AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT WITH OTHER CHRISTIAN MEN, LEARN FROM QUALITY SPEAKERS AND APPLY BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE.

Connect

The Gathering Lunch Series is a place for men to connect with other Christian men in a non-threatening environment for fellowship and substance.

Our Lunch Series is held at Fellowship Hall on the campus of 1st Presbyterian Church in downtown Orlando. Even though we have always held our lunches at 1st Pres., The Gathering is a non-denominational men's ministry.

We host five Series throughout the year in January, March, May, September and November. Each series consists of four or five consecutive Tuesday lunches from 12 - 1 PM and the cost is $10.

Learn

The Lunch Series is an opportunity to hear and learn from some of Orlando's highest-quality speakers

  • Pete Alwinson

    Senior Pastor

    Willow Creek Presbyterian Church

  • John Tolson

    Founder

    The Gathering

  • Jeff Jakes

    Senior Pastor

    Orangewood Presbyterian Church

  • Steve Brown

    Director

    Key Life Ministries

  • Doug Holladay

    Partner

    Park Avenue Equity

  • Ron Peri

    Founder & CEO

    Radixx International

  • David Uth

    Senior Pastor

    1st Baptist Church Orlando

  • David Swanson

    Senior Pastor

    1st Presbyterian Church Orlando

  • John Morgan

     

    George Bush Impersonator

  • Joel Hunter

    Senior Pastor

    Northland Church

  • Eddy Moratin

    Director

    Lift Orlando

  • Mike Adkins

    Senior Pastor

    Grace Fellowship Church

Apply

Finally, the application of these biblical principles in your life will lead to a greater relationship with God, a better homelife and fuller relationships with others. This application can also mean inviting your friends and using this lunch series as your personal outreach opportunity.

John Cortines - January 10

COO - Generous Giving

John Cortines serves as Chief Operating Officer at Generous Giving, a Christian non-profit which seeks to spread the biblical message of generosity among those entrusted with much. In his current role he oversees general operations and strategy for the ministry. A native of North Texas, John began his career as a Petroleum Engineer, spending time everywhere from the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, to the offshore platforms of the Gulf of Mexico. While at Harvard Business School, John began a journey of discovery on the intersection of faith and wealth which culminated in a decision to leave behind a lucrative post-MBA job to work, speak, and write full-time on generosity.

John is coauthor of God and Money – How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School, which sold over 20,000 copies in its first year. John has contributed to national media outlets including Moody Radio, NY Daily News, and RELEVANT Magazine, and speaks regularly at large churches and conferences around the country. He has arranged and led generosity retreats for students at business and law programs at schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Yale, and many others.

John's greatest blessing in life comes from being married to his beautiful and gracious wife, Megan, and sharing in the joy of their two young children, Jack and Anna. John holds degrees from Harvard Business School (MBA, 2015), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia (MS Geophysics, 2011), and Texas A&M University (BS Chemical Engineering, 2010).

Blair Pippin - January 17

Associate Director - Florida Abolitionist

Blair is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he also served as a campus minister for several years. After moving to Florida to continue his ministry in 2007, his wife made him aware of the atrocity of human trafficking. While it struck a cord with him, at the time he thought, "I'd love to do something to stop it but what can I do? I'm not a lawyer, police officer, or social worker." After a few years passed, he considered the things that he is passionate about and human trafficking kept coming to mind. At that moment, God's Spirit spoke to his heart and asked, "What are you doing about it?" His answer was, "Nothing." For him, compassion must lead to action. That's when he found Florida Abolitionist.

Blair loves to help others find practical ways to be involved. He believes that we can all do something to join in the fight against human trafficking. None of us should be stuck feeling like he did, with a desire to help, but no way to do it. That's why he began serving as the volunteer coordinator. Over time his volunteer role grew to a full-time capacity and he now serves as the Associate Director.

When he has free time, you'll often find him spending time with his family, running, swimming, or cheering for the Hokies.

Ron Peri - January 24

CEO - Radixx

Ron was born in Manhattan, and grew up in Madison, New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. After college, he joined IBM in systems and marketing of mainframe computers. In 1975, he left IBM to pursue full time ministry. He graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary with an M. Div. in 1978 and subsequently pastored a church until 1985. In that year, he started a consulting business, Computer Support of North America, that grew to be a major installer of Local Area Networks in the United States. He has since started two other businesses and is currently CEO of Radixx International, Inc. which provides reservations systems and hosting services to thirty airlines on five continents.

