Meet Our Staff

Mark Jent

Mark Jent  |  Director of Missions Outreach
mark.jent@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.6261  |  Ezell 235

Mark has been part of the Lipscomb Missions staff since August 2003. He holds a bachelor of science degree in management from Lipscomb University, along with masters of business administration degree with a concentration in nonprofit management. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Mark served as the director of special events for Nashville Rescue Mission, coordinating events to raise awareness of and increase funding for the organization. Other previous professional experience includes coordinating game-day special events and promoting player involvement within the community for the Tennessee Titans. He currently sponsors Sigma Iota Delta social club on campus.

As director of missions outreach, Mark is responsible for the program's daily operations, along with casting and implementing a strategic vision for Lipscomb Missions. He oversees the financial management of nearly $1.3 million, works closely with the university officials to ensure best practices in risk management, is responsible for new trip approval along with recruiting and placing new team leaders. 

Since 2004 he has been involved with leading spring break mission teams to Cozumel, Mexico, to serve the Ciudad de Angeles orphanage. From 2010-2012 he served a three-year term on the Board of Directors for Ciudad de Angeles and currently assists as a member of the Board Development committee. Since 2000, Mark has been heavily involved in missions ministry working with churches and youth in Brisbane, Australia, including leading a team of students every summer on a month-long mission trip.

Mark is an avid Los Angeles Dodgers baseball fan fascinated by the team's history, especially their time in Brooklyn. He enjoys reading books about the golden era in baseball history, the old Brooklyn teams and the nostalgia that was experienced by those who lived it.

Mark and his wife Beth were married in May 2003. They have three children: Brooklyn, Harrison, and Zach. They are part of the Ethos Church family in downtown Nashville.


TJ McCloud

TJ McCloud  |  Missions Coordinator
tj.mccloud@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.6050  |  Ezell 237

TJ joined the Lipscomb Missions staff in the summer of 2011. A graduate of Abilene Christian University (2003, B.A. Christian Ministry) with a long history of creative arts, missions, and church ministry, TJ provides unique talent and experience to the Lipscomb Missions team. In addition to coordinating Latin American and Caribbean missions, he maintains relationships with our many partner ministries around the world and has a special focus in Athletics missions and program development and fundraising. 

TJ began his career as a Singer/Songwriter, founding the popular indie band StephenSpeaks in 1999, eventually garnering several number one hits, a platinum album, and a GMA Dove Award nomination. Following a life-long passion for the developing world, he and his wife, Holly, moved to the Dominican Republic in 2006 to start a Youth Outreach Center in the town of Rio San Juan, which has grown to serve 100 local families through a combination of creative arts, youth and family mentoring, sports ministry and tutoring. Prior to coming to Lipscomb, TJ served as the Young Adults and Spiritual Development Minister at Otter Creek Church, in Brentwood, TN. 

TJ and Holly were married in 2003 and have two children, a twin boy and girl, Ian and Isla. TJ is currently in the process of transitioning to a new job with Palmetto Medical Initiative, in which he will move to Nicaragua and serve as Regional Director for their ministry and outreach in Central America.


Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens  |  Missions Coordinator
paul.stevens@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.2015  |  Ezell 237

Paul joined Lipscomb Missions as a student worker in July 2008. He graduated in August 2008 with a BS in Finance & Economics from Lipscomb University. Following his graduation, Paul continued to work part time for the program through the next year. In September 2009 he accepted the position of program assistant, and in December 2010 began serving as Missions Coordinator. In addition to coordinating trips in the US, Europe, and Africa, Paul manages and oversees Lipscomb Missions' systems/processes, databases, website, and other technical elements of the program. Beginning in the spring of 2015, he will pursue a master's degree in Data Science.

Paul's involvement with Lipscomb Missions began as a student participant. Through those experiences, he has developed a passion for mission work and utilizing his training and skills in this field. He has served as the team leader for Lipscomb's trip to the Village of Hope in Ghana, West Africa for nearly ten years, creating a strong ministry partnership while growing close personal relationships. In addition to Ghana, Paul has served in leadership roles for Lipscomb teams in Baja, Mexico and Fort Worth, Texas.

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Paul is a loyal fan to his hometown sports teams (namely Ohio State and the Cincinnati Reds). He enjoys biking, running, sports (playing and watching), the outdoors, cooking, and crossword puzzles.

Paul and his wife Rachel (Jones) were married in August 2010. They are part of the Ethos Church family. 


