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Pastors & Staff

Carl Ellison

Lead Pastor

Pastor Carl is a native of Wesley Chapel, FL. He was raised in a strong Christian home and realized his need for Jesus at the age of 3 while watching a Billy Graham crusade. He struggled with his faith in his teenage years and walked away from the sweet fellowship with Jesus for about a decade of his life. A perfect storm brought him to a place of surrender to the leadership of Jesus at 24 years old.

While the Lord blessed Carl in business for many years, God began calling and preparing him to serve in full time ministry from that life-changing day onward. He continued to learn servant leadership in the ministry of business.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Moody Bible Institute and was conferred a Master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary. He served in many roles as a deacon, small group leader, and various ministry teams before he surrendered to full time ministry through the local church at the end of 2009.

Carl has been changed by the Message of the Cross and has a desire to be used by God to change the world with the Message of the Cross. He has been married since 1994 to his wife, Rhonda, and has 2 men under construction-Caleb and Nicolas.

Carl isn't sure whether he hasn't had a bad hair day in years or whether he hasn't had a good hair day since he became "follicly" challenged.  We will let you decide.  

Steve Woods

Pastor of Recovery and Men’s Ministry

Pastor Steve serves in our men's ministry and Celebrate Recovery. Steve is a Native of Dade City, FL. Although he made a profession of faith and felt a call to the ministry as a teenager, he continued to live no differently than an unbeliever. After high school he joined the Army, serving 6 years as a Military Policeman.

After his military service, God continued to bless him as he served as a RN for many years. It wasn’t until a family tragedy occurred that Pastor Steve was faced with the reality that his heart could be consumed with anger and hatred, or the love of Jesus, but not both. It was at this moment in 2008 that Pastor Steve fully surrendered his life to Jesus. God began preparing him to serve in ministry from this point of surrender forward. He served in many roles as a deacon, small group leader, and Celebrate Recovery ministry leader before entering ministry through the local church at the beginning of 2020.

Steve’s life has been radically transformed by the love demonstrated on the Cross and he has a burning desire to be used by God to change the world with the Message of the Cross, the only Message that offers Salvation. He has been married since 1994 to his wife, Julie, and has 2 grown sons, Drew and Jordan.

It is hard to find a picture where Steve smiles, but his humor and perfectly timed jabs will keep you smiling and on your toes.

Mark Barnes

Next Generation Student Pastor

Pastor Mark was born in Tampa and raised in nearby Dade City. He served as a helicopter Rescue Swimmer in the United States Navy and graduated from the University of South Florida after his military service.

Although he made a profession of faith at an early age and claimed Christianity, he lived his life for himself until he realized that he had been living for himself and questioned whether he was ever saved. When he realized his sin problem and need for Christ, his life radically changed, and he began seeking ways to serve God instead of himself.  

In the years following, Pastor Mark has served as a deacon and a small group leader among other positions in his local church. During the covid pandemic, Mark heard the call God put on him to serve as a Pastor and he was ordained soon afterwards.
Pastor Mark has been married to his wife Joy for 25 years. They have three children, Gabriel, Emma, and Gavin. Mark enjoys fishing, cooking, and lifting weights and has been a youth and high school football coach for 16 years. It is in the role of coach that Pastor Mark developed a connection with young people (probably because he refuses to grow up!) 

Sam Paton

Music Leader

Sam serves as our leader for music. He came to believe on Jesus as a young person and has a strong testimony of brokenness and God's love and forgiveness through Jesus.  Zack Williams sounds almost as good as Sam (per Pastor Carl) and Sam knows how to bend and break a guitar string every once in a while.

Sam loves to learn and lead in songs that worship Jesus through Scripture and strong doctrine with passion and excellence. Sam married his sweetheart, Becka, in 2020 and has a mini-me named Gage.  


Children's Ministry Director

Carlene serves as our Children’s Ministry Director. She began her walk with Jesus as a young adult, although she will tell you she has felt the presence of the Lord in her life since she was a young child. Her faith has given her strength and courage that has carried her through life.

Carlene directed Children’s Church when her own children were young. She also led a college/career aged Bible class and a class for mature and seasoned Christian women.

She has worked with a nonprofit serving children for the past 28 years, 14 of the years as Operations Manager. She is a widow with two amazing adult children and five beautiful grandchildren.


Church Administrator

Aaron serves as our Church Administrator. He also serves on the prayer and greeting ministries. Aaron is originally from Channelview, Texas. He came to know Jesus at the age of 5. After high school, he served in the Air Force where he met his wife, Jamie.  

After his military service, Aaron went to Texas A&M where he earned his degree in Economics. Upon graduating in 2006, he moved to the Tampa area and earned his MBA from the University of Tampa.

Jamie and Aaron have a son, Preston who keeps them on their toes and has his fathers’ hair falling out. He currently works for Lifeway Christian Resources as a Church Solutions Partner serving local churches in Florida and Georgia. Aaron loves playing golf and is a fan of Texas A&M football and unfortunately the Dallas Cowboys as well.

Lindsay Colon

Administrative & Ministry Assistant 

Lindsay was spiritually reborn in 2011. She strongly encourages you to listen to “When Mercy Found Me” by the Rhett Walker Band, which she says this explains her testimony of salvation so well.

She has had many diverse job experiences from Emergency Medical Services as an EMT, Paramedic and Supervisor to earning a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and working as a Therapist, Forensic Interviewer, and Suicide & Crisis Counselor for 988. She is also currently a Certified Personal Trainer.

Through all of her jobs and life experiences she continues to come to the same conclusion. Nothing matters in light of eternity, besides a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, becoming more like Him, and sharing the Gospel so that others might turn to Him and away from the emptiness that the world offers.

On a more personal note, God has blessed Lindsay with a wonderful, loving, supportive husband and a very energetic husky. She and her husband like to keep active and be outdoors. They enjoy watching football together. Their favorite teams are University of Michigan and the most disheartening team in the NFL, the Detroit Lions. She is a true fan!