Ron speaks extensively to Bible studies, retreats, churches, and other groups. He is particularly active with ministries reaching businessmen. In 1981, he participated in starting a new interdenominational seminary in New Jersey (first in 140 years), Regional Seminary of the Northeast. Ron was president of Regional Seminary from 1981 until 1989.

Michael Waldrop - January 31

CEO - Blue Cord Design & Construction

Michael Waldrop is a Central Florida resident and former US Army Infantry Captain who commanded an Afghanistan National Army Rifle Company in all major combat operations from summer 2006 to spring of 2007 in southern Afghanistan. He was wounded in 2006 while storming an insurgent compound and is a recipient of the Purple Heart. Mr. Waldrop was awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor in combat operations which represents the Army's fourth highest commendation for valor.

Mr. Waldrop is Chairman of Mayor Buddy Dyer's Veteran's Advisory Council. He also founded the Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses, a chamber of commerce for veteran-owned small businesses and has grown steadily since its creation in 2012.

Mr. Waldrop is the CEO and President of Blue Cord Design & Construction, an Orlando-based construction firm he founded in 2008. He has built a business with and in service to the veteran community.

Michael and his wife Marnie co-founded the Camaraderie Foundation in 2009. Camaraderie is a non-profit serving military families and veterans by providing mental health support and spiritual counseling to help veterans adjust to home and civilian life after the battlefield. The focus of the organization is to help heal service members and their families from the invisible wounds of war.

While deployed in Afghanistan, Waldrop developed a concept that he presented to local legislators to exempt property taxes for future service members serving away from home in a combat zone. Mr. Waldrop led the subsequent state-wide initiative which passed in November 2010 and resulted in a $15 million tax break for Florida families serving in combat zones.

Michael lives in Orlando with his wife Marnie and children Tommy and Marilyn.

Honors and Awards

  • * Veteran's Champion, Orlando Business Journal Veterans of Influence Awards , 2016
  • * Everyday Hero, Central Florida News 13, 2015
  • * First Annual Veterans of Influence Award, Orlando Business Journal, 2014
  • * First Annual Spirit of America Award, Orlando Business Journal, 2014
  • * Bronze Star for Valor, 08 July 2006, Afghanistan
  • * Bronze Star for Valor, 13 November 2006, Afghanistan
  • * Purple Heart

Groups and Associations

  • * Camaraderie Foundation, Inc. 501(c)3, Co-Founder, Board Member
  • * Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses, Founder and Chairman
  • * Mayor's Veterans Advisory Council, Chairman
  • * First Presbyterian Church of Orlando
  • Military Expierience

    • US Army Infantry Captain, Company Commander 2005-2007

Derrick McRae - March 7

Pastor - Experience Christian Center

Pastor Derrick L. McRae, hails from the humble origins of Avon Park, Florida, currently serves as the Senior Pastor of The Experience Christian Center in Orlando, FL. He is a young man of strength and integrity, and is the son of the late Eugene V. Glenn and Deitrice Glenn. Pastor McRae grew up enjoying church and became an active participant at an early age, serving as the church drummer by the age of five. Since then, he has continued to be an active presence in the worship service.

In 1993 Pastor McRae graduated from West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida, then headed for Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida. A life filled with an array of ups and downs, successes and failures, Pastor McRae learned to trust in the Lord with all of his heart. He has been blessed with a creative, yet energetic style of communicating the gospel to the young as well as the seasoned. His favorite scripture is Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Pastor McRae accepted his call to ministry in 1998 and was licensed under the Church of God in Christ in 1999.

On December 31, 2009 Pastor McRae started The Experience Christian Center. In a short period of time God has proven himself through this ministry. The Experience Christian Center is one of Central Florida's fastest growing ministries, with a focus on the family, outreach, youth development, performing arts and worship EXPERIENCES!

Pastor Derrick is the loving husband of Taja C. McRae and they have two sons, Brailon and Derrick II and one daughter, Ms. Kayla.

John Decker - March 14

Golf Teaching Pro/Author

Author for the book "Golf Is My Life: Glorifying God Through the Game."

Motivational Speaker for "Celebrate Sports Tour Foundation"

Formally

  • Director of Instruction for the New Albany Country Club, New Albany Ohio (10 yrs)
  • Head Instructor for the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, Orlando, FL (20 yrs)
  • Taught players on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and other mini tours
  • Taught at the PGA Championship (4 years)
  • Taught at the Women's U.S. Open (2007)
  • Played on the Florida Mini Tours
  • 1990 graduate from East Carolina University

Kent Sterchi - March 21

Marriage of 33 Years

Born and raised in Orlando, Kent Sterchi joined First Presbyterian Church in 1970. His family has a long legacy with FPCO, as he is a 5th generation member. He has been married to his wife, Michelle for 28 years. They have two children, Lindsay, and John, and two grandchildren Avery and Lucas. Kent has served as the Director of Life Communities at FPCO since 2008. He has also been active with HOCF since the early 90's. He provides pre-marital preparation counseling and has a growing desire to help young couples establish a biblical foundation. Kent frequently helps to lead mission trips to the Dominican Republic and has served on the Mission Emmanuel Board since 1992.

