Meet Our Staff

Mark Jent


Director of Missions Outreach
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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. Mark has previously 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. 

Mark has also focused his talents on raising support and awareness for the expansion of Lipscomb Missions. His vision for the program includes both strengthening the existing work done by Lipscomb faculty, staff and students and broadening the mission field for all involved. 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.


Director of Missional Studies
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Earl Lavender

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. He and his wife have won 5 state championships in cross country.

tj bio


Missions Coordinator, External Affairs
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TJ joined the Lipscomb Missions staff in 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, twin boy and girl; Ian and Isla.


Missionary in Residence
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Steve Sherman

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.


Missions Coordinator, Special Projects & Events
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Paul joined Lipscomb Missions as a student worker in July 2008. He graduated in August 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in finance and 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, Special Projects & Events.

Paul's involvement with the program began as a student participant in mission trips. Through the experiences of these trips, he has developed a passion for mission work. He serves as the team leader for Lipscomb's trip to the Village of Hope orphanage in Ghana, West Africa and the spring break mission team to Fort Worth, TX.

Paul and his wife Rachel (Jones) were married in August 2010.


Administrative Assistant
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The presence of a truly dedicated individual such as Julie strengthens our department daily. She has been working with Lipscomb Missions since September 2010, primarily handling incoming funds and check requests. She coordinates much of the bookkeeping efforts for the fundraising projects led by our students and mission teams. Her patience is invaluable.

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.


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Lipscomb Missions
One University Park Drive Nashville, Tennessee 37204 | 615.966.6049 | Ezell 238