Dr. Michael Youssef, Founding Rector
Even before he was born, it was evident that God had a vision for Michael Amerhom Youssef. His mother was in poor health at the time she became pregnant with Michael, and because her life would be jeopardized by the birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion procedure was scheduled. But God intervened, and sent the family pastor to reassure them the night before the procedure was to take place that God was involved in this pregnancy, not to be afraid, and that this child would be “born to serve the Lord.” Michael’s parents accepted the pastor’s message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him surrender his life to the Lord in 1964 at age sixteen.
Believing that God was calling him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa at a time when no university student was permitted to hold a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously provided approval of his application. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a minister, and met and married his wife, Elizabeth.
The Youssefs came to America in 1977 and in 1978, Michael received a master’s degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He later earned a doctorate in social anthropology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Michael served for nearly ten years with the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and church leadership to church leaders. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a United States citizen, fulfilling a dream he had held for many years.
He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission to “Equip the Saints and Seek the Lost.” The church has since grown to a congregation of over 3000. This church on a hill was the launching pad for Leading the Way‘s international ministry. Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef passionately proclaims uncompromising Truth through radio and television programs, the Internet, and through books, periodicals, and other resources. Programs are translated and broadcast into 20 languages, covering more than 200 countries. This Atlanta-based organization partners internationally with in-country follow-up teams to encourage believers in their faith, helping God’s kingdom to grow around the world.
The path he has walked has given him a thorough cross-cultural understanding and a firm grasp of Scripture. He preaches, teaches and exhorts with a straightforward and uncompromising delivery, based on the authority of the inspired, infallible Word of God. His unique, firsthand understanding of the Holy Land, its history and culture, brings the Bible to life for listeners.
The Vestry consists of fifteen men elected by the church members to serve a three year term (five each year). These men are charged with the fiduciary responsibility of the property, business, and finances of the church. Each vestry member is assigned to one or more ministries to meet with the staff leaders to support them and pray for them.
The vestry meets monthly to pray and to review the finances and business of the church.
Charlie Baxter has been a member of Apostles for six years. Charlie has taught a STS Sunday school class for the past five years and currently serves as a Lay Eucharist Minister and as an Usher. He and his wife, Ashley, have six children. Charlie is a retired Commander from the United States Navel Reserve and is the Chief Credit Officer for Greystone, a commercial real estate firm.
Bunky Blalock has been a member of Apostles for 14 years. Bunky is a Lay Eucharist Minister, Stephen Minister, serves as a Greeter, has previously served on the Vestry, and hosts a Small Group. Bunky and his wife, Janice, have two sons and four granddaughters. Bunky is retired from a 40-year career at SunTrust Bank.
Chip Brookhart has been a member since 2001. Chip has served on the Vestry for two terms, as the Rector’s Warden and Treasurer. Chip currently serves as Lay Eucharist Minister, Usher, and teaches 6th Grade Boys Sunday School. He is also a founding member of Redeemer Day School and Metro Academics. Chip and his wife Virginia have four children. He is a Senior Vice President at SunTrust.
Rowland Cocks has been a member of Apostles for 16 years. He currently serves as a Lay Eucharist Minister and hosts two small groups at his home. He is a congregational prayer leader as well as the leader of the Communion Team. He has led Adult Bible Classes and Crown Financial Ministry classes. Rowland and Cindy have four children. He is a CPA and the CFO of Thee Fountain Companies, a company involved in real estate and health care.
Doug Craft has been a member of Apostles since 1995. Doug has served on the Vestry and as chairman of the Finance Committee. He is a Lay Eucharist Minister and a Prayer Leader, and he has served on the Music Search Committee and the Leading The Way board for more than 10 years. He is founder and CEO of Medicraft. He and his wife Trisha have three children.
Ian Daum has been a member of Apostles for 11 years. Ian currently serves as an Usher, Assistant Captain of the Communion team, Lay Eucharist Minister, and a Prayer Leader. Ian and his wife, Audrey, have two daughters and have served in the Children’s Ministry. Ian is the Director of Business Development for a local technology consulting firm, Sovereign Systems.
Stu Harvey grew up in England and has been a member of Apostles for 10 years. Stu is a Prayer Leader, Lay Eucharist Minister, usher, Sunday school class facilitator, and attends a men’s small group. Stu is Principal and actuary at Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, an HR consulting firm. Stu and his wife Stephanie have three children.
Tad Hutcheson has been a member of Apostles for 23 years. He currently serves as a Lay Eucharist Minister and Captain of the Third Sunday Communion Team, and he has served on the Vestry. Tad works in Marketing for Delta Air Lines, where he is responsible for Community Engagement. He and his wife, Janin, have a 16-month-old daughter.
Adam Langston has been a member of Apostles for 15 years. He currently serves as a Lay Eucharist Minister, small group co-leader, and an usher. He is also co-teaching a children’s Sunday school class with his wife. He has served as a Chalice Bearer and a discussion leader in adult Sunday school and Christianity Examined. Adam and his wife Brooke have two children. He is founder and CEO of Access Worldwide, an international shipping firm.
Ray Leatherman has been a member of Apostles for six and a half years. He currently serves as a Small Group leader, Greeter, Usher, and a Wednesday dinner volunteer, as well as other volunteer assignments at Apostles. After retiring from the Heiskell School, he began “Seeking His Kingdom Ministries”. He currently serves on the Redeemer Day School board and is the school’s chaplain. Ray has been married to Linda for 47 years.
Bruce Lowe has been member of Apostles for nine years. Bruce currently teaches an Adult Bible Class and hosts and leads a small group. He has also preached at Apostles on occasion. Bruce and Rachel have been married 23 years and have five children. He is a New Testament Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta.
Jason Maxwell has been a member of Apostles for 15 years. He currently serves as a Lay Eucharist Minister, Children’s Sunday School co-teacher, congregational prayer leader, and an usher. Jason has previously served as on the Vestry, Chalice Bearer, and small group leader. Jason and his wife Angela are parents of a 12-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. He is Managing Director and attorney with Regions Bank and Regions Securities
Steve Peterson has been attending Apostles for almost 25 years. Steve currently serves as a Lay Eucharist minister, Adult Bible Class teacher, and a congregational prayer leader, and he leads Next Generation Fraternity on Tuesday morning. Steve and Toria have four children. Steve is an attorney, practicing commercial real estate at McGuire Woods LLP.
Scott Swayze has been a member of COTA since 1988. He is a Prayer Leader and Lay Eucharist Minister. He is a previous Vestry member and Rector’s Warden, as well as former usher and Sunday school teacher. He is a physician and president of Pinnacle Orthopedics in Marietta and serves on the board of Wellstar Health System. He and his wife Carol have five children and soon-to-be two sons-in-law.
Tom Wilkes has been a member of Apostles for 15 years. He has taught Adult Bible Classes and children’s Sunday School. Tom also serves as a Lay Eucharist Minister and congregational prayer leader and has served on the Vestry in the past. He and his wife Elise have three adult children. Tom is a partner at Walton Communities.