Ron Peri - March 28

CEO - Radixx

Ron was born in Manhattan, and grew up in Madison, New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. After college, he joined IBM in systems and marketing of mainframe computers. In 1975, he left IBM to pursue full time ministry. He graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary with an M. Div. in 1978 and subsequently pastored a church until 1985. In that year, he started a consulting business, Computer Support of North America, that grew to be a major installer of Local Area Networks in the United States. He has since started two other businesses and is currently CEO of Radixx International, Inc. which provides reservations systems and hosting services to thirty airlines on five continents.

Ron speaks extensively to Bible studies, retreats, churches, and other groups. He is particularly active with ministries reaching businessmen. In 1981, he participated in starting a new interdenominational seminary in New Jersey (first in 140 years), Regional Seminary of the Northeast. Ron was president of Regional Seminary from 1981 until 1989.

David Swanson - May 2

Senior Pastor - First Presbyterian Church Orlando

The Rev. Dr. David D. Swanson is the Senior Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. Born and raised in Dallas, TX, Dr. Swanson received his Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Prior to his arrival in Orlando, he served two pastorates: the first in Signal Mountain, TN as an Associate for both youth ministry and discipleship; the second in Ft. Myers, FL as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. He and his wife, Leigh, have three children: John David, Alex, and Kaylee.

George Cope - May 16

Director - Vision Orlando

Dr. GEORGE COPE has served 42 years in the ministry, and pastored churches in various regions of the U.S, including an inner city church in Chicago and eight years at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, FL. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies, an M.A. and Doctor of Ministry  in Leadership. He has traveled the world preaching and teaching in over 49 countries. He was President of Zion Bible College in Rhode Island. He served on the pastoral board of Vision Orlando and joined Vision Orlando full-time as Pastoral Director in 2013.

John Sagherian - May 23

Regional Dir. - Youth for Christ Middle East & N. Africa

John Sagherian is an Armenian Lebanese, who was born in Cyprus but grew up in Lebanon.  His father was a pastor in the Armenian Evangelical Churches in Beirut.  John gave his life to Christ at an early age.

In 1971 John received his B.Sc. in Mathematics from the American University of Beirut.  As a student, he was mentored by the founder of Lebanon Youth For Christ, Leonard Rodgers, and upon graduation John worked for Lebanon YFC full-time.  In 1974 he became the National Director of Lebanon YFC, a post he held for 36 years, until July 1, 2010.

John loves the Lord and young people, and wants to introduce them to each other.  As the YFC National Director in Lebanon, he led a youth choir, spoke in high school assemblies, directed clubs and summer camps, and led a staff, which in his last 10 years numbered between 10 and 20, mostly volunteers.  He trained and mentored youth leaders, including Maher el-Hajj, who followed in John’s footsteps and succeeded him as the National Director of Lebanon Youth for Christ.

Since 2010 John has been Regional Director for YFC/MENA (Middle East and North Africa).  He oversees work in Lebanon as well as Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, and Bahrain.  There is also a YFC presence in Tunis
ia.

John’s responsibilities include meeting with national directors and boards to encourage them and to help them set goals for their ministry, including ways to reach their goals.  He helps raise funds when needed.  He also assesses other countries in the region for possible pioneering of new ministries.  In the past few years he has led youth leadership training, both in countries where there is YFC ministry and in countries where there is not … yet.

Having been born and raised in the Middle East, John speaks Armenian, Arabic, and English and is familiar with the cultures and languages in the region he directs.

John also serves on the Board of Directors of Haigazian University in Beirut.  His other interests include reading, watching movies, playing basketball, listening to music and spending time with friends, especially family.

In 1978 John married Nancy, a missionary from Des Moines, Iowa, who was working in the YFC International headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.  They were best of friends and partners in the ministry until Nancy’s death in September 2011.

John and Nancy have two children: Thia, who is married and lives in Northern Ireland, and Jay, also married, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

Ryan Simmons - May 30

Marketing Director, Live Services at EA Sports

Ryan oversees live services marketing on world famous video games such as Madden NFL, NBA LIVE and Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR®. Most notably, Ryan has played a key leadership role in Madden NFL Mobile’s recent sky-rocketing path to the top of the top-grossing charts in the App Store and Google Play. Recently, Ryan has been busy building player loyalty programs, personalization and eSports marketing infrastructures for EA SPORTS™. He currently resides with his amazing wife in Orlando, FL and was born and raised in the backwoods of western Pennsylvania.

