Pastor Rob Taylor
I was raised in a loving home. The idea of success and “the meaning of life” were conveyed to me through images of how the world measured worth; obtaining a good job, getting the girl, starting a family, retiring, and then dying. These images didn’t contain any facets of God.
My first interaction with church and God was at a young age; in the Sunday school that I would get dropped at each week. It didn’t take long before I altogether stopped attending because I felt it was taking away from other things I’d rather be doing. As a kid, I wanted to be outside playing with my friends, not stuck at church.
As I grew older, I worked odd jobs like a lot of kids; cutting grass, shoveling snow (yes, I grew up North of Nashville) and even worked at a gas station at the age of 15. After high school, I headed to college and upon graduation, landed a “respectable” job at an engineering firm. My hard work paid off and I quickly became well-respected in my field. The paycheck that accompanied this position also added to the success I felt and I soon thought I was on the road to what I had always wanted. I had the job, now I needed the wife.
I met Louise (everyone knows her as Lou), while working at the engineering firm. We were soon married and had no plans to change the course of success we were both on. Little did we know, God had another plan.
We moved to Florida and shortly after, Lou’s mom passed away. Lou would cry herself to sleep each night. So one night she told me that God wanted her to “come find Him in His church” and she asked me if I would go to a church with her? My response, “Not me, but you go.” Even now, I regret not being more compassionate to my wife when she needed me most. I agreed to accompany her to a church service when a few of our friends invited us to attend an Easter service their church was coordinating. It was that day, my life was changed. At the age of 26, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.
In 2000, life became more hectic than ever. Lou and I would see one another as we crawled into bed each night. We both knew we were in desperate need of “us” time. We went on vacation and enjoyed some great quality time. It was on this trip that God spoke very clearly to me during one of our morning devotions. We were reading Isaiah 42, when verse six caught my attention – “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand.” It was this verse that God used to call me to full-time ministry as pastor of Calvary Chapel Brentwood.
It was then time for our move to Tennessee, where we currently reside. Each day I am thankful for the ways God uses Lou and me to encourage believers to walk with God and engage their faith.
• Born and raised: Rochester, NY
• 1st Job: Gas station attendant
• Favorite color: Red
• Favorite food: Schaller’s hamburgers
• Who you married and when: My best friend Lou on June 17, 1989
• Hobbies: Pilot, scuba diving, water skiing. But who has time for hobbies?
• Favorite scripture verse: Hebrews 12:2 – looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. & Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
• Favorite vacation spot: Any beach
Pastor RJ Granda
As a graduate of Northwest Christian Academy, in Miami, I was not a stranger to the word of God. At age 17, I prayed to receive Jesus as my Savior. Looking back, I realized I didn’t totally surrender my life completely to Him. Sadly, I didn’t live one day of my life for Him.
I met my wife, Cindy, in high school. In 1986 we were married, Anthony was born in 1989, and Dominick in 1993. Normal pressures from life put a strain on our work life, as well as, our family life. Knowing something was in desperate need of change, Cindy started attending CC Ft. Lauderdale and eventually rededicated her life to Jesus. There was such a beautiful change in her life, that it was attractive to me (1 Peter 3:1-2), and I began attending as well.
In 1995, I rededicated my Life to Jesus. I had worked in construction all my life and possessed ALL the stereotypical bad habits of a construction worker. But our God is a God of reconstruction. Once I allowed Him to, He came in and cleaned house. This time, there was a definite change. Instead of living selfishly, I had a strong desire to serve God and serve others, a behavior that I believe that was passed down from my parents.
In 2003, by God’s grace and direction, He moved our family to middle Tennessee. That in itself is a testimony (and a miracle), because I never wanted to leave FL. Immediately, I began serving at the church. And in 2007, Pastor Rob asked me if I would prayerfully consider accepting a position at CC Brentwood as his assistant pastor. I was floored because I knew I didn’t deserve that. I still don’t.
BUT GOD! He’s been so good to our family, So faithful to His church, and yet He has so much more to do through us all. When I think of where I was when God called me into the fellowship of His love, I am so grateful for His Grace.
- Born and raised: Miami, FL
- Siblings: Don, Donna, Susan, Jerry
- Favorite thing to do as a kid: Fish
- 1st Job: Laborer for a concrete company
- Favorite color: Silver (and anything)
- Favorite Food: Easier to ask what I don’t like. SEAFOOD.
- School History: Northwest Christian Academy (high school), Knox College, Valdosta St. College, FL International Univ. (3 years), State of FL Emerg. Medical Tech. Certification, State of FL General Contractors Certification, State of TN. General Contractors Certification, State of TN. Real Estate Affiliate Certification.
- Who you married and when: 1986 to Cindy Howell
- Children: Anthony, Dominick
- Hobbies: Watching anything my kids do (hockey) and helping others
- Favorite scripture verse: Matthew 6:33
- Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere I vacation
- Fun Fact: I have a God given gift to arrange flowers.
