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.

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.

Jessie Carlson

Staff Pastor

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.

Linsey Zell

Director of Communication and Media

Linsey oversees the production team and communications for Mercy Vineyard Church. She graduated from Crown College with a communication degree and a minor in cross cultural ministry. She was born and lived in Brazil until about 13 years of age with her missionary family. While graphic design is her strong point, she enjoys video and audio production. Her hobbies now include filming and supporting her husband with his passion for traditional Cambodian music and lifting up his culture to empower refugees here in the U.S.

Liz Minnie

Assistant to the Lead Pastor

Liz is the assistant to the lead pastor. She is also the volunteer Groups Coordinator responsible for communicating with groups leaders and facilitating logistical needs for groups.

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