I’m a husband, a friend, a son, a pastor, a doctor (but not the medical kind), a child of God, a social person, a product of my environment, a thinking thing, a collection of incongruous thoughts, a hypocrite, a Broncos fan and a million other random, yet somehow connected things.
More specifically though…
Who am I?
I’m a 36-year-old husband, father, pastor, and theologian.
I’m married to a terrific young woman named Lauren, and we have two amazing children together! I am the lead pastor at Renton Church of the Nazarene in Renton, Wa. I earned a Ph.D. in Theology & Ethics and have published two books, along with chapters and articles in several other edited works.
I grew up in Clovis, New Mexico, moved to San Diego to go to college and then moved to Kansas City to go to Seminary. I graduated from Nazarene Theological Seminary with a M.Div. in 2005. We lived in KC for another year after that and then moved to Chicago, where I was a Ph.D. student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In the summer of 2008, after completing my coursework, I successfully completed my written and oral exams at Garrett. Aside from school work, I spent my two years in the Chicago area as a pastor, first at Chicago Northside Church of the Nazarene and then at Grace Fellowship Church of the Nazarene. In July of 2008, Lauren and I moved home to New Mexico for a couple of months to prepare for to move to Scotland. We lived in Scotland for a year, in a quaint, picturesque country cottage between the small town Crieff and the village Comrie. We lived in the beautiful Scottish countryside, just at the foot of the Highlands. Though still a student at Garrett, I spent a year at the University of Aberdeen doing research and working on my dissertation. It was one of the best, and yes, one of the most difficult times of our life as well. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Scotland and wish that we could return or that we had never left. The truth is, though, we both simply knew that we needed to leave, that the timing wasn’t right, and that God had something in the works for us. While I miss Scotland and long to return, therefore, I do not regret leaving one bit. Does that make any sense?! After leaving Scotland, I took a job as the Pastor of Student and Discipleship Ministries at Bentonville Church of the Nazarene. The three years I spent there were three incredible years of growth, ministry, and friendship. Our first child, Lily Esmé Brian was born near the end of this assignment. Next, we moved back to Kansas City, where I pastored KC Trinity. This was a good and challenging time, made bitter sweet by the fact that it became my responsibility to close Trinity. Though I didn’t lead perfectly, I did my best to close and transition the Church in the safest and most responsible way for the congregation. A house church was birthed out of the process, and the land and buildings were retained by the district, in hopes that a new work will eventually go into that place. While in KC I also worked at Nazarene Publishing House and did a bit of adjunct teaching at St. Paul School of Theology and Northwest Nazarene University. We then moved to a small town in Idaho to pastor a church that proved to not be the best fit. It was a painful and difficult time made all the more complicated by the incredible growth the church experienced during the six months I was there. Our biggest blessing in Idaho was our amazing little boy Rowan Ellis Brian, born in Boise. We left Idaho uncertain as to our next steps, but trusting in God’s guidance and provision. God was good to us during this time, that’s for sure! After some time spent with family in Clovis, NM and a few months as a summer scholar at the Wesleyan Center at Point Loma Nazarene University, I accepted the call to pastor Renton Church of the Nazarene in July 2014 and have been in Washington ever since. I’m proud of the good and hard work I’ve done at RCN and continue to strive to be a better and more faithful pastor. While in Renton I’ve continued to teach as an adjunct at Northwest Nazarene University online, and also at Seattle Pacific University, in a traditional classroom. I serve as an executive member of the Washington Pacific District’s Board of Ministry, leading the Central region of the District in this regard. I also organized and lead a theology discussion group for Seattle area pastors and am trying to get a similar group started in the southern part of the WAPAC District as well. I stay pretty busy – mostly with my family. Being a husband and father is my greatest and most important calling and I embrace it with all the strength and commitment I can. I’m always learning, growing, and trying to improve, and always looking for the next adventure!
We have lived an incredibly blessed life thus far, and the blessings only seem to continue. Who knows what God has in store for us next!