Pastor Chris has led Pleasant Grove since 2010. His mission is to help people grow closer to Christ with every breath and step he takes.
Amy has over two decades of experience working with youth . She is passion ate about sharing Christ with young people.
Melissa grew up in the UMC and is excited to be part of our children’s path to Christ and to experience the love for God through the lens of a child
David is a musician and song writer with a passion to serve. David loves to use music to help people grow in faith.
Angela cares about people and knows how to keep everyone connected and on track. She's views her work as a ministry.
Jeremy is a "sound surgeon". His portfolio includes working with Julio Iglesias, Chris Daughtry, Austin Malone, T-Pain, and the television show, "The Family Feud".
Sarah is talented, dedicated, and kind. Her love for Christ shows through her music and everything she does.
Dale is an excellent musical improviser who who shares his gifts to serve the Lord. He says, "This is the plan from which we shall deviate."
Pastor Chris and his wife, Kelly, have been married since 1994. They have 3 kids—Gavin, Grace, and Abigail. Chris is is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church with a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering from Southern Polytechnic State University. Pastor Chris began ministry in 2000 and has served four different churches in Georgia. Chris also has a passion for martial arts, training since he was 10 years old. He is holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Favorite Experience: "One of my favorite experiences happened on a mission trip to Guatemala. A friend and I were sitting on the roof of a church we were helping to build. Our feet were hanging off the edge. It was a beautiful day and we were just reveling in the glory of God’s creation and the privilege of serving Him. The sweet sound of a female voice came drifting to our ears from a house next door. She was singing something we couldn’t understand. It was in Quiche (the local language of the village). We asked our translator what the words meant. He said, “She is thanking God for sending your mission team to help her church.”"
When not at church or with the family: "I like to build or make things by hand. I especially like to start with a raw material like wood, leather, or metal and turn them into something useful and beautiful like a pantry, a pen, a book cover, or a knife. It is also neat to take something old and worn out and restore it to make it beautiful again."
Favorite Quote: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.”, St. Francis of Assisi.
Music/podcasts I like to listen to: I enjoy all kinds of music, including Switchfoot, TobyMac, Third Day, MercyMe, Need to Breathe, Classic Rock, Bluegrass, Blues, and Classic Country. I also enjoy listening to audio books, and Disciple Dojo.
My life verse is: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”, Matthew 6:33.
Amy and her husband, Jason, have been married in 2005. They have 2 teenagers, Jackson and Lindsey. Amy has been the youth director at Pleasant Grove U.M.C. for five years and has worked in youth ministry in the United Methodist Church for two decades. Amy also works as a full-time paralegal.
Favorite experience: "Many years ago, when I had only been working in youth ministry for a few years, I was faced with a good bit of conflict and stress from the job and felt like I was being told to give it up and let someone take my place. We were on our annual youth beach retreat and I had been praying that God would direct my path in this ministry and in that time, I asked God why I should continue working in the youth ministry when it was causing me such hurt and grief. My favorite part of our beach retreats is communion on the beach. After each youth member is served communion, they go to a quiet place on the beach to reflect and pray. We had finished communion on the beach and my back was to the ocean and the youth members. As I turned around to go to my quiet spot, I saw 20 teenagers spread out across the beach, some with heads bowed, some with faces raised, all loving God and what he has done for them. At that moment, I heard a quiet voice say to me, "This is why." I have never felt so sure of anything as I was of my purpose in youth ministry at that moment. Two decades later, there is no turning back!"
When not at church I like to: "Watch sports or go to the lake. My life outside of church revolves around my children and their activities. We are a big sports family and most weekends you will find us at the ball field sitting behind home plate or at the gym cheering on our kids and their teammates. When our children's sports schedules allow, we like to take off to the lake during the summer."
