air preaching is a temptation for new converts to respond in unrighteous ways to the mocking, scoffing, and apathy of the non-Christians. A new believer does not know how to respond to cursing with blessing. They have not learned to rejoice when persecuted. If the man struggled with bitterness, wrath, malice, and violence before Christ, then he will need time for the Holy Spirit to sanctify him through the Word. The consequences of him exploding in an ungodly way would be the discrediting of the gospel message.
2. New Converts Need Discipleship
In Acts 18:24-28, God gifted Apollos to speak in the synagogues about Christ. In verse 24, we learn that he is an eloquent speaker and competent in the Scriptures. In verse 25, Luke tells us that Apollos received discipleship. Someone instructed him in the way of the Lord. This verb, instruct, means “to teach in a systematic or detailed manner.” Apollos went through a systematic discipleship program on the meaning of the Scriptures. Yet, he still needed correction. In verse 26, Priscilla and Aquila heard him preach, but he needed more instruction. They took him aside and taught him the way of the Lord more accurately. Then, God used him marvelously in Achaia to refute the Jews.
If Apollos received detailed and systematic instruction and still needed correction, how much more does a new convert? Most baby Christians have not read the Bible completely. They usually know the basics of the Gospel, but they are not competent in the Scriptures. People saved from nominal Christian backgrounds or other religions usually know very little about the Bible. They need time to learn the Scriptures through their church’s preaching and personal study in order to be prepared to preach the gospel accurately.
3. New Converts Are Students and Not Teachers
If a man is not competent to preach on Sunday in the pulpit, then he is not competent to preach on Saturday on the street corner. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul exhorts Timothy to “preach the word.” The word, preach, in this context means “to publicly announce religious truths and principles while urging acceptance and compliance.” There are only two differences between preaching on Sunday in the pulpit versus Saturday on the street corner. First, in one circumstance the preacher has a roof over his head. Second, it is a different context. On Sunday, it is a worship service to the people of God. On Saturday, it is on the street corner to mostly unbelievers. However, the act of preaching is the same. Both are public declarations of Biblical truth with the desire to see people accept it.
When a man stands up on the street corner to preach, he is declaring to the pedestrians that he is a teacher of the Bible. He understands the message and is going to proclaim it for their consideration. A new convert is not at the level of a teacher. He is still a student who is learning the basics of the faith. Imagine if a young man took a French class. After six weeks, he has learned the basics like pronouncing the abc’s, numbers, and rudimentary vocabulary. What if this young man decided to go to the street corner in order to teach people French? The assumption by the crowd would be that he is fluent and can teach. Unfortunately, they would be quickly disappointed since he is a new student to the study of the language.
A person may object and say, “Does this mean that he cannot share the gospel with anyone?” No! You are assuming that preaching is the same thing as having a conversation with a person one on one. It is not. In a conversation, a new convert does not set himself up as a competent instructor of the Bible. Instead, he is sharing what he is learning from the competent teacher at his church. Let us go back to the French student. Would it be wrong for him to share with his parents the new words he is learning in French? No, it would not, because he is not portraying himself as a French teacher. Instead, he is sharing privately the lessons that he has learned in class.
4. Teachers Will Receive a Greater Judgment
James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” In this context, the word, teacher, means “one who provides instruction.” This does not have to be a public proclamation but can be private. Preaching is always a public teaching activity. Therefore, we can apply this principle to preachers. There is greater judgment for them. We should not encourage a new convert to take greater responsibility before they are able to handle the stricter judgment. They are unprepared spiritually and doctrinally to be held to this greater standard.
5. A New Convert May Not Have the Ability to Preach
In 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, an elder must have the ability to teach to be qualified for the office. While a person does not have to be an elder to preach, these passages do show that it is a gift from God. There are some men who may have the desire to preach, but they do not have the ability. Either they have poor communication skills in contrast to Apollos or they cannot rightly handle the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
If a new convert feels the desire to preach, then he should do two things. First, sit under the preaching ministry of his church. By hearing the preaching of God’s Word every week, you will grow in your knowledge of the Lord. Besides this, it demonstrates to him what good preaching looks like. By seeing a gifted man of God preach the Bible with care, it will disciple him to do the same thing. Second, ask for an opportunity to preach at your church or teach in Sunday School. It is wise for you to cut your teeth as a preacher in the local church with a friendly audience. By learning in the church, then it will sharpen your skills in order to preach in the open-air.