Brad Staton - July 11 "Do the Old Testament Laws Apply to Christians Today?"

Director - Heart of the City Foundation

Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Brad earned a BBA degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. After having served churches in various capacities in Savannah and Augusta, he went on to lay the groundwork for a new church plant in Florida. 

Brad began his ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando in March 2009 in the areas of pastoral care and 20's-30's ministry. In May 2011, he was appointed Executive Director of the Heart of the City Foundation, responsible for overseeing its donor-based grants and fund programs. Additionally, Brad is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. 

Brad and his wife Lindsey have three children: Beau, Sydney and Caroline.

Pete Alwinson - July 18 "The Satanic Underground"

Director - The Forge

Pete has been involved in developing men for over 30 years, helping guys come to understand who they are and how the Father is willing to invest Himself in developing them every day of their lives so that they can become the men He always intended them to be. His passion is to leave no man left behind on the battlefield of life but to encourage all men to grow in Christ and in turn, reach other men. Pete teaches how men grow by God's grace into godly men.

A Californian, Pete is the founding pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Winter Springs (Orlando), Florida, where he served for 26 years as Senior Pastor. He has served churches in California, Illinois, Connecticut and Florida. He is a graduate of Biola College in Communications, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div) and Reformed Theological Seminary (D. Min) in Oviedo, Florida. Pete was one of the first speakers to join the faculty of Man in the Mirror and is asked to fill in for Pat Morley on occasion at Man in the Mirror Bible Study in Winter Park, Florida. Currently he is on the Board of Man in the Mirror. Pete is an Adjunct Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Oviedo, Florida. He is on the Board of Key Life Network, the Bible teaching ministry of Dr. Steve Brown, and can be heard weekly on the Question and Answer segment with Steve each Friday. He now serves as Vice-President of Leadership and Men's Discipleship at Key Life Network.

Family is Pete's claim to fame. Married to Caron for 33 years, they have three children, Joel (and beloved daughter-in-law Aly), Jon (and beloved daughter-in-law Sandra) and Jessie. He knows he "married up" and loves to speak to men about his successes as well as his failures as a husband and dad. Pete's style combines openness, humor, great stories and strong Bible teaching as he easily connects with men.

Pete's hobbies are working out, hiking 14er's in Colorado, duck and gator hunting, scalloping and fishing with family.

Ron Peri - July 25 "Can you Believe Everything in the Bible?"

CEO - Radixx

Ron was born in Manhattan, and grew up in Madison, New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. After college, he joined IBM in systems and marketing of mainframe computers. In 1975, he left IBM to pursue full time ministry. He graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary with an M. Div. in 1978 and subsequently pastored a church until 1985. In that year, he started a consulting business, Computer Support of North America, that grew to be a major installer of Local Area Networks in the United States. He has since started two other businesses and is currently CEO of Radixx International, Inc. which provides reservations systems and hosting services to thirty airlines on five continents.

Ron speaks extensively to Bible studies, retreats, churches, and other groups. He is particularly active with ministries reaching businessmen. In 1981, he participated in starting a new interdenominational seminary in New Jersey (first in 140 years), Regional Seminary of the Northeast. Ron was president of Regional Seminary from 1981 until 1989.

Steve Brown - September 12 "The Silence of God"

Founder - Key Life Ministries

Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, seminary professor and author. He previously served as a pastor for over twenty-five years and now devotes much of his time to the radio broadcast, Key Life.

With such varied experience and unique perspective on life, Steve is an original. He refuses to be a "guru," doesn't want to be anyone's mother and gives, in his teaching, the freedom to think. Overall, Steve has become known for his refreshing and practical Biblical applications.

Steve serves as Professor of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He sits on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters and Harvest USA. Traveling extensively, Steve is a much-in-demand speaker.

Steve is the author of numerous books including Born Free, When Being Good Isn't Good Enough and When Your Rope Breaks. His articles appear in such magazines and journals as Leadership, Decision, Plain Truth and Today's Christian Woman.

