Teacher/Musician BiosA handshake and a “hi” would probably be nicer, but hey, there’s only so much introducing that can be done over the Internet. Here’s a start that will help you become acquainted with the people who’ll be teaching and leading us in worship at our upcoming Sunday Gatherings. Check out their bios below, then join us in the Shed or listen online in the weeks ahead so you can get to know them [and all of us] a little better.
Steve Argue joined Mars Hill staff in 2009. He serves on the Ministry Leadership Team, leads the theology sub-team, and invests in training, pastoral development, ministry assessment, and teaching in the Shed. Steve speaks, writes, coaches, and trains on adolescent faith and development; researches emerging adult spirituality; and teaches seminary courses on youth ministry. He earned his MDiv from Trinity International University and his PhD in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University.Steve is married to Jennifer, who works as a mental health therapist. They have 3 daughters: Kara, Elise, and Lauren.
Rob is the founding pastor and pastor emeritus of Mars Hill. He is the author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God, and is a coauthor of Jesus Wants to Save Christians. He is also featured in a series of spiritual short films called NOOMA. Rob graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He and his wife Kristen have three children and currently live in California.
Greg Boyd surrendered his life to Christ in 1974. Since then, he studied at the Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary and worked as a Professor of Theology at Bethel University for 16 years, where he continues to teach part time. In 1992, he founded Woodland Hills Church, an evangelical megachurch in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he serves as Senior Pastor. Well-known for his writings on the relationship between Christianity and politics, he has written many books, including best-seller, The Myth of a Christian Nation. In his spare time, Greg is the drummer for Not Dead Yet, a rock band that raises money for children in Haiti. Greg and his wife Shelley live in St. Paul, MN. They have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren.
Steve Carter is a teaching pastor for Willow Creek Community Church. Steve works with an incredible team of staff and volunteers committed to living out the reality that reconciliation is possible. He is a founding member of both Rock Harbor Fullerton Church and Solidarity and currently serves on the Solidarity board. Steve lives with his wife Sarah, their son Emerson, and daughter Mercy June in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Shane Claiborne graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastern. His adventures have taken him from the streets of Calcutta where he worked with Mother Teresa to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago where he served at the influential mega-church Willow Creek. As a peacemaker, his journeys have taken him to some of the most troubled regions of the world—from Rwanda to the West Bank—and he’s been on peace delegations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shane is a founder and board member of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. He is married to Katie Jo. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Follow him online on Facebook: ShaneClaiborne and Twitter: @ShaneClaiborne
Ian Morgan Cron is an author (Chasing Francis, Jesus, My Father, the CIA & Me) speaker, and retreat guide. In addition to writing, facilitating retreats, and speaking around the country, Ian is an adjunct priest at Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, Connecticut where he curates the Conversations in Courage and Faith series (courageandfaith.org). He is also a student at Fordham University where he is completing his doctoral work in Christian spirituality.
Andy is the author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, published in October 2013. His book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling won Christianity Today’s 2009 Book Award for Christianity and Culture and was named one of the best books of 2008. In December 2012 he became executive editor of Christianity Today, where he is also executive producer of This Is Our City, a multi-year project featuring documentary video, reporting, and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities.Andy serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He is also a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission’s IJM Institute. His writing has appeared in Time, The Wall Street Journal, and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
Meredith joined Mars Hill in 2011 as Community Life Pastor and currently serves as our Curriculum and Training Pastor. Previously, she was Associate Pastor of Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT. Before being called to seminary in Seattle, where she earned her Master of Divinity from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Meredith worked in the marketing and non-profit sectors. Her passions include teaching, preaching, photography, and spiritual formation. Meredith lives in Grand Rapids with her husband Stephen and their daughter Imogen.
Craig Detweiler, Ph.D., is Professor of Communication and director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University in Malibu. He’s written comedies for the Disney Channel and directed award-winning documentaries. His most recent project, [un]Common Sounds: Peace Through Music premiered on ABC’s “Vision and Values.” Foreword honored his book, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives as the 2013 Silver winner for best books about Popular Culture. Detweiler’s cultural commentary has been featured on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, NPR, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Ed served as the Vice President for Spiritual Formation at Cornerstone University and is the Pastor Emeritus at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Religion, as well as a doctorate in Higher Education. A consulting editor with Leadership Journal and the author of many books, he also served as a member of the consultive group representing The World Council of Churches in dealing with the international problem of HIV/AIDS.