5. New Converts Are Prone to Pride
In 1 Timothy 3:6, Paul wrote, “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.” This warns churches to avoid choosing a new convert to become an elder. They are particularly prone to becoming prideful. The devil will use the new office as an opportunity to have them fall into his arms. This principle can be applied to preaching as well. The public recognition of preaching can act as a stumbling block to a new convert. They start to think that they are a mature follower of Jesus since they are preaching the Gospel on the street corner and most believers are not. This pride turns into an unteachable spirit and can turn to isolation. Unfortunately, I have seen men err into false doctrine and they refused to be corrected. The open-air ministry puffed up their pride. Even though they thought they were teachers, they became fools.
What Should a New Convert Do?
I encourage men who open-air preach to take new converts with you. However, see it as a discipleship opportunity. The new convert is coming with you in order to learn. By inviting him to go, it forces the new believer to face the fear of man. Also, the conversations in the car are advantageous moments to discuss spiritual matters. When you go to your spot to preach the gospel, it grants more instruction to the babe in Christ to meditate on these truths. When there is interaction with non-believers, he will witness you demonstrating gentleness while delivering truth. Besides this, he will be exposed to new arguments against Christianity and the appropriate response from the Scriptures. Please see outreaches as discipleship opportunities, but do not push the man onto the box while he is still on a diet of milk.
The terrors of hell are so great that it can be difficult to fathom. Most of us know that hell is a place of pain, punishment, and fire. However, I have found that my knowledge of hell is too abstract. I have had an orthodox understanding which has been hazy. I see the light through the fog but the tangible aspects of hell are hidden. This has had a negative consequence upon my orthopraxy since the terrors of hell do not seem as real.
Thankfully God relates to our finite minds by using earthly circumstances to describe eternal matters. In John 5:1-17, Jesus heals an invalid. He had been in this condition for thirty-eight years. Yet, Jesus cures the man by commanding him to pick up his mat and walk. After the invalid talks to the Jewish leaders, Jesus sees the healed man again. In verse 14, Jesus says, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” Jesus tells the man to sin no more. He gives the key to the passage. The invalid had been crippled for thirty-eight years due to his sin. Now Jesus warns him to repent. Why? If he does not, then he will endure something much worse.
What could be worse than being an invalid for thirty-eight years? If the healed man died in his sins, then he would go to hell. The punishment found in hell is exponentially greater than anything the invalid has experienced. In verse 14, Jesus gives a key to better understanding the stark realities of hell. By comparing physical affliction to the suffering of hell, it will give us more insight.
1. An illness will end. Hell is eternal.
A person who is suffering an illness can find comfort in knowing that it will end. Either a cure will be administered, or they will die. This will free them from the pain caused by their affliction. In contrast, hell will never end. Matthew 25:46 says, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” The agonies of hell will go on forever and ever. There is no end. A rebel under the wrath of God cannot look forward to annihilation. Their place in eternity is sealed.
2. Illness has a hope of a cure. Hell is irrevocable.
Even if a person has an incurable disease, there is still hope that a cure may be found. If they can stay alive and deal with the pain for a few years, researchers may develop a drug or procedure which would heal them. There is no hope for a cure in hell. In Luke 16:26, we learn that the rich man cannot cross from hell into heaven. Lazarus the poor man cannot go from heaven to hell in order to serve his old master. A person in hell has no hope of going to heaven. They are stuck. Once they enter hell, it is irrevocable.
3. A sick person can receive comfort. Hell is lonely.
A person in the hospital can have family and friends visit. They can receive cards and phone calls to encourage them. However, hell is the opposite. In Luke 16:24, the rich man requests for his servant Lazarus to come from heaven to give him a drink. His request is denied. He is alone in hell. He cannot receive visitors, cards, or calls from friends or family in heaven. He must endure the greatest imaginable pain alone: the infinite wrath of God.
4. A sick person can receive medication. Hell does not have pain medicine.
If a patient is experiencing extreme and unbearable pain, then a doctor can give pain medication to reduce or eliminate it. In serious cases of head trauma, doctors will put a person into a medical coma so that they will be unconscious. This will spare them from suffering. Hell does not offer pain medication. The full pain of God’s wrath pierces the flesh and soul of every person. There is no pain block. God does not provide Advil or Aleve. A person is not put unconscious in order to avoid it. Instead, a sinner is completely awake. He feels the full brunt of God’s wrath in every molecule of his body.
5. A sick person can still have pleasure. Hell is without pleasure.
A sick person can still enjoy a warm bed, a delicious meal, a television show, sleep, or company. This is not the case for the person in hell. Revelation 14:10-11 says,
“He also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Hell is absent of pleasure. It is a place of torment where God’s wrath is poured out on lawbreakers. A person in hell will not even get a drop of water to cool their tongue from the fires. They will never again experience one momentary feeling of pleasure.
