300 Hawthorne Lane | Charlotte NC 28204 | 704-333-5428
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St. John's has a talented staff that is dedicated to serving the Lord through serving our church.

Ministerial Team

Dennis Foust
Senior Minister

Dennis Foust became Senior Minister of St. John’s in August, 2011. He has served congregations, as both a pastor and an associate pastor, in Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; Chattanooga, TN; San Antonio, TX; and Louisville, KY.

Born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Dennis’ family lineage traces to Alamance County, NC in the early 1700s. The oldest child of a Baptist pastor, Dennis grew up in western Kentucky, southern Indiana, Little Rock, Arkansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Majoring in religion at Oakland City University, he focused in the areas of biblical studies, theological foundations and pastoral leadership. While earning his masters and doctorate, at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he studied congregational life and leadership.

Dennis has served in numerous roles of Baptist, ecumenical and community leadership. He has traveled the nation exploring interfaith initiatives and the impact of increased religious pluralism. He is committed to helping Baptists live by the historic principles of congregational autonomy, religious freedom, Church-State separation and soul competence. He has written extensively in the areas of Bible study and the missional church and offered contributions to books and periodicals to help adults apply Christian principles to life issues such as peacemaking and ministry in daily life. He has spoken in congregations in twenty states and was the founding design editor for Formations for Adults, a spiritual formation resource for adults.

He enjoys reading, writing, mentoring young leaders and golf. A big baseball fan, he has watched baseball games in twenty-seven of the thirty major league stadiums. His wife, Paula, is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is a professional in the area of senior adult services. They are parents of three young adult children, Nathan, Rachael, and Caleb.

Lee Gray
Minister for Youth and Young Adults

Lee, a native Charlottean, grew up in Providence Baptist Church. He has a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University. He came to St. John’s as an intern in 1997. Upon completing his internship, he received his M.Div. degree from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA and came on the full time ministerial staff. He has two sons, Warren and Wilson.

Lee enjoys playing basketball, skiing, rafting, reading and time with his two sons.


Martha Kearse
Associate Minister

Martha grew up in Virginia, where she attended The College of William and Mary, receiving a

B.A. in English/Education. She moved to Charlotte in 1985, teaching in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg School system until 1997. During her time with CMS, she completed her M.A. in English at UNCC. She joined the St. John’s ministerial staff in 2001 and completed her M.Div. degree at Gardner-Webb University Divinity School in 2007. She and her husband, Monty, have three children – Mattie, Conner and Anna Frances.

Martha is an avid reader and enjoys various book clubs and talking about literature. She likes movies, watching “Modern Family” with her kids, traveling with her family in the minivan. She would rather live in the mountains, but likes the beach, too.

Allison Benfield
Minister for Children and Their Families

Allison grew up in Morganton, NC where she volunteered extensively with children's ministries at First Baptist Church. While earning her degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Media Studies and Production from UNC-Chapel Hill, she also served as a children's ministry intern at University Baptist Church.

Allison graduated with a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Christian Education from Gardner-Webb University in May 2014. Prior to moving to Charlotte to serve St. John's, she was the Children's Minister at Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Shelby, NC

In her free time, Allison enjoys traveling, whether to the mountains of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to cheer for the Tar Heels, or to far away places like Germany and Israel. She also enjoys dancing, puppetry, and watching a good movie.

James Kevin Gray
Minister for Worship and Music

James Kevin Gray is a native South Carolinian, born in Westminster in 1976. He is a graduate of Winthrop University, where he studied under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Edgerton. Kevin has taught as a chorus teacher on the middle, junior and senior high school level as well as on the collegiate level as the director of the Winthrop University Jazz Voices. Kevin is a published composer and has composed music for various high school choirs as well as for many choral societies throughout the Carolinas and nation.

In November of 2010 he had the honor of being the first clinician to lead music for Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia's first Northeast Fireside Conference in Delaware. He was also named director for fraternity’s National Leadership Institute Conference in 2011.

For his participation in the planning and musical presentations for the 2012 International Council of Community Churches National Conference he was named Layman of the Year, and in February of 2013 Kevin was named director of the Charlotte Chorale in Charlotte, NC.

Kevin has been in full time church ministry since 2003 and resides in the nearby town of Rock Hill, SC with his wife Alison and son Mason.

Noel Lance

Noel is a Native of Florence, SC and became a Charlotte resident in 2003.  

In 1999, Noel received his Bachelor of Music Education from Anderson University in Anderson, SC. Shortly after, he attended Converse College in Spartanburg, SC to begin graduate work in Music Education. While at Converse, he held a graduate assistantship in Piano Accompanying.

With over 25 years of church music experience, Noel has served as Assistant Organist at First Baptist-Florence, SC; Director of Music Ministries/Organist at St. Matthew United Methodist Church-Greenville, SC; Organist at First Baptist-Monroe, NC; and most recently, Organist at Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church-Charlotte, NC.

In addition to his weeky church music responsibilites, Noel is busy beautifying the Charlotte community as a hair stylist at Borealis Salon (Midtown/Dilworth).

For fun, Noel enjoys trips to the beach, hikes in the mountains, morning sessions at the gym, snow skiing, trail riding, dining out, and attending concerts/musicals/plays in the Charlotte Metro area.

Sandy Holland
Graded Choir Director

Administrative & Support Staff

Jacquelyn McAbee
Administrative Assistant

Sandra Rogers
Church Administrator

Elaine Johnson
Church Accountant

Steve Taylor
Building Superintent

Floarea Secere


Awrin Ali