Gary Dawkins

Lead Pastor

As Mercy's Lead Pastor, Gary guides the pastoral staff, oversees ministries, and serves as the visionary leader to grow Mercy's family and the greater community in loving God and others. He is passionate about discipleship, community care, justice, and wants to see all people flourish. Gary holds an MBA from Syracuse University, an MS in Communications Management from Morgan State University, and has attended Northeastern Seminary and Capital Bible Seminary. He loves to cook, is an avid reader, and among his favorite things are playing Monopoly with his wife, LeKita, and his daughter, Grace.

Mike Buerke

Associate Pastor

As lead associate pastor, Mike works directly with Mercy staff and leaders to develop smooth-operating church services, as well as helps with staff and leadership growth. Additionally, he serves on the finance team. His biggest passions are counseling people, teaching classes, writing, and identifying emerging leaders. His wife Annalisa is awesome and his kids are weird (which is exactly how he likes them). He’s an introvert, but has been known to get really chatty about baseball. His family has called Mercy home since 2009.

Tai-Kristin Bestick

Kids & Family Pastor

Tai-Kristin is excited to be the Kids and Families Pastor of Mercy Vinyard. She has a passion for making sure kids have a fun and authentic relationship with Christ, as well as supporting families and helping to meet their spiritual needs. She is an Alabama native with a background in the Performing Arts. She enjoys singing, cooking, and going to parks and museums with her husband Nathan.

Leo Alves

Youth Pastor

Leo oversees the youth ministry of Mercy. He’s Brazilian, born and raised. He also lived in New Jersey, Kansas City, and most recently Jacksonville, Florida. Leo’s married to the girl of his dreams, Sarah, and is the father of a wonderful little boy named Levi Joshua. Leo is a basketball fanatic, he loves soccer (futebol), and Brazilian steakhouses like all properly raised Brazilians should.

Julie Bodurtha

Communications Lead

Julie oversees communications activities at Mercy. She is a mom of three, drummer for the band her husband Peter leads, hammock enthusiast, and finder of fun.

Elliot Radeke

Pastoral Intern

Elliot is a pastoral intern at Mercy while he pursues a Master of Divinity degree. He will have the opportunity to learn from and partner with the different parts of Mercy Vineyard as it operates as one body. He has a passion for learning and growing. Elliot loves spending time with his wife, Julie, and their two kiddos. He enjoys coffee, riding his bikes year round and meeting new people.

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