6. In a hospital, the patients can be friends. In hell, everyone is an enemy.
When a person is under care, they can form friendships with the other patients in their hospital room. There are stories of people becoming best friends after meeting there. However, hell does not have friendships. Since hell has no pleasure and friendships are pleasurable, then there are no friendships in hell. Also, in hell, God pulls back His restraint over man’s depravity. Man reaches his potential for selfishness and nastiness. Everyone is an enemy. No one is a friend.
The pain is so excruciating that the rich man from Luke 16 begs for Abraham to send someone to warn his family. Luke 16:27-28 says, “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’” Some people believe that they will have a party in hell with their friends and family. This is foolish talk. The torment is indescribable. Once a person is there, they will be like the rich man and beg for Abraham to warn their family.
7. A sick person can still be healed by Jesus. In hell, it is too late to be spiritually healed by Jesus.
On this side of eternity, we pray to God to bring healing. Jesus still answers our prayers by miraculously healing a person or by working through doctors, nurses, and medicine. This does not translate to hell. We cannot pray for Jesus to spiritually heal a sinner in hell. It is too late. The Gospel is no longer offered to them. God has not promised to regenerate and forgive a person who has been condemned to hell. The time to embrace the grace of Jesus Christ has passed.
Friends, I hope that these truths will do two things. First, may it make the circumstances of hell more real. I pray that God will use it to help us feel the terrors and hear the screams. May we not live as if hell is not real. Second, may it motivate us to apply the balm of the Gospel to the sinners who are on this side of eternity. Jesus asked the invalid in verse 6, “Do you want to be healed?” May we imitate Christ by going to the spiritually dead and sharing the only cure for their condition: The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 1:15-18, Paul rejoices that the gospel is being preached despite the men’s wrong motives. Some brothers used Paul’s imprisonment as an opportunity to try and rub salt into his open wound. Their motives were selfish ambition. They were competitors against Paul. Now that he was in prison, they could surpass Paul’s influence in the gospel ministry.
In contrast, another group of brothers preached the gospel for different reasons. Their motive was love. Their love for God propelled them to obedience by proclaiming His glorious Gospel. Their love of their neighbor pushed them to bring the good news to lost sinners. Even though Paul rejoiced that the Gospel was being preached with bad motivations, I desire as an open-air preacher to be stirred by love and not envy. Therefore, I have developed a spiritual checklist for the open-air preacher before he goes to seek the lost. May it benefit you as much as it has helped me.
1. Do I fear man or God?
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)
2. Am I afraid of looking like a fool?
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)
3. Do I remember that I was once lost?
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3)
4. Do I love the lost?
“I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Rom. 9:1-3)
5. Am I prepared for persecution?
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” (Phil. 1:29-30)
6. Am I prepared to rejoice when I am persecuted?
“So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (Acts 5:39b-41)
7. Am I prepared to bless those who curse me?
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” (Rom. 12:14)
8. Do I remember that teachers are judged more strictly?
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1)
9. Are there any sins that I need to confess?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
10. Am I eager to obey the authorities?
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Rom. 13:1-2)
11. Am I ready for the spiritual battle?
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
12. Are other Christians praying for me?
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Eph. 6:18-20)
13. Have I meditated on the fact that souls are on the path to hell?
“‘But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’” (Rev. 21:8)
14. Am I trusting in my eloquence to save the lost?
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Cor. 1:17)
15. Do I rest knowing that God has His elect ready to receive the Gospel?
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2:10)
16. Do I trust in the power of the Gospel to save sinners?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16)
17. Am I depending upon the Holy Spirit?
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)” (John 6:63-64)
18. Do I love Jesus?
“He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.’” (John 21:17)
19. Do I remember that Christ died for me?
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Tim. 1:15)
20. Am I ready to rejoice when a sinner is saved?
“So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:3-7)
21. Do I remember that Jesus is worthy to be preached since the angels are worshiping Him right now?
“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev. 4:8)
22. Is my goal to glorify God?
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1:17)
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah  (Psalm 24:7-10)
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001). Ps 24:7–10.
Pastor Brandon was born and raised near Springfield, IL. He graduated from Illinois College in 2007 with a B.A. in History, from Moody Theological Seminary in 2010 with a Master of Divinity, and a PhD in Historical Theology in 2021 from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. He is also an ACBC certified Biblical counselor. He is married to Karise with whom they raise Ian, Elizabeth, and Patrick. He is interested in history, especially Charles Spurgeon, and has a heart for street preaching and evangelism.