Favorite Quote: "Just do it." - Nike (does that slogan count as a quote, because I find that I am regularly reciting those words over and over to myself and my children)
Music/podcasts I like to listen to: "I listen to it all--Contemporary Christian, Southern Gospel, Country (new and old), Classic Rock, and even the hip hop music that comes from my children's iPods."
My life verse is: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 NKJV I have witnessed personally the truth in this Proverb. My desire is to train up as many children as God places in my path.
Melissa and her husband Robert have been married since 2014. The have been blessed with three children to raise on earth, Garrett, Ellis, and Robin, and their son Harrison who they hold in their heart until they can hold him again in heaven. The Starling family began worshiping at Pleasant Grove U.M.C. in 2018. Melissa grew up in the UMC church. Melissa has recently began leading the PGUMC childrens program and is excited to be part of our children’s path to Christ and be able to experience the love for God through the lens of a child. Melissa also enjoys her work in the material science field as a Technical Manager. Melissa is also a 2nd degree Black belt in Tae Kwon Do (Pre-Chris & Pre-Kids) and competed in the Jr Olympics at 12 years old.
Favorite Experience: "One of my favorite experiences is from my time as a youth member at Hiram U.M.C. Once a month we would travel to a local group housing facility that had ~30 school aged kids and we would host a birthday party celebrating the birthday kids of the month. We would shop for a gift, play games, and served cake. The anticipation and joy that the kids felt was contagious and it was where my servant’s heart was born as I experienced deep fulfillment”
When Not at Church: I like to spend my time with my young children. We are involved in many sports and activities. I am also a Disney fanatic. I was able to visit Disney World for the first time since childhood in 2021. My family also loves to make any evening a movie night and enjoy a wide breadth of movie genres.
Melissa’s Favorite Quote: "Whether you think you can, or think you can’t…You’re Right" – Henry Ford
Music I like to listen to: Anything stripped down and acoustic
Life verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
David and his wife, Amy, were married in 1992. They have two kids—Tiffany and Sarah. David is a media specialist with a Master’s in Media from the University Of West Georgia, and a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, AL). David has 7 years of experience as a middle school band director, 5 years of experience as a middle school technology instructor, over a decade of experience as a middle school media specialist, and started as music minister at PGUMC in 2014. David also trained in martial arts for one year and is currently a 1st degree white belt in Tang Soo Do. (Thank you Chris! :-) )
Favorite Experience: "One of my favorite experiences was posting to Youtube a silly song about the experiences of raising children. It had over a million hits and led to the opportunity to have that song and several others professionally recorded at a studio in Detroit, MI."
When not at church or with the family I like to: "I like to hike, tinker in my workshop, write songs, sing with my family and friends, and watch movies where the bad guys get what’s coming to them."
Favorite Quote: "Just because it is what it is, doesn’t mean that’s the way it ought to be.”, Me.
Music/podcasts I like to listen to: "I don’t listen to any podcasts, I reckon I’m not hip enough, but I like just about all kinds of music."
My life verse is: "I don’t think I have considered a verse to be my, “Life Verse”, but having reflected after being asked to come up with one, I suppose, at this moment in my life, the verse could be, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”, 1 Peter 4:10.
Jeremy Barfield is a live audio engineer with nearly two decades of national touring and event experience in the field of live audio, theatre, Houses of Worship, and live and studio broadcast.
While attending Troy University (Troy, AL) as a music education major, Jeremy was a member of the University’s band program, playing trombone in any and every ensemble available. After leaving Troy, He took a position in Atlanta, GA as a local stagehand. Showing a strong aptitude for stagecraft, especially live sound, he was picked up by a regional sound company. While there, Jeremy was taken under the wing of a few long-time touring audio engineers. During this time, he had the chance to work with many various styles of music and work hand-in-hand with world class musicians and engineers. He moved into the freelance world in 2005, working as a corporate event A2 and engineer for a few local rock-and-roll clubs, eventually earning the A1 position for many corporate events.