Erin Gupton

Erin Gupton  |  Trip Coordinator/Event Planner
erin.gupton@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.1014  |  Ezell 238

Erin joined the Lipscomb Missions staff August 2014, after having graduated a few months earlier in May of 2014 where she received a bachelor of arts in public communication and leadership from Lipscomb University. Working as a part-time staff member with Lipscomb Missions, she serves as Event Planner and Trip Coordinator.

Erin’s involvement with Lipscomb Missions began as a student at the university, where she was involved with trips all four years (Nevis 2011, Saba 2012-2014.) While an undergraduate student she served as student leader for the Saba trip, and as a staff member she will continue to be a part of that leadership team.

When Erin isn't working on campus, she's just across the street working as a barista at The Well Coffee House. In her free time she enjoys spending time playing pick-up games of Ultimate Frisbee with friends, running, reading, and cheering for Alabama football with family.

Originally from Knoxville, TN, Erin has called Nashville home since she began her time as a student at Lipscomb in 2010. She is a part of the Ethos Church family in downtown Nashville.


Julie Woodroof

Julie Woodroof  |  Administrative Assistant
julie.woodroof@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.6049  |  Ezell 220

The presence of a truly dedicated individual such as Julie strengthens our department daily. She has been working with Lipscomb Missions since September 2010. Her patience is invaluable.

Julie manages financial transactions for Lipscomb Missions, processing more than $1.2 million each year in donations towards individual fundraising efforts of trip participants. She updates financial rosters with new transactions on a daily basis so that each team and individual team members can accurately track their fundraising progress. Julie also handles transactions for our program operational budget. She works closely with other financial offices on Lipscomb's campus (Development, Business Office, etc) to ensure all funds are allotted appropriately and in a timely manner, a role that cannot be overstated in its importance to our program!

In response to her thoughts on her position, Julie says, "I am deeply grateful for the opportunity God has brought me to serve through my job to help others serve Him. Whether it's on the mission field or in the classroom, working with God's people to encourage each other into a deeper faith is an honor."

Julie has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University. Julie and her husband, Tim, have three children: Sarah, James, and Jonathan.


Missional Studies

Earl Lavender

Earl Lavender  |  Director of Missional Studies
earl.lavender@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.5834  |  Ezell 220 B

Earl serves as the director of missions and professor in the College of Bible and Ministry at Lipscomb University. He also coaches the David Lipscomb High School cross country team. A 1975 associate degree graduate of Ohio Valley University, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master of arts in Biblical studies degree from Lipscomb University. He also completed a Ph.D. in Historical Theology and Patristics at St. Louis University in 1991. He has served on the Lipscomb faculty since 1990. He was honored as the 2008 Alumnus of the Year at Ohio Valley University in Vienna, WV.

Dr. Lavender has authored numerous books and articles including entries in The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, and in 2004 he co-authored Living God’s Love: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality with Gary Holloway. He is currently working with Holloway and Leafwood Publishers in writing and publishing a meditative commentary series on the New Testament. In addition, Earl has published commentaries on Mark, Luke and Acts, I and II Corinthians and the Prison Epistles.

Earl was born on the mission field in Trieste, Italy. He and his wife, Rebecca, planted churches in Italy and Illinois. He has also served as the missionary in residence for Lipscomb. He has led education initiatives, participated in missions or led mission trips to: Italy (multiple cities), Australia (Brisbane, Perth), Germany, England (London, Oxford), Scotland (Livingston, Glasgow, Dundee), Ghana, China (Wuhan, Guangxi, and Kunming), and India (Raja Mundri).

Earl and Rebecca have three grown children: Rachel, Beth and David. Rebecca teaches 6th grade in the Lipscomb Campus School. Earl is a private pilot. He has finished 45 marathons (and counting). He and his wife have won 5 state championships in cross country.


Steve Sherman

Steve Sherman  |  Missionary in Residence
steve.sherman@lipscomb.edu  |  615.966.5739  |  Ezell 233

After living and working as a missionary in Guatemala and Belize for over 20 years, Steve came to Lipscomb as the missionary in residence in 2002. He also serves as the missionary in residence at Otter Creek Church of Christ. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Harding University, a master of arts in religion degree from Harding Graduate School and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Steve draws on his extensive experience on the mission field to guide Lipscomb mission teams in Guatemala and Kenya. He has traveled with the medical mission team and the engineering team to Guatemala and a summer mission team to Made in the Streets in Nairobi, Kenya. Steve also oversees the English Language Learning program for the housing and maintenance personnel at Lipscomb. He is a board member for Made in the Streets, a ministry for street children in Kenya.

Steve and his wife Magda have three daughters Lisa, Sara, and Amy.


 

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Lipscomb Missions
One University Park Drive Nashville, Tennessee 37204 missions@lipscomb.edu | 615.966.6049 | Ezell 238