Paul Maurer - September 19 "The Moral Leadership of the President of the United States"

President - Montreat College

Paul J. Maurer brings a wealth of experience as the eighth president of Montreat College. As a visionary and results-driven Christian leader, he believes deeply in the value of Christ-centered higher education. Drawing from more than 25 years of leadership in nonprofit and higher education administration, Dr. Maurer has led efforts in governance, organizational development, marketing and communications, adult and graduate studies, and government relations. Prior to Montreat College, Dr. Maurer served as senior vice president for external relations at Gordon College, and prior to Gordon, he served as president of Sterling College – both sister institutions to Montreat College within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He has spent nearly two decades in higher education leadership. He is a published author and frequent speaker. Dr. Maurer earned his Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University, where he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow and a John M. Olin Fellow. He earned his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. Maurer is a scholar of the American presidency, with specific expertise in the moral and religious rhetoric of U.S. presidents. He enjoys biking, golf, and almost anything outdoors. He has the special talent of cutting his own hair. Dr. Maurer and his wife, Joellen, have been married since 1989, and have four children: Jon, Liz, Daniel and Sarah.

Tanner Fox - September 26 "The Normalizing of Sin in America: Entertainment and Pornography"

Minister of Mission - First Pres Church Orlando

Tanner is the Minister of Ministry at First Presbyterian Church Orlando

Tanner attended Samford University in Birmingham, AL and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Religion. From there he went on to pursue a Master's in Divinity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Oviedo, FL.

Tanner Fox is a Florida native, born and raised in Lakeland. He now resides in Orlando, FL with his wife of nearly four years, Ashley, and their dog Sam.

Steve Brown - November 7 "The Silence of God"

Founder - Key Life Ministries

Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, seminary professor and author. He previously served as a pastor for over twenty-five years and now devotes much of his time to the radio broadcast, Key Life.

With such varied experience and unique perspective on life, Steve is an original. He refuses to be a "guru," doesn't want to be anyone's mother and gives, in his teaching, the freedom to think. Overall, Steve has become known for his refreshing and practical Biblical applications.

Steve serves as Professor of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He sits on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters and Harvest USA. Traveling extensively, Steve is a much-in-demand speaker.

Steve is the author of numerous books including Born Free, When Being Good Isn't Good Enough and When Your Rope Breaks. His articles appear in such magazines and journals as Leadership, Decision, Plain Truth and Today's Christian Woman.

Greg McNeill - November 14

Shareholder/General Council - Lowndes, Drosdick

Partner Greg McNeill is a trial attorney and leads the firm's Sports and Entertainment practice as well. His litigation practice includes business and real estate litigation, construction litigation, commercial landlord/tenant disputes, enforcement of non-competition, confidentiality and trade secret agreements, employment law, intellectual property, church property litigation and appellate practice. As a sports law attorney, he has represented athletes and coaches in the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, PGA Golf and other sports in team contract negotiations, endorsement contracts, name and image licensing agreements, book publishing opportunities and public appearances.

Greg is an experienced trial attorney with considerable courtroom experience in state and federal courts. He has successfully handled a wide variety of lawsuits, from defending the property of a local church from the efforts of its denomination to seize it to the defense of a $237 million dollar breach of contract claim in federal court.

Paul Ellis - November 21

CEO - Foundry Commercial

Paul serves as CEO of Foundry Commercial, bringing more than 27 years of commercial real estate brokerage, development, investment, and management experience.  As one of the founding members of Foundry, he and the team have grown the platform to 300 employees, serving clients across 12 offices and an investment platform that has completed over $700 million in investment and development joint ventures, including an active development pipeline of over 6 million square feet of industrial projects.

Prior to joining Foundry, Paul spent 15 years with Trammell Crow Company, most recently as Managing Director of North Florida. At Trammell Crow Company, he helped create the largest property management company in Florida and grew the division to become the company’s most profitable business unit in the region, with more than 35 million square feet under management and a full-service division of more than 200 people in three cities.


Matt Heard - November 28

Lead Teaching Pastor - Northland Church

Matt is a husband, father, and friend. He's also a pastor, speaker, writer, teacher, leader, and consultant. He has been involved in leadership and pastoral ministry for three decades and trying to figure out what it means to be a human being for a bit longer.

He is Lead Teaching Pastor for Northland Church and the Founder and Principal of THRIVE – a speaking, teaching, and consulting ministry that focuses on engaging men and women to be fully alive to the glory of God in every arena of their life, journey, and culture. His work with THRIVE includes roles such as speaking in a variety of churches, organizations, and conferences; consulting with leaders and ministries; coaching individuals and teams about the core components of what it means to flourish and thrive for God's glory and our fulfillment; and writing – he is the author of Life with a Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity and is beginning work on a second book.

Matt and his wife, Arlene, are the privileged parents of three amazing adult sons — Andrew, Joel, and Stephen — and a brand new and amazing daughter-in-law named Mary Rachel who is married to Joel. He and Arlene travel extensively and share their home base between Colorado Springs and Orlando.

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