My Story

Brad was born in Redondo Beach California. His family relocated to the Central Valley a few years later. As the younger of two boys, Brad grew to enjoy Fresno. A few years after the move, his family experienced quite a bit of turmoil that culminated in the divorce of his parents, substance abuse, and overall unrest. Brad turned his attention to the athletic realm and thrived on the accolades and accomplishments his performance produced. He participated in Track, Baseball, Wrestling, Football, and a short stint on the Basketball court. Though he loved the diversity, Wresting and Football are the two sports where he found the greatest success. He was a standout wrestler at Clovis West High School and eventually ended his career with a senior record of 53-1-1, placing second in the state of California. This wrestling experience would serve as a catalyst for many of the character traits that have defined Brad over the years. However, his wrestling career also hurt his aspirations to play collegiate football. Brad dropped nearly 25lbs to wrestle, a decision that caused many colleges to write Brad off as “undersized”. Fortunately the Fresno State University coaching staff saw the passion and potential in this young valley product and offered Brad a full scholarship to come and play football for the Bulldogs.

With little to no spiritual exposure as a child and young adult, the intensity of the college experience became an interesting soul searching journey for Brad. During his earlier years, he had found himself in countless relationships, often times trying to fill the void that was created as a child. In the spring of 1992, Brad joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and began to enjoy the lifestyle that this provided. During this time, Brad enjoyed his first start as a defensive end for the Bulldogs in the storied “Freedom Bowl” victory over the University of Southern California Trojans. Things seemed to be developing well, and his life aspirations were falling into place.

For years Brad assumed that a vibrant social life and a celebrated football career would give him the sense of value, peace, and fulfillment that he had longed for. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Brad found himself in a quandary. All that he had worked for had left him wanting. All of the things that he had found significance in had left him with a sense of loss. Something was missing. For years Brad tried to fill that void with a different relationship, a better athletic career, and even began experimenting with substances to medicate his pain.

It was at this point that things began to turn for Brad. He had developed a relationship with a teammate during his career that shared a very similar past (Trent Dilfer). They had both sought satisfaction and fulfillment in competition and relationships and found this road to be painfully unsatisfying.  In the summer of 1992, Trent placed his faith in Jesus Christ and came back to Fresno committed to helping Brad come to know Christ as well. Trent was quoted as saying because of Brad’s passion and drive; he would truly make an impact for Christ, if he could only see that God loved him. Well, God did indeed have a plan for Brad’s life, and over the next year, God would use Trent to share the Gospel with Brad and begin to pray for him to come to know Jesus as his savior.

Through a string of circumstances, Brad was forced to ask hard questions about God. Disillusioned with his football career and increasingly frustrated with the wake of pain that he had left behind in his relational endeavors, he began to wonder if there was more to this life then he had originally thought.  On March 23, 1993, Brad was invited by Trent to a Fellowship of Christian Athlete Banquet for Fresno State Athletes. He was adamant that he was coming, not for the message, but for the free food. Regardless of motive, God was moving in Brad’s life and he was asking questions that he would have never considered in the years previous. Well, that night, Brad heard the gospel, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ.

That’s where the journey truly begins. They say that old habits are hard to break. Well, at that point, Brad was full of “old habits”.  The concept of reading the Bible, living for Christ, and dealing with the sin in his life, was an entirely new concept for Brad.  As he read the scriptures, he was forced to face the issues in his life that had plagued him for years. The more he read, the more he learned, the more he grew, the more he began to feel frustrated that he had not heard the truth of who Jesus Christ was earlier in his life. As he began to attend church and work with other athletes, and passion was born in him. As he continued to read his Bible, he was awestruck by Jesus Christ. He was fascinated by his love for the hurting, drawn to the compassion for the broken, and exhilarated with his disdain for the religious. Brad found the words of the scriptures and the pictures it paints of Jesus to be very different than what he saw around him. He wanted to spend his life helping others, like himself come to know Jesus Christ.

However, he began to realize that his knowledge of the scriptures was limited and his breadth of understanding of the word of God was woefully lacking. He resolved to find a place that would teach him his Bible so that he could help faithfully teach the Word of God for years to come. At the completion of his course work at Fresno State University, Brad graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Community Health Education and began to consider relocating to Denton Texas to study at Denton Bible Church, under the tutelage of Tom Nelson. Brad had found a pastor that would teach him the word and give him a grasp for how to teach the scriptures to others as well. Little did he know that this move to Texas would be one of the greatest life changing decisions to date.

