Elders

Greg Gilbert

 

Elder

Greg grew up in a wonderful Christian family, with two parents who love the Lord very much and made sure that he heard the good news of salvation at every opportunity.  At 9 years old, he professed faith in Christ as his Dad shared the gospel yet again and he was baptized shortly thereafter.  For the next few years, he grew as a Christian, still attending church, and then went to Yale University for undergrad studies.  Those were good years spiritually, mostly because he had to learn like never before how to defend his faith.  It was also during those years that the Lord began to call him to Christian ministry.  After Yale, Greg spent some time serving in a few different churches, went to seminary, got married to Moriah, and had three awesome kids: Justin, Jack, and Juliet. Greg was called to serve Third Avenue Baptist as the Senior Pastor in 2010.

Ben Birkholz

 

Elder

Ben had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home, where God used the godly example of his family to bring him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In September of ’99 Ben married his beautiful wife (highschool sweetheart!) Stephanie, and is father to three boys Samuel, Jacob and Luke. Ben and his family moved from Minnesota to Louisville in 2007. He spent four years serving on staff at a local homeless mission, and graduated from Southern Seminary before being called to Third Avenue as Associate Pastor in 2011.

Brandon Shafer

 

Elder

Brandon grew up in a church-going family in Oklahoma and heard the gospel regularly at the church they attended. God saved Brandon at age 12 through the faithful witness of one of the members there, and he was baptized shortly after. As a teenager, the Lord called Brandon to Christian ministry. In preparation for that calling, he completed a degree in Biblical Languages from Oklahoma Baptist University and a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Brandon met his wife, Cindy, while he was in seminary, and they married in 2007. They worked with refugees in Greece for several years before returning to Oklahoma to serve at a local church. In August 2018, Brandon became the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Third Avenue. Brandon and Cindy are blessed with four wonderful children.

Scott Croft

 

Elder

Scott grew up here in the Louisville area before heading off to college and then settling in Washington, DC for the next fifteen years.  In his adventures away from Louisville, Scott became a Christian, married his lovely wife, Rachel, became a father to William, served on staff with a church, got a law degree, practiced law and eventually served as a lay elder in a church in DC.  Scott and his family moved back to the Louisville area at the beginning of 2011, joined 3ABC, and give thanks every day for the Lord’s good gift of their brothers and sisters in this body of believers.  Scott’s prayer as an elder is that he would serve faithfully, and that the Lord would use 3ABC to cause people to come to Christ, grow in Christ and build their lives around the word of God and the local church

Josh Morrell

 

Elder

Joshua and his wife Jennifer moved to Louisville in 2004. After visiting many good churches in the Louisville area they joined 3ABC early in 2005. Since that time their family has grown by three and their love for the gospel and the local church has been multiplied many times more as they have enjoyed a rich fellowship in a community bound together by a deep love for Jesus. Joshua’s passions are serving the community of believers who bring him much joy and leading his family toward Christ.

Alisson Arruda

 

Elder

Alisson is from Recife, Brazil, and he had the privilege to hear the Gospel at a young age. By God's grace, Alisson turned from his sins and trusted in Christ during his teenage years. In God’s providence, Alisson came to the United States to study in college. While attending college, he met Christina, and he married her in 2005 after their graduation. After college, he spent two years working as a youth director in Albuquerque, NM. Then, he came to Louisville in 2007 and joined Third. While in Louisville, Alisson graduated from seminary and became the father of Sophia, Isabella, and Victoria. He desires and prays for the members of Third to grow in their love and knowledge of God and to make disciples of all nations for God's glory.

Matt Smethurst

 

Elder

God saved Matt at a young age through the faithful witness of his parents. Years later at James Madison University in Virginia, God used the ministry of Cru to give him a deep passion for theology, evangelism, and discipleship. Upon graduating Matt moved to East Asia, where he served as a missionary for two years. It was there that he sensed a strong desire to preach and pursue pastoral ministry. After returning to the States he participated in a pastoral intern program in Washington, D.C., before moving to Louisville to attend Southern Seminary (from which he graduated in 2012). Matt and his beautiful wife, Maghan, are the proud parents of two kids and have belonged to Third Avenue for six years. As an elder Matt desires for our church to serve as a launching pad for the spread of gospel grace around the world. Matt serves as managing editor of The Gospel Coalition.

Joshua Dove

 

Elder

Justin Leighty

 

Elder

Justin grew up in a home where he heard the gospel regularly.  College was a formative time in his life, and his involvement with CRU at James Madison University cemented in his heart a love for Jesus Christ, his word, and the good news of forgiveness.  Following college, Justin spent a few years living in his home town, Washington, DC, where he developed a love and care for the local church.  He moved to Louisville in 2008, where he met and married the love of his life, Christine.  They have two children and have fallen in love with the city of Louisville and Third Avenue Baptist Church.

John Lovett

 

Elder

John grew up in a loving, church-going family in western Kentucky. At 12 years of age, however, John rejected Christianity, and began what he describes as a “misspent youth.” He rebelled against his parents, and mocked Christians throughout his teenage years. As part of a Western Civilization class, John read portions of the Old and New Testaments in college. This exposure convinced him that God, not humans, must have originated the Bible’s teaching. Yet, John had no interest in changing his life to follow Christ. Within a year, however, his sins began to find him out. At this time, Mack Stiles, a friend of John’s brother, shared the Gospel with John. In His mercy, God made John finally willing to embrace it. John has now trusted his life and eternity to Jesus Christ for over 40 years (II Cor. 5:21). After Jesus, God’s best gift to John is his wife, Melissa. John and Melissa have four adult daughters and five grandchildren. John practices law in Louisville.

Jon Deedrick

 

Elder

Jon became a Christian as a child through the witness of his parents and was baptized soon thereafter. After graduating high school in Kansas City, Jon received undergraduate and graduate degrees in music at a Christian university in SC. Throughout that season of life, the Lord began to steer his desires toward pastoral ministry. After a short stint on a church staff in TN, Jon moved to Louisville in 2009 to attend Southern Seminary (M. Div., 2013). While at Southern, he met his wife, Lindsay, and they were married in 2011. The Deedricks have two amazing kids, Hadley Mae and Cooper. Jon and Lindsay became a part of Third Avenue in 2013. Jon now serves as Interim President of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries, a missions organization focused on establishing churches and training leaders around the world.

Steven Clark

 

Elder

Steven grew up in a Christian home and in a church that faithfully shared the gospel with him. At 8 years old, he became a believer in Christ and was baptized. His faith began to grow during high school and college, and was spurned on by discipleship from great mentors and the church. He studied finance at North Georgia University, theology at  Southern Seminary  and business at  Indiana University Southeast. He is married to Whitney, and they have three children: Judson, Emma and Carolina. Steven and Whitney have been members at Third Avenue since 2011.