Matt put his trust in Christ as a freshman in college. The following year he joined Gator Christian Life at the University of Florida where, early on, he was challenged to spend the rest of his life wholeheartedly pursing the Great Commission with like-minded believers. Seven years later Matt was appointed as a pastor in the church. After 30 years as a pastor he is even more excited now than ever to reach the world for Christ, along with his wife, Jan, and their 16 children (including 4 wonderful daughters-in-law and 1 son-in-law) and 4 beautiful grandchildren.
John Hopler is the Director for Great Commission Churches. He came to Christ in 1973 while attending Ohio State University. In 1979 he was appointed to be a pastor by the Great Commission church in Columbus, Ohio. Since 1986, John has been active in Great Commission in a national role, overseeing church planting and pastoring the pastors. John and his wife, Sandy, live in the Columbus, Ohio area. They just celebrated their 40th anniversary and have 8 adult children, 5 of whom are married, and 4 grandchildren.
Frank has been married to his fiery Cuban wife, Gisela, for the past 19 years and is the proud father of 4 amazing kids…Josiah, Talia, Isabel, and Danielle. In 1997, Frank, Gisela, and a team of 8 others planted a campus church at the University of North Florida. After 11 years of reaching college students, that campus church was re-launched in 2008 as a community church focused on reaching the Next generation. Ordained in 2000, Frank continues to joyfully serve as one of the pastors of Awaken Church in Jacksonville, Florida.
Chris came to know Christ at the age of 16, at a High School Leadership Training conference. He started on staff at Linworth Road Church in 2000, and helped start Awaken Church in Columbus, OH in 2010. Chris will celebrate his 21st wedding anniversary to his wife, Becky, in January. They have three kids ages 12, 15, and 17.
Tony has recently transitioned to a full-time church coaching ministry. One church he coaches and co-pastors (with his son, Nick) is Blacksburg Ablaze on the campus of Virginia Tech. His family planted Blacksburg Ablaze together in 2011. Doing ministry together as a family has been a life-time pursuit for the Piersons. Married to Desiré for the last 33 years, they have three biological children, plus spouses and quite a few bonus kids “adopted” through their many years of ministry. Tony’s calling is “to help people maximize the impact of their God-planned design.”
Tom Short is a full-time campus evangelist ministering both throughout the United States and around the world. His outdoor presentations of the gospel and apologetics have led many students to Christ and inspired countless believers to stand firm in their faith while on the college campus. His book, 5 Questions, has 200,000 copies in print and is available in nine languages. Tom has served as a pastor in five different Great Commission churches. He and his wife of 40 years, Roz, have 5 grown children and reside in Columbus, OH.
Berk and his wife, Barbara, have been married for 37 years and live in Cary, NC. They have been laboring with Great Commission for 36 years and Berk has been pastoring since 1988. He and his family have been involved in several church plants including Grace Community Church at NC State, Niner Christian Life in Charlotte, NC, and Pnuema Christian Life in Wilmington, NC. Berk is excited about the partnerships he has with other pastors through helping to establish LiNC (Laborers Impacting Nations for Christ). Berk enjoys developing leaders and laborers and looks forward to establishing more church plants throughout North Carolina and the Southeast. He and Barbara also enjoy spending time with their 6 sons, 4 daughters-in-law, and 6 grandchildren.