OUR SENIOR PASTOR
I was born in the red dirt of Cobb County at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia. Five generations of Vandegriffs before me lived and died in North Georgia, so even though I moved to Orlando, Florida, at age two, I’ve carried a passion for Varsity chili dogs and Georgia Bulldog football my whole life. First confession as your senior pastor: my family gets a good laugh from me yelling at the TV during Georgia games.
My parents have been in ministry my whole life, first at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, then at First Baptist Orlando where my Dad has served for almost forty years. It was because of my parents’ commitment to Jesus and the local church that I was given the opportunity to meet Jesus at a young age. I’m not perfect, and my faith has needed some years of deepening and maturing; however, it is my sole objective in life to know God more each day and to make Him known.
I attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where I walked on the football team as a wide receiver and eventually earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1999. I wanted to go into management consulting; however, God had other plans for me. After taking a gap year to do mission work, I felt God calling me into full-time Christian service. We were active leaders at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, so we stayed in town and attended Truett Seminary at Baylor earning a Master of Divinity in 2003.
I met my wife Kelly at Baylor, and we both were in the same mission program during that gap year. Kelly loves God, she’s beautiful, loves missions, is great with kids, and won’t let me give her any lip. I knew I had to marry her.
Four months after I finished seminary we moved to Berlin, Germany. What we thought would be a couple of years doing mission work turned into eight years and planting a church. I also coached wide receivers for a semi-pro football team called the Berlin Adler. During that time God blessed us with three amazing kiddos: Aidan (12), Kegan (10), and our only girl, Brynn (8). They are all proud to have been born in Berlin and love wearing their German national soccer team jerseys.
I like American football, European fussball, business books, hunting, and hiking. As a family we are on mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus through the community of the local church. We want to live our lives in such a way that, like Caleb in Numbers 14:24, God will say of us, Van and Kelly followed me wholeheartedly. We are so excited for the days ahead at Cedarcrest and can’t wait to run hard after God together with you.