Professional Qualifications and Life Mission
I am an architect, professional planner and landscape designer with over 30 years of experience. For the past 20+ years my practice has focused primarily on facilities for churches and Christian ministries. During this period, I have worked with over a hundred churches and ministries in the U.S and Canada, as well as several mission projects abroad. The churches have included small and large congregations of many denominations as well as non-denominational / independent congregations. I've written several articles and conducted workshops for church leaders on facility planning and effective ministry spaces.
Registered as an architect in multiple states, my certification with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) enables me to be licensed in jurisdictions throughout the US and Canada. I am a graduate of Temple University in Architecture (1983), and am also an accomplished landscape designer, holding a Certificate of Merit from the world renowned Longwood Gardens (1994). Additionally, I have significant practical construction experience, having worked as a senior designer for a large construction company for several years.
I have a passion to help church leaders create effective facilities that do not strain finances. This has resulted in the development of many unique planning and projection tools that enable churches to develop strategies to meet current and future needs. Moreover, I seek to be led by the Holy Spirit as I work with ministries and as I approach each design I works on. My home church is the Christian Life Center in Bensalem, PA, where I serve as the Director of the Group Life and am better known as "the small group guy".
“For he was looking forward to the City with Foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” Hebrews 11:10
As a child – maybe as early as age 7 – I wanted to be an architect. My parents planted the seed for this. My father’s hobby was designing and building stuff: sheds, cabinets, benches - whatever. I enjoyed watching him draw up small plans and then buy materials and build it. I also loved to draw all sorts of things (and was pretty good at it). I would do puzzles and brain teasers for hours at a time. And I would ‘build things’, from playing-card towers to scale models and cardboard forts. Observing all of this, my astute mother proclaimed to me “You’d make a good architect!” That stuck.
Our home, however, was not ‘Christian’; faith was not a part of everyday life. Yet I had a praying grandmother and several significant experiences with God as a teenager – all outside the walls of a ‘church’. The first of these experiences was in the wilderness and wildness of northern Maine. The encounter there forged in me a love for the out-of-doors and communing with God in His creation – even before I knew who He was. When He revealed Himself to me in Jesus, my grandmother told me I needed to find a church to help me grow in my faith.
As I started to check out ‘church’, I was not comfortable there at first – at least not in ‘traditional’ settings. Eventually I connected with a church plant that was built on small groups meeting in homes throughout the community, renting a public school auditorium for Sunday services. (This environment was a bit more user-friendly to foreigners like me!) There I experienced the church as a group of people rather than as a building or a particular place. I found a family in ‘God’s family’, which forged a love in me for His people – the church. Since then, I have been a part of His church, serving in many capacities, including youth leader, trustee, adult Sunday school teacher, director of men’s ministry, small group leader, small group coach and now coordinating our church’s small group ministry. I’ve supported missionaries and missions and had the opportunity to go to Russia on a mission trip. I love His church and am passionate to see her become the spotless devoted bride Jesus deserves.
When I came to faith in Christ, I put everything ‘on the altar’, including my plans to become an architect. I went through a season of seeking God’s will for my future and submitted to godly counsel. The conclusion I came to was to continue the architecture career path. This confused me a bit at first since I wanted to serve God ‘full-time’. Years later, however, I met John Whitehead, an architect who had started a practice to serve churches and Christian ministries. I began to see how architecture could be a form of ministry, a way to serve God vocationally. Over the past 20+ years, I have built on the foundation that John laid, developing specialized tools, emphasizing stewardship, and using the latest technologies to help churches create facilities that empower ministry.
Since the day I first experienced God in His creation, I have been going there regularly to see His nature on display. Infinite as the stars on a clear moonless night and intimate as a tiny magenta scallop shell I can balance on a fingertip, He touches my soul through what He has made. Whether gazing at a vista from the top of a rocky ridge or observing the multi-layered colors, textures and veins in a flower petal; the things He has made inspire me and stir in me a passion to be like my Heavenly Father, designing and creating. Architecture is the primary way I do this, and I have the added privilege of doing so for His church. Nevertheless, the buildings I create to serve His church are temporal. Perhaps they will last as long as 100+ years or so, but eventually they will come to an end.
The Church that I ultimately want to help build is one that cannot be housed in buildings made by human hands. This ‘bride of Christ’ is the people that God has destined for an eternal, heavenly city. Whether creating buildings for church leaders to use as tools for ministry or building up disciples in my home church through the small groups, it is all for the ultimate purpose of filling that City whose Architect and Builder is indeed the very best.
Married to a Proverbs 31 woman for over 31 years now (we met in church and were in a small group together!)
5 children kept us busy and tired and stressed and happy; and now there's the joy of a grandson!
Love nature and the outdoors - backpacking, hiking, snorkeling, landscaping and growing orchids
Favorite book of the Bible - Hebrews (all the 'better things' that Jesus is)
Coffee - more than a snob / been home-roasting for 12+ years. Keywords: Sweet Marias, Chemex, Hario, Aero-press (& fine espresso - like Anthony and the brothers at Good News Chapel in Montreal treated me to every afternoon)
Favorite movie: What About Bob? (I think I've been both of them at times)
Home church: Christian Life Center in Bensalem / Pastor Del Smith preaches for life change