This artist, writer, and speaker is recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper. His work is exhibited at art galleries around the world and he is one of the first artists to paint live onstage at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. A popular speaker, Fujimura has lectured at numerous conferences, universities, and museums.
Mars Hill guest musician, Stu G, was the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and secondary songwriter for the band Delirious? from 1994 until 2009. Read his bio here.
Troy is the Lead Worship Pastor at Mars Hill. A graduate of Judson College who studied English and music, Troy confesses to being an unashamed self-proclaimed music snob. He plays in a local band called The Mines, and his other interests include reading, Brit Rock, contemplative practices, black shirts, and the Cherie Inn. If you see somebody strumming a ukulele at Mars Hill, it’s probably him.
Michael, his wife, and three children live in downtown Denver, Colorado where he is the Lead Pastor of Denver Community Church, and is the author of Unlost: Being Found By The One We Are Looking For. He writes regularly for Relevant Magazine, and blogs regularly at michael-hidalgo.com. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelhidalgo
Shane Hipps served Mars Hill as a Teaching Pastor from 2010-2012. Formerly a strategic planner in advertising, Shane spent several years working on the communications strategy for Porsche Cars North America. He later left advertising to pursue his long-held interest in spirituality and theology, earning a Master of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary. Before joining Mars Hill, Shane served as pastor of a growing, urban congregation in Phoenix, Arizona.Shane is the author of two books: The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church  and Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith .
Mary Hulst serves as the College Chaplain of Calvin College. She is a graduate of Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, and her PhD is from the University of Illinois. A native of Holland, MI, Mary loves the outdoors, hiking, swimming, and every now and then she takes up running again. She is a newlywed and very grateful for her husband, Drew. Together they have three amazing children and two crazy dogs.
Eric Kuiper was the Director of Ministry Programming at Mars Hill from 2010-2014. A graduate of Calvin College and Fuller Theological Seminary, Eric spent 11 years on Young Life staff in West Michigan prior to joining the staff of Mars Hill. Yet, he and his wife Kate have been a part of the Mars Hill community from the beginning. His love of story means he is often watching, talking about, or writing about film.
Matt Laidlaw is the Community Life Pastor at Mars Hill. He is a graduate of Kuyper College and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and has lived and studied in the Middle East. Matt is a Certified Trainer for the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary and is an Editorial Board Member for the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. Matt began following Jesus while he was in high school, and has since been passionate about helping young people take the next step on their own spiritual journey. He is a sports enthusiast, poor joke-teller, and food snob. Matt has been a part of Mars Hill since 1999, and he and his wife, Stephanie, are grateful to call this community home. They live in Jenison, Michigan with their 2 children.
Kyle Lake is our Fifty6 [5th + 6th Grade] Pastor at Mars Hill. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and currently a student at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. Kyle is passionate about his work with kids, students, and families. He is an avid Michigan Wolverine and Detroit sports fan, cyclist, and coffee drinker. Kyle lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Sandra, and dog, Walter. They enjoy camping and exploring all that is Pure Michigan.
David Livermore, our Elder Chairman, is a thought leader in cultural intelligence [CQ] and global leadership and the author of the new book, The Cultural Intelligence Difference. His book, Leading with Cultural Intelligence, was named a best-seller in business by The Washington Post. He’s president and partner at the Cultural Intelligence Center in East Lansing, MI, and a visiting research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Prior to leading the Cultural Intelligence Center, Dave spent 20 years in leadership positions with a variety of non-profit organizations around the world and taught in universities. He’s a frequent speaker and adviser to leaders in Fortune 500′s, non-profits, and governments and has worked in more than 100 countries across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe.Dave and his wife Linda have 2 daughters, Emily and Grace. Some of their favorite activities are traveling, hiking, eating Asian food, and walking to the local ice cream shop, Jersey Junction, near their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than thirty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the USA and abroad. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham.Scot McKnight was elected into the Hall of Honor at Cornerstone University in honor of his basketball accomplishments during his college career. He and his wife, Kristen, live in Libertyville, Illinois. They enjoy traveling, long walks, gardening, and cooking.
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders.Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors since the mid 1980’s, and has assisted in the development of several new churches. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings – across the US and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice. He is primarily known, however, as a thinker and writer.From the fall of 2013-summer 2014, Mars Hill held a teaching series that sprung from the 12 words/concepts within his book, Naked Spirituality.
