Born in Ohio and raised in St. Petersburg, Mike’s life took a dramatic turn as a freshman at the University of Florida. He connected with Jesus, began his faith journey, and got involved with what is now the Greenhouse Church. He has served as a youth leader, youth pastor, associate pastor, and lead pastor. He is married to his Puerto Rican bride, Ruth (Rivera), and they have been fruitful and multiplied, having eight children. Mike is a lover of innovation, leadership, cultures, languages, communication, sports, and chocolate. He is spending his life for the sake of souls, disciples, justice, and nations. But his deepest passion is his first love: knowing Jesus. He blogs at Mikepatz.com.
Matt was born and raised in Vero Beach, FL. Not coming from a Christian home, he met Jesus through an elderly woman in a Savannah ghetto in 1999. Since then, he has been trying to follow Jesus while avoiding the snares of Christendom. He graduated from UF with a B.A in World Religions, attended Fuller Seminary where he received his M.A. in Crosscultural Studies, and graduated from Southeastern University with his Doctorate of Ministry. Matt joined the Greenhouse staff in January of 2008 as the microchurch pastor. He has a heart and passion for God-seeking, discipleship, and multiplication. He is married to his more beautiful half, Tracy, and has two daughters, Alethea and Adalie.
Byron was raised in Chicago, IL. He moved to Jackson, MS just before starting high school. He had several encounters with God at a young age and tried to establish himself in Christ as a young adult. Although he had a heart to follow God, he lacked strong, consistent, close Godly influences in his life. It wasn’t until his 3rd year as a student at Mississippi State University where he connected with other believers at a local campus ministry that his life in Christ began to flourish. He met and then married the brilliant and beautiful Lakiesha Claude in 2005.
Byron and Lakiesha both went on to complete doctoral degrees and worked several years as professors at MSU. In 2018 they accepted faculty positions at the University of Florida and moved with their amazing daughters, Sophia and Sage to Gainesville. Byron joined the Greenhouse staff in May of 2021 after almost 3 years as an Associate Professor in Computer & Information Science & Engineering at UF. Byron has a strong desire for wisdom and a high capacity for building systems. His favorite Bible stories are those that feature Joseph, Solomon, and Daniel, men who relied on God’s wisdom to impact their worlds.
Byron enjoys all things tech, writing software programs, watching movies, and hanging out with his family.
Julie moved to Gainesville in 2007 from New York with her two lovely children, Brittany and Jared. Julie was a Greenhouse Church volunteer for over 5 years before joining the staff in November of 2012. She handles Operations at Greenhouse including Sunday services, Breakthrough Weekends, Arnold’s Missions Cafe, and the development of future satellite churches. Julie loves the NY Yankees!
Born in Puerto Rico, Ruth moved to Florida in 1989 and connected with Greenhouse with her mom. She married Mike Patz in 1994 and they’ve been on an adventure ever since. She’s passionate about emotionally healthy spirituality, prayer, healing, and the supernatural. Ruth loves to read and play volleyball, and spending time with Mike and their 8 children.
Oscar has been serving the Lord since he was 10 years old. He was an entrepreneur the last 20 years and transitioned into full-time ministry in 2008. He moved to Gainesville, Florida from Kansas City, Missouri in 2012. He has traveled and ministered all across the nation preaching and teaching on the glory of Christ and the cost of discipleship. His passion and mission are to serve and equip the body of Christ. He is committed to see Jesus Christ be formed in this generation through the expression of night and day prayer & worship, and the adoring study of the Word of God (Gal. 4:19, Col. 1:18).
He currently serves as the Greenhouse Church Prayer Pastor and Greenhouse School of Ministry Student Pastor. He is an ordained minister and has been married for over 30 years to his bride, Nancy. They have two daughters, son-in-law and are recently proud grandparents. His favorite past times are hanging out with his family, playing softball, fishing, and studying the Bible.
Brooke was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL. She came to Gainesville in 2006 to attend the University of Florida where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. During her senior year at UF, she rediscovered and encountered the love and grace of Jesus Christ. This was when she connected with Greenhouse. She has a deep passion for youth and families, and loves watching people encounter God as they discover their gifts. Brooke loves road trips, the beach, coffee, and scaring people!
Wendy was raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moved to West Palm Beach, FL, in her early teenage years. In 2006, Wendy relocated to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida, where God radically transformed her life. At UF, she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Family, Youth and Community Sciences with a concentration in Nonprofit Organizational Leadership.