- Anything else: I am very blessed to be able to serve the Lord in such a capacity and do what I love…helping others and furthering God’s Kingdom
Pastor Trent Schmidt
I grew up in the small town of Emporia, Kansas, where I spent the first eighteen years of my life. My older brother and I were raised in a loving Catholic home where our parents were very active in our life. As a youngster, I enjoyed a variety of athletics, but my favorite was basketball. Athletics taught me the importance of hard work and team play, while the religious practices in our home ingrained in me the importance of God. Unfortunately, my ‘religion’ failed to foster a true and personal relationship with Jesus. Thankfully, all this dramatically changed the year my mother gave her life to the Lord, and started teaching our family more and more about Jesus being our personal Savior. My family started giving their life to the Lord, and I made the personal decision to accept Christ as my savior during my junior year in high school. Since then God has continued to reveal himself to me and lead me to where I am today.
I met the love of my life after moving away for college, and we’ve been happily married since 2006 – the same year I graduated from Samford University, where I competed as a pole-vaulter on the Track & Field team. My wife and I relocated to Nashville in 2007, and started attending Calvary Chapel Brentwood a year later.
I entered full time ministry here at Calvary in 2009, and I’ve been faithfully leading the Youth and Young Adults ever since. Our middle schoolers and high schoolers are such a great group of kids and I consider myself fortunate to be able to serve them. My wife and I love opening our home each week for our Young Adults small group. It’s such a great time to share a meal and encourage one another as we go through life together!
I’ve had the privilege of wearing many different hats here at Calvary over the years and have really enjoyed being able to get involved in so many aspects of ministry.
Kristin and I now live in a quiet neighborhood with our three kids. Our oldest son, Tyson, is extremely inquisitive, helpful and loves baseball. Our middle daughter, Avery, is the most free-spirited (messiest), most nurturing little girl, and loves anything artistic. And lastly, our youngest, Cohen, is as cute and goofy as they come, and loves sugar, puppies, and dancing.
If you’re still reading this, that’s amazing! Please do me a favor and come find me during a Sunday service to say hi! My wife and I would love to meet you and shake your hand. We look forward to connecting with you.
- Born and raised: Small prairie country home in Kansas with Sunflowers and a Yellow brick road out front.
- Siblings: One Brother and I’m glad he has more gray hair than I do.
- Favorite thing to do as a kid: Be the youngest and get picked on by my brother and father.
- 1st Job: Watering my mother’s flowers into a wilted state. I wasn’t good at that job.
- Favorite color: Red
- Favorite food: Many, but others would say anything. They would be wrong.
- School History: Preschool through 17 1/2 Grade
- Who you married and when: June 17, 2006. I’m married to my best friend! She is a beautiful and wonderful woman who tolerates my goofy outbursts.
- Children: Yes, 3 please, and one on the side…..maybe.
- Hobbies: Guitar, and thinking I’m as athletic as I once was.
- Favorite scripture verse: Isaiah 41:10
- Favorite vacation spot: The East Coast, subject to change.
I grew up in the Bible belt, going to church every Sunday, and my parents are strong believers. I would have always said I was a Christian from the time that I learned to talk, but I did not truly know Jesus and I was basically a kid with good morals, but no real faith. I do not know if I ever had a real “conversion moment,” but when I moved from Alabama to Mississippi when I was 15, I took it as a chance to reinvent myself and thankfully Christ took hold of my life. I got really involved in a good youth group, I joined the church worship team and I asked God to use me as He would. I got very serious about my faith, got into the Word and I believe I sorted out what God was calling me to do. Over the years I have stayed focused on God’s calling for me to use my musical talents for His glory; and to use the expression of music as worship to minister to the church.
- Born and raised: Born in Decatur, AL and raised in small towns throughout Alabama and Mississippi
- First Job: Line cook/dishwasher at a bar & grill
- Favorite color: Gray
- Favorite food: I can’t narrow that down, but if I had to pick one category I’d say Asian food: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese
- Who I married and when: Sarah Thornell on September 22, 2007
- Children: Eden, born March 2, 2016
- Hobbies: Hanging out with my wife and daughter; playing guitar; checking out new restaurants and coffee shops
- Favorite scripture verse: John 16:33 – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
- Favorite vacation spot: NYC – you can go there a thousand times and never run out of places to go, things to see and restaurants to try
- Born and raised: Marion, Arkansas
- First Job: Babysitting and waitressing in a small Italian restaurant
- Favorite color: Neutrals and pink
- Favorite food: My moms manicotti and everything CHOCOLATE!
- Who I married and when: Jay Duffy on December 16, 2012. We love telling people about our amazing testimony, so please ask!
- Hobbies: Being with my 3 boys and husband, watching our oldest son play baseball, working out, planning events, and decorating anything!!
- Favorite scripture verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
- Favorite vacation spot: I love the beach but love going new places, and as long as my family is with me it will be my favorite!