I've lived in three countries over two continents, and currently reside in Milford, PA in the United States. I worked for a Baptist church while I completed my M.Div. from Southern Seminary and subsequently worked as a Lead Pastor for three years. I'm currently in the process of finishing my PhD in Divinity and Historical Theology through the University of Aberdeen, and have a desire to continue with academia alongside serving in the local church.
I grew up in Northern Ireland with my parents and three brothers, and attended school and university there, focusing on the Arts, and majoring in History. It was during my time at school that I came to faith in Christ as the only way of salvation. After graduating, I left Ireland and moved to London to work for a church in Fulham and Hammersmith, where I stayed for two years. During this time, I completed the Cornhill Preaching Course and was mentored by Mike, my pastor. He advised that I attend seminary for further theological training before seeking a full-time pastoral position.
Thus it is that I came to the US to attend Southern Seminary in August 2014, and graduated in December 2016. I started my PhD in 2018 and am in the final stages of my research.
Outside academics, I enjoy history, sport and music, as well as writing and technology.
My primary passion is to teach and preach theology and history in whatever capacity I can. I have a specific desire to return to ministry as a teaching pastor in a local church, preaching every week, evangelising, discipling and training up the next generation of teachers, preachers and leaders. Discipleship is the foundation of ministry, and indeed, of all teaching, that lasts long beyond our time in the classroom. It is my hope to also teach history and academically at a university level.
With this truth in mind, the reality of my teaching philosophy combines a the importance of an engaging monologue with a more pedagogical, interactive and Socratic dialogue. I actively encourage discussion and (jovial) debate to ensure that students undertand the material and can think critically about the topic (even if they disagree abou the interpretation of the content). I favour the method of public lectures followed by a supplemental, interactive tutorial with smaller groups that enables cultivation of knowledge and peer learning.
This teaching philosophy has been shaped by my own experiences of academic life in Northern Ireland, England, and the United States, and has therefore provided me with a wealth of Socratic and proleptic skills ensuring that I am able to teach and train people of all learning styles.
I have substantial experience working with local churches of varying size, in varying ethnic and socioeconomic communities, both in the US and the UK. I spent two years working for Twynholm Baptist Church in Fulham, where I completed the Cornhill Preaching Course, London, and spent eighteen months working for Jefferson Park Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. These opportunities developed skills in intergenerational communication, discipleship, mentorship, and public speaking.
During my three years as Lead Pastor in Milford, I oversaw increase in attendance by around 27%. Further, I crafted and implemented an internship where I worked as an adjunct for two seminaries, training students in homiletics, theology, history, and hermeneutics, as well as pastoral care. I developed an interactive, proleptic and dialectic, sermon prep teaching and training class that simultaneously demonstrated how to carefully exegete, study, and apply Scripture, while engaging with the upcoming sermon passage.
Through my time working and studying, I have been mentored and trained to study Scripture, preach clearly and apply the Word to diverse areas of our daily lives. This has given me unique skills of study, research, communication, and essential pastoral care that are essential in church life as well as academic life. The work of a professor and the work of a pastor share many similarities.
I have a number of key interests that take up my time. I'm a major history guy, and especially love historical fiction. The eras that keenly hold my attention are Ancient Greece and Rome, First Century Palestine, the Reformation through to the Enlightenment and the Peninsular War in the 19th Century. Of particular interest to me are the key figures; men whose bravery, courage, wisdom and divine providence shook the world they inherited and forged a new world from the crucibles of conviction, conversion and conflict. My fascination with theology goes beyond Christian orthodoxy, however, and I enjoy learning about other theological systems including mythology from the past, current religious movements, and how they interact and intersect with Christianity.
Beyond the books, I have a love-hate relationship with Arsenal FC, and thoroughly enjoy opportunities playing soccer with anyone who will play with me. Ping pong is another favourite sporting past time, and I am increasingly enjoying running. I may even participate in a half marathon in the near future (this has yet to happen).
On a more artistic note, I play the saxophone, guitar and the piano to varying degrees of proficiency, and write music and poetry when the mood strikes. I enjoy listening to jazz and orchestral music, although it is difficult to ignore a good tune, no matter the genre.
As a historian who loves to write, I hope to author a number of books in due course. I currently have a library of unwritten books to pen, merely awaiting the time it takes and wisdom it requires to do so. Particularly, I believe in the power of narrative to communicate truth, and so want to write a fictional retelling of Biblical heroes, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon and Jonah.
I also hope to write a number of fictional stories covering major themes of love, loss, tragedy, and courage. Typical stuff. My fascination with history and theology has given me ideas for writing brief historical biographies for kids on key movers within history and a different series on key battles of history.
Outside the realm of fiction, however, I want to someday write commentaries on the 10 Commandments and a Biblical view of Dating, Marriage and Sexuality that focuses on the good design rather than on attacking what has become the norm in our post-Christian society.
At some point, I would like to have a production of texts that follow the key doctrines of the Christian faith penned to be simple, clear, and accessible to our culture.
Til then, I desire to teach history at a university level, with a specific focus on European and American history (with an occasional class on Ancient Greece and Rome). It would also be fun, and within my area of expertise, to teach on theology, doctrine, and ministry.