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.

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Information

$10 | 12-1 PM | First Presbyterian Church - Fellowship Hall
106 E. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801

Friends Eat Free

Have you been looking for another reason to invite your friends to a Gathering Tuesday Lunch? Well, we've got a great one. "Friends eat Free" gives you a great opportunity to invite those that haven't been to our lunch in a while. If your friend hasn't been to a Gathering Lunch in over a year, then he eats free (you're on the "honor system" here). This is a great opportunity to get men to check out what The Gathering has to offer, benefit from a practical Christian message and enjoy a free lunch. What could be better?

Map

Click on the image below for a larger map

Lunch Series Sponsor

The Gathering would like to thank



Our 2016 Lunch Series sponsor.