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.
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.
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!
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.
Mike was born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl. He came to Gainesville in 2007 to attend the University of Florida. In the fall of 2009, Mike encountered Jesus in a big way, and his life would never be the same. Mike has an incredible love for students and desires to see students utilize the gifts God has given them. Mike is married to his childhood best friend, Danielle.
Renee is passionate about worship and discipleship. She has been ministering since 1990 and earned an M. A. in Practical Theology at Regent University in 2004. She spent several years in Moscow, Russia as a missionary with her husband, Phil, and after returning to Florida in 1994 she continued to travel to numerous nations ministering the beauty of the Gospel message. She loves seeing people connected to God, each other, and serving in the kingdom. She has two daughters, five grandchildren, and enjoys interior design.
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.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Miami, Fl., Priscilla connected with Jesus as an 8-year-old girl when her dad got saved and invited her to church. She came to Gainesville in 2004 to attend the University of Florida and never left! Both Chi Alpha and Greenhouse Church profoundly impacted her walk with Jesus, teaching her to live out her faith passionately and in the community. Priscilla longs to see families and children radically changed by Jesus and equipped to walk out their faith in everyday life. Priscilla, her amazing hubby Ken, and their three kiddos enjoy visiting state parks, playing board games, and living life with their friends and family!
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.
Steve has 20 years experience as a Worship leader in North Central Florida. His musical style ranges from Gospel, Contemporary, Rock and Smooth Jazz. His influences in worship music are Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, Tye Tribbett, Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Planet Shakers, etc. He is very passionate about being a disciple of Jesus, leading the body of Christ into true Worship and equipping and raising up Worship leaders. He came here in 2007 and oversees Greenhouse Worship. He is married to Sara, and they have three children; Zoe, Noah, and Micah.
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.
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!
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.
Peyton was born in Searcy, AR, and moved to Gainesville in 2018 to study graphic design at UF. Peyton has been attending Greenhouse since his freshman year and joined the staff as a graphic design intern in May 2021. Peyton has a passion for sharing the gospel through design and visual communication. He is a fan of the Denver Broncos and is a passionate advocate for pineapple on pizza.
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.
David and Missi Lower have been married for 20 years and have 5 wonderful children aging from 18 to 10 years old. They are: Zachariah, Caleb, Luke, Aaron, and Sarah. They have been active members at Greenhouse Church (formerly First Assembly) in Gainesville for over 10 years. Over the years we have served in youth ministry, as area directors of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an elder, and led different home groups. David has previously served as a deacon, ending a three-year term two years ago, and is looking forward to returning. Currently, the Lowers co-lead a microchurch with Rusty and Mildred Russell. By occupation, David is a physical therapist and owns Gainesville Physical Therapy & Wellness. It is our passion to help couples and individuals live lives of faith in Christ and to walk in victory over their circumstances.