Since 2011, Jeremy has toured with Grammy™ Award winning and multi-platinum artists and has been the PA system engineer and monitor tech for music festivals such as Lollapalooza and Governor’s Ball NYC. He has worked with artists such as Julio Igesias, T-Pain, Austin Mahone, Michael McDonald, and many others. In that time, Jeremy has been the production audio system engineer and RF coordinator for iTheatric’s Junior Theater Festivals and has been the mainstage FOH engineer for over 60 music theme charter cruises.
Jeremy's day job is producing live and pre-produced content for a popular fitness technology company at their flagship studios in Chattanooga.
When not at church or with the family: “During soccer season, I join in with my Chattahooligan family in section 109 at Finley stadium, cheering on the boys in blue, supporting the Chattanooga Football Club.”
My life verse is: “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” -Matt. 25:40
Angela and Ricky were married in 1992. They have 4 children and 11 grand children. Angela has many years of experience as a faithful administrator. Prior to serving at the church, she was involved in sales as well as customer service and finance.
Favorite Experince: "I have many experiences that I would call favorite, however I love building relationships with people at church. Each one brings a special gift every time I see them and I find it interesting to watch people grow where they are planted. I love watching our children learn and grow spiritually as well."
When not at church with the family, I like to: "Run and work out. “Like” may be pushing it, however taking care of myself is my hobby."
Favorite Quote: “Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else.”, Coach Matt Lisle.
Music: "I like to listen to a variety of music. Current pop, (I feel it keeps me young), classic rock (because I lived it), worship music and hymns, (because I was raised on it.)"
Verse: “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”, Micah 6:8.
Angela would love to help you get connected at Pleasant Grove. She is the key to reserving events, checking the calendar, asking general questions, getting help, finding where to plug in and so much more. Angela is the place to start! Send Angela and email at email@example.com.
Sarah and her husband Bobby have been married for more than 30 years. They have 2 daughters, Amy and Susan. Amy is married to Blane Bradford and Susan married to Nick Baker. Sarah works as a special education teacher for Whitfield County Schools and enjoys playing keyboard with the Pleasant Groove Praise Band.
Favorite Experience: "Some of my favorite experiences are the memories I have of raising my daughters…I’m so thankful for the gift of my family and my extended church family. I love the way Pleasant Grove rallies in prayer for specific prayer concerns of church members and others in our community."
When not at church: "I like to read, spend time with my family, and enjoy God’s beautiful nature."
Favorite quotes: “To God be the Glory.” (Galatians 1:5) “Too many of us want a microwave God when God is often much more of a Crock-Pot. He wants to let that stuff bubble, sit, and simmer until it’s cooked through and through. Until the transformation occurs fully in your life.”, Dr. Tony Evans.
Music I like to listen to: "The gift of music is so important to me! I love all kinds of music including classical, contemporary Christian, jazz, bluegrass, big band, and solo guitar."
My life verse is: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”, Jeremiah 29:11.
Dale and Valerie were married for in 2011. His oldest daughter Laurie lives in Dunlap, TN with her husband Jim and Dale’s grandsons Archer and Drake. Together, Dale and Valerie have a young son, Daniel. They are also foster parents and have provided care in their home for more than a dozen children. Dale graduated from Nyack College and received his master’s degree in social work from UT. He has played music in various churches and bands since he was 10 years old. He began playing professionally when he was 15.
Favorite Experience: "Each phase of my life has experiences that are special. During my high school years, my favorite experience was earning my private pilot’s license and going on trips with my friends. The biggest challenge in our adventures was that although at age 17 I could rent an airplane and fly to many different places, I could not rent a car to get anywhere other than the airport. I wish there was Uber then."
When not at church or with the family I like to: "Investigate the paranormal. In addition to social work and music, I’m a tour guide with Chattanooga Ghost Tours."
Favorite Quote: Illegitimi non carborundum
Music/podcasts I like to listen to: "Classic jazz and classical music. I also enjoy listening to NPR and the Catholic channel."
My life verse is: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31