Evan Moffic is the youngest rabbi of a major congregation in the United States. A graduate with high honors from Stanford University, he is the author of the forthcoming What Every Christian Ought to Know about Passover and What Every Christian Ought to Know about the Jewishness of Jesus [Abingdon Press].He has a passion for helping Christians learn about Judaism and the Old Testament in a way that makes their faith stronger and deeper. He has appeared numerous times as a religious commentator on Fox News, blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and Beliefnet.com, has his own popular blog [www.rabbi.me], and speaks at churches and interfaith conferences around the country. He and his wife and two children make their home in suburban Chicago.
First joining Mars Hill as a volunteer musician in 2004, Ethan has since taken on the role of guest worship leader. He draws inspiration from a rich past of musical influences: Half of an electronic music duo, singer for a reggae trio, bassist in a latin band, and senior chorus member of Opera Grand Rapids. Presently, he joins Troy Hatfield as singer and co-conspirator in their band, The Mines. He and his wife, Ashley, love adventures and are always planning the next road trip.
Aaron Niequist was the worship leader for Mars Hill from 2004-2007, and currently serves as a guest musician. Learn more at aaronniequist.com
Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. She grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. They live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac.Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life—friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.
Doug Pagitt is a pastor, author, business owner, speaker, consultant, and radio show host, seeking to be a social and theological entrepreneur and goodness conspirator. He is married to Shelley and they live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are the parents of 4 young adults. Doug is the founding pastor of Solomon’s Porch, A Holistic Missional Christian Community in Minneapolis. He has a theology degree from Bethel Seminary and was one of the founders of the social network Emergent Village. Find Doug online at DougPagitt.com.
Cornelius [Neal] Plantinga Jr., is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church and has served as a pastor in Webster, NY and supply preacher in Cliffwood Beach, NJ. Before joining the faculty at Calvin Theological Seminary, Cornelius Plantinga Jr. taught at Princeton Theological Seminary [1976-78], Fuller Theological Seminary (1985, 1987) and Regent College . He became Dean of the Chapel at Calvin College in 1996 and was President of Calvin Seminary from 2002 to 2011. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College.
Jonathan is one of our guest worship leaders and a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design with a MFA in painting. Jonathan claims to have the world’s best job: teaching visual art at Grand Rapids Christian High School. In his free time you will find Jonathan painting, or on a river fly fishing. He and his wife, Johana, along with their three kids, are grateful to call the back section next to the sound booth home at Mars Hill.
Peter Rollins is a widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker. He is also the founder of ikon, a faith group that has gained an international reputation for blending live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theatre, ritual and reflection to create what they call ‘transformance art’. He is the author of the much talked about How (Not) to Speak of God. His most recent work is entitled Insurrection. He was born in Belfast but currently resides in Greenwich, CT and is employed by The Olson Foundation.
Reverend Canon Chris Russell is vicar of St Laurence in Reading, England, where his focus is to work to the mandate of being a multi-generational community, with a particular mission among young people. He also serves as Advisor for Evangelism and Witness to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. In 2012 he released his first book, Ten Letters. Chris and his wife Belinda have three children. Follow him on Twitter @revchrisrussell
James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College and a Senior Fellow of The Colossian Forum on Faith, Science, and Culture (colossianforum.org). Jamie is an award-winning author whose books include Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?, Thinking in Tongues, and Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. His new book, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works will be out in January 2013. His writing has also appeared in magazines such as the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Christian Century, First Things, and Books & Culture. He and his wife, Deanna, have 4 children and are committed urban dwellers who make their home in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, MI. For more, visit his website: jameskasmith.com.
Andy Soper–a man who as a child dreamed of being a roadie for Mötley Crüe–is the Director of Mobilization at Mars Hill. Before coming to Mars Hill in 2013, Andy worked with severely traumatized youth for 10 years and opened the first shelter for minor Human Trafficking victims in Michigan. Prone to long drives in his car, Andy normally sports one overly tan arm. He and his wife, Marcy, have a small nation of 4 kids who will one day grow to see their parents as ‘square’ and tragically non-hip.
N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world’s leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For 20 years, Wright taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities, and he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, The Challenge of Jesus, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as the much-heralded series Christian Origins and the Question of God.N.T. Wright gave a free public lecture at Mars Hill on Nov 20, 2014.