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.

Chris Gilliam
Interim Director for Worship & Arts

In addition to his work at St. John's, North Carolina native Chris Gilliam is the Director of Choral Activities at Davidson College.  Prior to his appointment at Davidson, he served as tenured Associate Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Voice at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.There, he taught undergraduate and graduate voice, choral arranging, conducted three choirs, and was the Artistic Director of the annual Christmas Gala.  While in Louisiana, Chris also enjoyed serving as Director of the Chancel Choir at the First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches.

Chris has enjoyed being actively engaged as a choral clinician and judge, and as a baritone soloist.  He and his choirs have appeared in state ACDA and LMEA conventions, and have toured nationally as well as internationally throughout Spain, England, Hungary, France, Germany, Switzerland and in many locations of Eastern Europe. 

Chris has sung with several professional choral ensembles, among them the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, in which he is a founding member and frequent soloist, and the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorale under the direction of Dale Warland.  As a composer, Chris has vocal solos and choral octavos in the catalogues of three publishers: Alliance Music, Beckenhorst Press, and SoundForth (a division of Lorenz).

Chuch music has always been a valued part of Chris's life, as he grew up singing and playing the piano and organ in church every Sunday.  He strongly believes that the academic pursuit of music helps to inform and strengthen the spiritual goals of music within the church.  In the words of J.S. Bach: "I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music," and "The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul."

Andrew Pester
Interim Organist

Andrew Pester is a musicologist, organist, and harpsichordist. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, he holds degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University. In addition, he holds graduate degrees in religion and musicology from Yale and Duke University, respectively. As a musicologist, Andrew specializes in music of the French Third Republic. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Duke where he is writing his dissertation, “L’Orgue fantastique: Imagination in the Organ Lofts of Paris, 1918-1939,” on extra-musical imagination in French organ music between the two world wars.

Andrew has given recitals in prominent venues throughout the United States. In addition to concertizing, he especially enjoys collaborative pursuits in performance. He served as continuo organist for Duke’s performance of the Monteverdi Vespers at Duke Chapel in collaboration with the renowned renaissance wind band, Piffaro. In October he will play the solo organ part in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms as part of Duke’s year-long celebration of the newly renovated Baldwin Auditorium.

Andrew is married to concert organist Dongho Lee, who maintains a busy concert career while serving as Associate Director of Music and principal organist at Christ Church, Episcopal, in Myers Park. In his free time, he enjoys golf, tennis, and slowly wandering through art galleries.

Administrative & Support Staff

Peggy Harrison
Administrative Assistant

Wayne Harrison
Interim Business Administrator

Floarea Secere

Steve Taylor
Building Superintendent


Open Position:

Worship and Musical Arts Ministry Team
Position Description
St. John’s Baptist church, an ecumenical, theologically progressive congregation, located in the center city of Charlotte, NC, is seeking to fill positions on a worship and musical arts ministry team. We offer our worship of God through a variety of classical and creative expressions accompanied by our full Letourneau pipe organ. To request further information or to apply, please contact us at sjbcsearch@gmail.com