April loves family ministry and spent the first half of her career in ministry serving with children and families in VA, TN and GA. April has a BS in Family and Child Development from Auburn University and an MACM from Emmanuel Christian Seminary. Originally Children and Family Minister at Ten Mile Christian Church, she now oversees ministerial staff as Executive Minister. She loves hanging out with her children and sitting out on the back patio with her husband watching the sun set and the stars twinkle.
Naomi Bivins’ shift into ministry began when she was hired by the Christ Church Life Group Team as a life group coordinator for the Fairgrove Campus in Hickory,
NC. She served in varying capacities as a Lay Pastor, Gospel Coach, and leading Inspire Women’s Ministry. She discovered a passion for encouraging, teaching, and inspiring others into growing their relationship with Jesus Christ. In 2017, Naomi co-founded The Foundation Church in Wilkesboro, NC where she currently serves as Lead Pastor.
Tim Bomgardner is the Executive Director of Interyear Fellowship in Johnson City, a year-long discipleship program for young adults. He’s served in youth ministry in Georgia, community development and advocacy work in the South Bronx, and home-repair ministry and curriculum writing in East Tennessee. Tim is committed to contemplative practices and walking alongside folks attempting to discern their vocation.
A Milligan and Emmanuel graduate, Tim Brokaw has served extensively in ministry in the Appalachian region. Tim has served at Unicoi Church of Christ, Carter Christian Church in Elizabethton, and currently serves as Senior Minister at Midlands Christian Church in SC, where he has served since 1997. Tim also has experience in church planting leadership as part of the South Carolina Evangelizing Association. Both of Tim’s daughters currently attend Milligan University.
Bryan Carswell, a ’12 M.Div. grad from Emmanuel Christian Seminary, has extensive experience in healthcare chaplaincy, incl. coaching and crisis intervention. Bryan has taught CPE courses in Florida and served as PRN Chaplain in a children’s hospital in GA. Bryan has also travelled to the Middle East and served part-time in parish internships as part of his seminary education.
Jill Harman, MACM graduate of Emmanuel Christian seminary, is currently the Director of Discipleship at Fremont First United Methodist Church. Jill has served in various capacities with at-risk youth, including through the public school system and the Salvation Army as Youth Engagement Manager. Jill developed the Restorative Justice Program and a youth mentor program for the Kroc Center in Omaha, NE. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. and is adjunct faculty at Creighton University, where she instructs on Restorative Justice for the Education Department.
Dean Heisey brings experience in healthcare chaplaincy, mission leadership, and pastoral ministry with significant background in missional church transformation. His more than 40 years in ministry has included profound pain and powerful meaning, both of which inform his mentoring and coaching young leaders. Music, walking, outdoor activity, and reading help keep him balanced.
Chip Jurskis grew up in a nominally Christian home in Atlanta and discerned his call to ministry as a student at the University of Georgia. After graduating from Emmanuel School of Religion in 1997, Chip returned to Atlanta where he was the founding minister of Emory University’s Bread Coffeehouse. Since 2012 Chip has served as an associate minister at Jupiter First Church in Jupiter Florida. Chip currently lives in Stuart Florida with his wife, Amy, and has two adult children.
Kelly Kastens, a proud graduate of Milligan College and Emmanuel Christian Seminary, has been a pastor and ministry leader for more than 20 years in the areas of worship and spiritual formation. She believes that the shaping of the minister’s own soul is critical to effective ministry for the long haul.
Dr. Reuben K. Langat, is currently serving as pastor at Clay Center United Methodist Church in Clay Center, KS. Over the years, he has served in various multicultural and international ministries in the U.S. and around the globe. He and his wife, Dr. Jane Langat, a pastor in Great Plains Conference, KS, have two children, Mercy Chelangat and Brian Emmanuel.
Benjamin Lee has been the Associate Minister at Hopwood Christian Church for more than 20 years. While his primary work is with the youth, the congregation also encourages him to cultivate and use his gifts across a wide spectrum of activities. This gives him the opportunity to teach an online course for Milligan College (Christ and Culture), volunteer as a chaplain at the local hospital, lead retreats, and meet regularly with people for spiritual direction. Ben has been married to the love of his life Angie since 1998.
Dr. Katy Drage Lines, ’95, ECS ’98 (MAR in Christian Doctrine), DMin ’19 from Portland Seminary in Leadership and Global Perspectives. Katy was ordained in 1998 at Hopwood Christian Church. Afterwards, she served as a missionary in northwestern Kenya, a children’s minister in Lexington, and in a university library in southern California. She currently serves as a pastor at Englewood Christian Church in downtown Indianapolis.