Brad relocated to Denton in August of 1995 and began to work with the college ministry. He found great delight working with collegian men who were wrestling with the same questions that he had as a young man. He had a tremendous affinity with the “roughnecks”. He saw great response from those who were trying to get sober, and working through major sin issues in their lives. Brad began to mentor and disciple young men, and yet another passion was born. In short order, Brad found himself at the helm of a tremendous gathering of young men. He would invest large amounts of time into their development and found this adventure to be incredibly fulfilling. The move to Denton was initially designed to be a nine-month commitment, but as Brad enjoyed his time in Denton, these plans began to change.

During his time in Denton, Brad began to realize that God was calling him into vocational ministry. He had a tremendous passion to share Christ, and had grown to truly enjoy the art and science of teaching the scriptures. His experience with Tom Nelson had given him a wonderful handle on the Old Testament, but he knew that this training was merely the beginning. Just up the freeway in Dallas was one of the finest Bible training institutions in the country. Brad had heard of Dallas Theological Seminary, but has little connection with them due to his west coast roots. However, many of the Pastors that he had enjoyed listening to over the years had been trained at Dallas Seminary. He began to feel the calling to stay in Denton and commute to Dallas to further his training.

Brad began his course work in 1996 and enjoyed the hallowed halls of Dallas Seminary for three years. He was challenged by the degree of excellence in which the professors handled the word of God. He sat under the teaching of such great men of God as; Howard Hendricks, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, Chuck Swindoll, Lanier Burns, Mark Baily, Tom Constable, Robert Lightner, Bill Lawrence, and many others. Brad found the exposure to these men, as well as his classmates, profoundly challenging. These experiences began to shape his heart and mind and gave him the preparation needed to faithfully teach the word of God for years to come.  Brad completed his studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in May of 1999 with a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies.

A year previous to his seminary graduation, Brad married the love of his life, Jen. They had worked together with the college ministry of Denton Bible for years and had enjoyed multiple attempts to set one another up with one of their friends. It was three years into their working relationship that God opened Brad’s eyes to see Jen in a new light. Remembering where he came from, Brad was very leery of relationships and wanted to make sure that he didn’t fall back into the unhealthy habits of his past. Together, Jen and Brad, committed to enjoying their relationship with the highest of standards and to allow those around them to draw hope from what a relationship, with Christ as the center, could truly look like. Brad and Jen were married on June 13, 1998 and enjoyed their first kiss to a standing ovation and cheers of over 400 college students who came to celebrate their union.

Upon graduation, Brad was invited to take the college ministry position at his home church in Fresno California. Though he debated returning to Fresno, and had truly grown to appreciate the south, both he and his bride felt a strong calling to take what they had learned and begin to share Christ in the Central Valley. Upon arriving in Fresno, Brad and Jen went straight to work. They begin pouring their lives into the college crowd in Fresno and began to teach the scriptures to any who would come. Brad quickly reestablished relationships with Fresno State Athletics, where he became the Chaplain for the Football and Baseball programs for nearly ten years. He also reconnected with his old fraternity and began to share Christ in that venue as well.

It wasn’t long before the gifts, experiences, passions, and training began to paint a picture for Brad that he couldn’t resist. Over the three years that he worked in college ministry in Fresno, he began to realize that God had prepared him to start a church and build a team that could help reach the city for Christ. In the fall of 2001, Brad began to share this vision with the Deacon Board of the church that he served, as well as a group of collegians who had expressed a desire to start the new church with him. After much prayer and discussion, Brad resigned from his position in Dec of 2001 and announced his plans to launch The Well Community Church in February of 2002.

With great excitement, anxiety, fear, and hope, the small group of approximately 40 college students gathered to consider what type of church they should start together. This process proved to be one of the finest experiences that Brad has ever been a part of. The passion, zeal, longing for the glory of God to be shown among them, and an ardent desire to live by the word, helped fan the flame of passion for this fledgling church. Brad, along with 250 friends, family, and others, gathered for the inaugural service of The Well on February 10, 2002.

The Well has grown to be one of the largest churches in the Fresno area. Under Brad’s leadership, and the obvious hand of God’s blessing, it has grown from a small group of collegians to over 3,000 in attendance. Over the years, Brad’s leadership has been tested, and he has drawn extensively from his education and experience. Brad has built a tremendous team of pastors and leaders at The Well and has enjoyed the change associated with growth. Though he is not certain what God has in store, nor is he convinced that he understands where God is taking The Well, he is thankful for the mystery, and to simply be a part of the journey.

Brad and his bride, Jen have enjoyed their marriage immensely. They have built a strong foundation together and have continually served as examples to those around them. Their home is filled with laughter and their marriage has grown to be a reflection of Christ to all who come into contact with them. Both share a strong commitment to building a healthy family, and have passed on this value to their two daughters. (Peyton & Kendall)
Brad takes great joy in being a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, and a pastor. Though shaped by the scriptures in many ways, Brad has found a live verse that sums up his passion and calling:

“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”
Col 1:28-29

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