Celebration Church Tri-Cities Leadership
Our Board of Elders
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of elders governed individual New Testament churches (Acts 14:23, 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5). A plurality of godly elders, exercising their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture’s teaching that wisdom is found in a multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, 19:20, 24:6.).
The biblical teaching on the subject of the church offices of elders and deacons is found in 1 Timothy 3:1-15 and Titus 1:5-9. Though there are three terms used for the offices of the church, i.e. bishop, elder, and deacon, a careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and elder are used interchangeably. Celebration has a Board of Elders and uses a system of Ministry Team Delegates who serve in the capacity of deacons.
Bob is a lifelong Kingsporter. He and Lisa have been married for 24 years and have 3 daughters. Josie is at the Naval Academy, Ruthie is at Liberty University and Willa is in high school at Dobyns Bennett. Both Bob and Lisa graduated from Dobyns Bennett and The University of Tennessee. He retired recently and enjoys biking, tennis, carpentry, reading and travel. As a follower of Christ, Bob has grown through small group bible study and several wise mentors since joining Celebration in 2000.
Saul was born in Venezuela and grew up in NYC & South Florida. As a child Saul had two loves which were sports and the outdoors. As a youth, when he was not playing on a sports team (football, baseball, basketball, etc.) it was not unusual to find him on camping trips with the boy scouts among the alligators in the Everglades National Park. After High School he left Florida to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and received a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. While at Liberty he met Johnna Leonard and they married soon after graduation in 1988. Johnna is a native of Washington County, Virginia. Saul and Johnna have 3 children John, Jesse & Julie. Saul works at KVAT Food Stores on the IT team and along with his family run Mi Tierra farm in Washington County VA.
Jim and his wife, Brenda, met in high school in Newport News, VA and have been married since 1970 (49 years and counting)! They have lived in the Tri-Cities since 1976, and have two grown sons. Chris, and wife Kelly, live in Kingsport; Jason, and wife Lindsay, live in Omaha, NE. They have been blessed with 7 grandchildren ranging in age from pre-school to college.
Before a rewarding 38 year career with Wellmont Health System, Jim served four years in the U.S. Air Force. He is finding retirement very enjoyable, but not to be confused with slowing down. Jim and Brenda relish more flexible time for traveling, taking bike rides, going to concerts, burning up the road with fellow Corvette enthusiasts, and hanging out with family and friends. They treasure time with their grandchildren.
Jim is passionate about seeing people grow in their relationship with Christ and is actively serving as an elder at Celebration Church. Although he no longer works at Wellmont, he has assumed a volunteer position with the chaplaincy ministry at Bristol Medical Center. He enjoys any opportunity to teach, to share his testimony and the Good News of Jesus Christ. He holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from Beacon Theological Seminary.
Barry was born in Gadsden AL and raised in Columbia TN. He attended Ouachita Baptist University for two years and graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1964. He and his wife, Linda, have been married since 1961 and have two sons, Ken and Kevin. Barry spent two years on active duty at Ft. Hood, TX, then enjoyed a 31-year career with TN Eastman. He and Linda lead Precept Bible studies. His passion is to see the younger generations catch fire for God and walk in supernatural gifts.
Steve was born, raised, and resides in Bristol, VA. He married his high school sweetheart, Kris, and they have two grown children - Maggie and Levi. Steve is an electrical engineer and is employed by Eastman Chemical Company. He shares his faith through small groups both at work and church and as a volunteer for various ministries within the community and at Celebration. Steve enjoys spending time outdoors backpacking, hiking and playing tennis.
Gert Van Der Westhuizen
Gert hails from Pretoria, South Africa, where he met Marie while in college. They were married in 1985 and have three girls, Tania, Michelle and Amy (and a son, Christiaan, who is with the Lord). They moved to Kingsport in 2002 and have attended Celebration Church since that time. Gert is a radiologist at Holston Valley Medical Center. He grew up in a Christian household. For many years, he thought of himself as a "mediocre believer" but through various trials, especially the death of his infant son, the Lord wooed him into a deeper relationship. Gert's heart's desire is to keep growing in faith with fellow believers and to encourage others to have a deeper walk with Christ.
Michael was born, raised, and now resides in Kingsport, TN. He married his high school sweetheart, Ellen, and they currently homeschool their children, Victoria and Mackinley. Their oldest child, Will, was also homeschooled and is in his final semester at ETSU. Michael graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BS in Chemistry and subsequently earned his doctorate in Biochemistry from Princeton University. Michael works in the pharmaceutical industry. He is active in the children's and youth ministries at Celebration and is passionate about helping young people discover and leverage their strengths to further God's kingdom. Michael enjoys gardening, DIYing, traveling, and teaching.