Herbie Miller, ECS, ’06, is the senior pastor of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Mint Hill, NC and his greatest joys in ministry are preaching, teaching, and making pastoral calls. He enjoys studying Reformed confessions and 19th century American Christianity. He also teaches in Emmanuel’s MACM program. He enjoys going to the gym, watching Madam Secretary, and spending time with his wife, Aimee, and their three daughters.
Maud Mushayamunda, M.Div. graduate of Emmanuel Christian Seminary and M.Ed. graduate of Milligan University, has served in various capacities in ministry
and education in the Johnson City region. Maud has previously served as chaplain at Johnson City Medical Center, including in the ICU and in Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Maud brings special care and consistency to her relationships, with emphasis on spiritual care and emotional support.
Sergio Diaz-Ramos was born and raised in Chile into a family of ministers where community and personal relationships were a big part of the strong foundation of his faith. Through his grief journey, ministerial calling, and chaplaincy career, he learned that everyone has a story to tell. After graduation from Emmanuel Christian Seminary in ’14, Sergio has served as Senior Chaplain, Worship and Discipleship Pastor (NewStory Chicago), and is now Co-Lead Pastor at NewStory Church in Chicago.
Tim Ross is a pastor, teacher, cross-cultural worker, husband, and dad. He has served as senior minister of the Hopwood Christian Church at Milligan College since 1996. Prior to that Tim, Marcia, and family were Christian Missionary Fellowship missionaries among the Maasai in Kenya. Tim is an instructor at Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan, leading classes in spiritual formation, congregational health, cross-cultural ministry, and preaching. Tim routinely mentors students, pastors, and missionaries. He volunteers as a hospital chaplain and enjoys prison ministry. The Rosses have four children, five grandchildren, and one grand-dog. For fun, Tim likes to see the world, camp, hike, read, write, cook, garden, and keep bees.
Chris Smith resides with his wife Dana and a house full of children in Sharpsburg, Georgia. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech and ECS ’04 (M.Div.). After 5 years in full time ministry, Chris now manages his own financial planning and investment practice. He is also adjunct professor of Bible and Church History classes at Point University, and is involved in one-on-one discipleship within the local church.
David Sternberg, MACM graduate of Emmanuel Christian Seminary, is currently the Lead Pastor of Bridge Christian Church in Chattanooga, TN, where he has served since May 2010. David has also served as Youth Minister at McDonough Christian Church from ’03-’10, after having graduated from Asbury University with a B.A. in Christian Ministries. David’s primary focus is on preaching and pastoral care.
Derek Sweatman has been the lead pastor of Atlanta Christian Church (Midtown, ATL) since 2004. He and his wife live in the city with their two kids and their pug named “Yoda.” Derek is also on faculty at Point University as an adjunct in the College of Biblical Studies. He was born and raised in Atlanta, schooled at Cincinnati Christian University (R.I.P.), Columbia Theological Seminary, and finished out at Johnson University, where he received his M.A. in New Testament studies. He is currently in the D.Min program at Emmanuel. Trivia: Derek has a tattoo of Jerry Garcia on his right ankle.
Fr. Jonathan Tuttle
Fr. Jonathan Tuttle is a Milligan graduate and holds an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School. Fr. Tuttle (also known as Father Johnny), has extensive experience in interfaith and ecumenical ministry, having served as pastoral intern at Union Grove United Methodist, intern at Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Rector of the Episcopal Church of St. John and St. Mark in Albany, GA. He currently serves as Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kingsport, TN.
Renata Cabral Vicente
Renata formerly worked as an advertising executive and leader of creative teams in local advertising agencies. After ten years of both, she decided to develop her
ministerial calling. She moved to the USA to attend Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan College. Renata has served as Youth Minister for ten years and Women’s Minister for two. After graduating from Emmanuel and serving as Chaplain Resident, she returned to Taguatinga, Brazil, where she has been serving as an Associate Pastor since.
Jane Wasem is a graduate of Milligan College (B.S., ’06) and ECS (MDiv, ’10). She has served as a hospital chaplain and in several denominations in the role of youth director, preacher, outreach director, and worship planner (currently on staff at Wesley UMC). She adores Mary Oliver, The Avett Brothers, Henri Matisse, and Henri Nouwen, and lives and drinks espresso in Johnson City with her husband Tim and children Lila and Henry.
Michael Woods works as a chaplain with the Veterans Administration, facilitating a program that educates rural faith communities around the issues of mental health and spiritual care for veterans. He is an adjunct faculty member at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, teaching in the areas of spirituality and eco-theology. Additionally, he is a spiritual director and small-scale farmer. His spouse is Dr. Miriam Perkins, faculty member at Emmanuel Christian Seminary. They love to cook and eat from their garden.