Elders are the leaders of the church who in the Bible are also called pastors, bishops, and overseers (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:2). Elders are to be men chosen for their ministry according to clear biblical requirements (1 Timothy 2:11-3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and an elder’s duties include ruling (1 Timothy 5:17) managing (1 Timothy 3:4-5), tending (1 Peter 5:2-5), giving account (Hebrews 13:17), living an exemplary life (Hebrews 13:7), using authority (Acts 20:28), teaching (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:2), preaching (1 Timothy 5:17), doctrinal instruction (Titus 1:9), and church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17).

The clear pattern of scripture is for local churches to train up multiple qualified elders to serve together as a safeguard for both the church and the elders (Acts 20:17; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1). Within our leadership, Jesus alone is the Senior Pastor (1 Peter 5:4). Below, you will find the pastors under him who lead and serve in our church family.

Our family of churches has central leadership, as well as local leadership at each of our churches. To find out more about each church's leadership, visit your church's page.


The following pastors serve our entire family of churches.

Adam Gibson
Vision & Teaching
Email Adam

My wife Courtney and I were part of the team that originally moved to Columbia to start Midtown in 2005. We have two kids, Selah and Hunter. The people make Columbia home. I love the "small city" feel and that there’s plenty to do without overwhelming traffic and crowds. 

Chris Kakaras
Business & Finance
Email Chris

I graduated from college in May of 2006 and moved to Columbia to be part of our Midtown church family. I accepted an official position on staff in January of 2007. I am married to Megan and have three kids: Julie, Gus, and Charlie. My favorite things about Columbia are the lake and the local barbeque. 

Allen Tipping
Groups & Discipleship
Email Allen

My wife Courtney and I moved to Columbia in August of 2005 because we felt God calling us to join a team of friends to plant a church in downtown Columbia. I have two daughters named Zoe and Sadie and a son named Toby. Hands down the best thing in Columbia is our zoo. The exhibits are great, especially getting to feed giraffes. The splash pad is an awesome addition. They also offer lots of other great activities like the May concert series, Rhythm and Blooms. 

Ryan Rike
Care & Recovery
Email Ryan

As a college freshmen, I researched several churches before moving to Columbia. I attended my first Midtown Gathering my second week at USC and six weeks later I signed up to serve in production and then took the Midtown Class. I served as an intern in the summer of 2008 and then began volunteering with the finance team. I became a resident in 2012 and came on staff in 2014. My favorite things about Columbia are tubing the river in the summer and the Gamecock Spirit that overtakes the city.

Landon Thompson
Email Landon

I've been a part of our Midtown family since 2009. My wife Jordan and I are also wedding photographers and while living in Hilton Head, we shot a wedding for a couple that was a part of Midtown family. After interacting with this group of people for a day, we were amazed at their hearts for Jesus and each other—so much so that it heavily impacted our decision to move to Columbia because we knew we wanted to get plugged into Midtown. I came on staff with Midtown in 2015. We have a son named Oaklin. My favorite things about Columbia are the Soda City Farmers Market, the local coffee shops, the Congaree National Park, and tubing on the Saluda River. 


Directors oversee specific areas of ministry.

Laura Jones
Kids & Families
Email Laura

In 2014, my family and I began driving from Sumter for Gatherings and LifeGroup rhythms each week. In 2016, we relocated to Columbia and I came on staff with Midtown as the Director of Kids and Families. Mike and I have been married since 1999 and we have two children, Nolan and Carter. I love that this is the capital of our state and that we are also a university town. I think that is why there are so many people here who are open to new relationships. Lots of people in Columbia are living away from their hometowns and their families. We have such a great opportunity to show them what Jesus-centered family on mission looks like.

Nick Johnston
Email Nick

I've been around Midtown since 2009. I have a lovely wife named Laura, she's the bomb. My favorite thing about Columbia is walking down to the river and spending the afternoon reading & hanging around in my hammock with friends.

Wes Butler
Email Wes

I've been a part of Midtown church family since June 2009. I started coming around at the end of my junior year at USC and stayed in Columbia after graduating to continue to be a part of what God was doing through Midtown. I love spending time outside at places like the River Walk, Congaree, or the Horseshoe at USC. I also like Main Street events like the Latin Festival and the Soda City market. 


Each year we work with a group of Residents through our Residency Program, designed to raise up leaders for the existing Church and future church plants.

residency director:

Kelsey O'Neal
Email Kelsey

I have been around our Midtown family since 2009. As a freshmen at USC, I started attending Midtown gatherings and was blown away by how many young people there were who genuinely loved the Lord. Midtown’s College Spring Break trips were crucial to my growing faith and include some of my favorite memories. I have a husband named John and I love to spend my weekends on Lake Murray.