Before joining our staff, Wendy completed the Greenhouse Internship. Her passion is to see others, especially youth, rise to their full potential and know their identity in Christ. Currently, Wendy coordinates the various local missions initiatives in East Gainesville. She enjoys cooking new recipes, learning about different cultures, traveling, and being outdoors with her journal or a good read.
Patrick has been a part of our Greenhouse family since he was in Middle School, and a part of our Greenhouse staff family since early 2019. He serves as our Next Gen Worship Director, overseeing and leading the corporate worship experience for our College and Youth gatherings, developing and training future worship leaders, and working with our team to write and release new songs of worship from the heart of our church. Prior to returning to Gainesville, FL and Greenhouse, Patrick and his family lived in Atlanta, GA and were involved with and led on Passion City Church’s worship teams, and on leadership teams for Passion Conferences. While vocational ministry hasn’t always been a full-time career, his heart for learning about what it looks like to live a life postured in worship continues to deepen and grow. Patrick enjoys leading in worship together with his wife, Sally, spending time with loved ones, writing music, and raising their two children to love Jesus and the people around them with abandon.
Samara was born and raised in Gainesville, FL at Greenhouse. She started following Jesus when she was just six years old, and has continued ever since! Samara moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida and eventually moved back to Gainesville to pursue full time ministry. Samara is passionate about teaching children how to worship, pray for the sick, hear from God, and tell others about Him. She aspires to create an environment where all children have the opportunity to express their love for God and receive His love for them while becoming familiar with His presence. Samara loves her husband, Jared; together they enjoy leading worship, the beach, and spending time with their families.
Betty has been with the Greenhouse staff for over 30 years and has enjoyed many roles during that time. She currently serves as the Operations Assistant. Betty is a widow, with 3 adult children and 8 grandchildren. Her hobbies include nature walks, cooking, and writing for her blog where she speaks candidly about her experience as a cancer survivor. You can find Betty’s blog at bettywilkinsonblog.wordpress.com
Tim and his family moved to Gainesville in 1986 and began attending the Greenhouse Church in 1998. He is Greenhouse Churches facility director. He has served in various ministries, including Youth, Technical Production, and Breakthrough. Tim loves to golf, and is married to Tracey, and they have two children, T.J. & Leah.
Jared was born and raised in Gainesville, FL and studied Show Production in Orlando. After working in New Orleans, he married his high school sweetheart, Samara, and in 2017 they moved back to Gainesville. Jared joined the Greenhouse staff shortly thereafter as the Technical Director, overseeing training and operations of the Tech Department. Jared enjoys leading worship with his wife, jazz music, and all things Google.
Robbie encountered the love of Jesus in the Sante Fe College library on July 7, 1998. After completing his degree in business at the University of Florida, Robbie participated in our internship program for 2 years, married his amazing wife Amanda, and joined our staff as youth pastor in 2002. Robbie now oversees all our macro-church gatherings and the University Campus. Robbie and Amanda have two children, Anna and Matthew. He was also a part of 2 Greenhouse Basketball League Championship teams.
After serving in the military for 8 years, Jorge married Lisa, the woman of his dreams, in 2003. Regardless of how hard they tried, there was something missing- it was God. In 2008, Jorge and Lisa started to attend Greenhouse church and during a Breakthrough Weekend in 2009, Jorge and Lisa both surrendered their lives to Jesus. It was such a marking moment for both of them that they decided to live a life entirely surrendered to God and His purpose for them. They both believe that there is nothing more loving that a person can do for another than to introduce and encourage a strong intimate relationship with God.
I accepted Jesus as my savior in third grade at a Christian summer camp. It turns out that my mom and step-dad did the same while I was away. Shortly after coming home from camp, all three of us were baptized on the same day. While I have never lost my faith, during high-school and college following Jesus was not one of my top priorities. After coming to Gainesville in 1992 for graduate school and meeting Monica, I once again began regularly attending church. Gradually, my faith began to move back to the center of my life. Monica and I have been blessed with 3 children. What originally brought us to the Greenhouse Church was the children and youth ministries. We are so thankful for the leaders that have poured into our children over the past 3+ years. Recently, my family and I have been leading worship at the Greenhouse at GRACE service. We have built some wonderful relationships and it has been awesome watching God work in the lives of some in this homeless community.
From “Transforming Fellowship: 19 Skills That Build Joyful Community” by Chris M. Coursey