MEET OUR TEAM
I was born in Wylie, TX. This explains why I'm such a huge Dallas Cowboys football fan. After moving back and forth between Texas and Louisiana my family finally settled in Ruston, LA. This explains my obsession with LSU football and eating crawfish. My parents, Danny and Helen Payton, taught my brother, sister and me to love God and live our lives to serve HIm. God was the priority in our home and church attendance was not an option. I became a follower of Christ at age 12 and surrendered to full time ministry at the age of 15.
During the summer following High School graduation, I married my high school sweetheart, Tracy Nelson, who was also the pastor's daughter. A few weeks later we moved to Springfield, MO where I attended Baptist Bible College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a concentration on Missions. Following my freshman year of college my 16 year old brother took his own life and God used that tragic event to lead me into student ministry. Following graduation in 1992 Tracy and I, along with our 2 year old daughter, LeAnna, moved to Salina, KS where I served as Youth Pastor at Grace Baptist Temple. The following year we moved to Lubbock, TX where I served as Youth Pastor at Lubbock Baptist Temple. During our time of ministry in Lubbock our 2nd daughter, Lacy, was born. Then in 1995 the Lord led us back to Louisiana. It was during this time that our son, Luke, was born. While in Louisiana I served as youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Monroe and also hosted a morning radio show on 88.7FM The Cross.
Our family was led here to Charity Baptist Church in August of 2004 to serve as Youth Pastor. Then, in August of 2010, the church called me as Senior Pastor following the retirement of our founding pastor, R. J. Hammond. Tracy and I are blessed to be the parents of three awesome children who are all serving the Lord in some capacity. We also have two amazing sons-in-law and daughter-in-law, as well as three grandkids. In May of 2011, I earned my Master of Divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and in March of 2015 I completed my Doctorate of Ministry from Liberty.
My favorite past time activities are watching Dallas Cowboys football, LSU football, hunting or snowboarding with my son Luke, or hanging out with my grandkids.
I was just an eleven year old girl when I asked Christ into my heart and although I knew what I was saying yes to, I didn’t really know who I was saying yes to. Jesus Christ has changed my life from the inside out. Walking through the motions for years with the fleet of emotions that lit the fire at times, there was something missing. I never found what was missing until I found Jesus on my floor next to me when my life felt empty at the age of 31.
After an encounter with Christ, everything in my life changed! It was as if my eyes were opened for the first time. As we began our newly encountered life as a family, we were led here to Charity for our new church home and God began a new path in our lives. Sitting under the most influential Pastoral Leadership we have ever sat under, God began speaking directly into our hearts. The messages we heard week after week were so life applicable and challenging that we were encouraged for the first time in years. We knew this was home!
In a series of orchestrated events and circumstances by God, He has led us on paths we never imagined. Feeling a call into full-time ministry, my heart said yes and though I didn't know what it all meant just yet, I knew the One I was now fully following and trusted Him.
In May 2014, God invited me to join the staff ministry of Charity as a full-time Administrative Ministry Assistant. The invitation was such an exciting moment in my life as it had been a dream that God had deeply planted in my heart a few years prior. It was such an exciting moment in fact that I sat frozen in my chair as Pastor Marty offered me this dream come true opportunity! Though I wanted to jump up and down and shout a little, it was as if I couldn't move in the moment, frozen in awe of how God answered my prayers and my dreams! I serve as the Administrative Assistant to our Senior Pastor, Marty Payton, as well as the Administrative Ministry Assistant and the Volunteer/Guest Services Coordinator. I love the ministry God has entrusted me with and I love serving His church! I am thankful to be here and look forward to coming to work every day to do what I get to do!
I married my high school sweetheart and love of my life, David, in September 1996 and we have one beautiful daughter, Carrington Faith, who filled us with joy beginning in December 1999. I love to write, sing in the car and my office as if they are my very own sound studio, I am an organization nerd, I love office supplies, and keeping things running is what I love to do, as long as it's not me that's running!
Both of my parents were immigrants from Lithuania, who had to flee their country during World War II, when the Soviet Union was overtaking this small European country. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, and following my father's conversion to Christ from a Catholic background, I was blessed to be raised up in a Christian home and to be a part of a strong church. My father was the Pastor of a Lithuanian congregation in the Chicago area. Later he was also able to move back to Lithuania in the late 1980's, after the wall came down, to start a Baptist Church in Kaunas Lithuania.
Being around ministry most of my life, I was able to see all facets of ministry growing up, from music ministry, to watching my father type and print bulletins for his church. God used all of these things to prepare me for serving as the Administrative Pastor here at Charity. I am also involved in the music ministry, as well as making sure that all administrative duties are completed here at Charity.
Having made professions of faith growing up in grade school and high school, and being a graduate of Liberty University, it wasn't until the adult years that I became serious about my relationship with Christ and repentance, and gave my life completely to Him. I am married to Ashley and we are blessed with three children, Allison, Jacob, and Caleb. I have served on staff at Charity since October of 2003.
I was born and raised in Kannapolis, NC and have lived here for all of my life! Charity has been my family’s home church for the past 17 years as well. Growing up in a home where my parents heavily prioritized church and ministry, I too began to do the same from an early age. I’m very thankful for the way my parents led by example, and showing us the importance of being involved in the local church and growing with a community of fellow believers.
It was around the age of 7 for me when I trusted in Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I knew what it meant to trust Christ and have Him be Lord of my life, but I didn’t really go deeper in my relationship with Him until my sophomore year of High School. After dealing with doubts and anxiety about my faith, I began to really dig into things and ask myself: why do I believe what I believe? During that period of time, I was reminded of how amazing God’s love and grace is, and that as undeserving as I am and will always be, He still chose to extend His grace to me, and everyone in this world. That truth reassured me in so many ways, and it lead me to rededicate my life to Him.
Watching my dad’s passion and love for church ministry growing up, I knew from an early age that ministry was something I too loved and felt passionate about. Serving as a volunteer in our kid’s ministry and being a regular attendee of our student ministry, I wanted to do even more and be involved in more. The blessing and opportunity came up for me to intern at Charity starting the summer of 2017; I left my job working at Chick-Fil-A for over 2.5 years, knowing that this was what I was called to do - this was where my heart truly was.
Fast forward to Summer of 2019, God opened an amazing door, allowing me to lead full time in Kid’s Ministry here at Charity. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do! Working with kids is something that I’ve always enjoyed; I love and appreciate the simple joy, passion, and honesty they bring every single week to our Charity Kids Ministry. I remember how the leaders I grew up with prioritized kids, students, and everyone in the next generation, and it is my hearts desire to do the exact same.
I met my lovely wife Aubrey around Thanksgiving time in November of 2018. What a blessing she is to me! From being my best friend and amazing wife, to also being the best help and teammate together with me in ministry, she truly is a gem. She has a heart for the next generation and loves to love on our Charity Kids! We got married September 21st, 2019 - just a little under a year after we met. God truly has been great to us; I can’t wait to see what He has in store for our future here at Charity!
I was born and raised in Greensboro NC and was fortunate to be raised in a God centered household where church and Christian fellowship has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember for me and my older sister Christy. Both of my parents love God and serve in the local church and have modeled a healthy marriage for us for over 40 years.
I gave my life to Christ at the age of 13 and felt a calling into ministry early on as a high school student. I have always had a passion for people and team building whether through sports, business, or the church.
I met my bride Leah in high school and became best friends with her long before we started dating. I may or may not have used our friendship to my advantage when working angles to get her to go out with me (just saying). Leah was and is the cutest woman I know and we have been married now for 20 years. We have been blessed with two amazing daughters Denise (18) and Hannah (16) who both love God and are active in their walk with Him.
We moved from Greensboro to Rowan Co. in 2007 with my work and this transition put some new relationships in our lives that really began to shape us and grow us in our walk with Christ and rekindle my calling into ministry. I became a teaching pastor of the church we were attending which had 8 campuses and I would travel from campus to campus preaching the Gospel. I then went on staff full time and had the privilege of being the Campus Pastor at High Rock Church of Lexington for almost 3 years where we got front row seats to see God do amazing things and see many lives change for Christ.
After stepping away from that ministry, God led our family to Charity in 2014 and it immediately felt like home to us. I have been on staff as the Connections Pastor since the beginning of 2019 and hope to get people plugged into life groups and watch God change lives through our life groups just like He changed mine.
I was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan where I also began my journey with Jesus Christ as a young boy. After graduating from High School there, I attended Liberty University for three years, but stopped short of graduating in order to pursue a singing career based out of Myrtle Beach. Before leaving Liberty, though, a beautiful young lady on campus named Krista Childress caught my eye, and it wasn’t long after that we were married and on the road singing together.
Later in life, with two wonderful kids, we moved back to Lynchburg to finish my degree at Liberty. I graduated with a BA in Religion with a Biblical Studies concentration in 1999. I recently earned my Masters of Arts and Religion in Worship Studies from Liberty Theological Seminary and now teach at Charlotte Bible College and Seminary. My passion is to sing and praise God through music, and to see (and join with) my brothers and sisters in Christ from every nation fully engaged in adoring worship, not only in our worship gatherings, but also in every area of our lives (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Family: My wife, Krista; my daughter, Caitlin; my Son-in-law, Bradley; and my son, Josh; three grandchildren, Nash, Milo and Ella...and our dogs, Jovi and Sam(antha) Favorite Books: Grace Awakening (Swindoll), The Pursuit of God (Tozer), Let the Nations Be Glad (Piper), Who You Are When No One's Looking (Hybels), Crazy Love (Chan), Radical (Platt)
I was born in Overland Park, Kansas but have lived the majority of my life in Harrisonburg, VA. During the 12 years I lived in Harrisonburg, I completed the latter part of elementary school, middle school, and all of high school. During my middle school years and through early high school I struggled a lot trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted my life to be about.
A blessing in disguise came to me in the Spring of sophomore year of high school when I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. My life forever changed that day as I received an extremely hard diagnosis for anyone to receive, much less a sixteen year old boy. Although I was raised in the church and would be what we call a “church kid” I ran from God in that season after being diagnosed because I thought God hated me and he had nothing good for me in this life.
When my hope was lost and I was at my lowest point, I ended up being dragged along by my Youth Group to Appalachian Bible Camp where a fire and brimstone preacher, named Kevin, very clearly shared the Gospel with me. It was at that moment in the mountains of Virginia that I gave my life to Jesus Christ at 17.
I met my wife, Maria in my Senior year of high school, and we went to college together at Liberty University. Here, I found myself getting onto a ministry team called YouthQuest where God allowed me to explore my gifts and talents as a full time evangelist and preacher. I got to see hundreds come to Christ throughout that time but I was also able to connect with Charity through a DiscipleNow Weekend. To which I accredit now having this job here that I love at Charity as the Student Pastor.
My heart is for students and I truly believe in this generations potential and calling to be salt and light wherever they are, whether it be their schools, homes, or communities.
My favorite hobbies or pastimes are hanging with friends, camping, coffee, and watching documentaries. I’m excited for what God has in store for us in this next season of life.