Russ Dean, Co-pastor
Park Road Baptist Church
Amy and I began working in the church in a shared position, a part-youth ministry position at First Baptist Church in Laurens, SC. From that time I think we just knew that our calling was to work together in ministry. In our first full-time positions, she worked with college students and single adults, I worked with youth and senior adults – but we always did our best work when I was helping her or she was sharing a program with me.
So the call from Park Road in the summer of 2000, offering us an opportunity to share the pastoral role, was really an answer to a quiet prayer we had been praying for 14 years. I cannot imagine doing ministry in any other way.
As a first-grader, when all the other little boys were planning to be firemen, army generals or professional football players, I wanted to be a preacher, “like my daddy.” Though I had other career ideas along the way, the calling of ministry has never been far from my mind, and nearly every day, something I do affirms that this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life. Being a pastor is the best job in the world. I really mean that. People invite me into the most important, most difficult, most sacred moments of their lives (births, deaths, weddings, baptisms) and I write and speak and interact and engage people on issues that are vitally significant to their lives and to our world. The calling is a challenge – and an honor that I do not take for granted.
There is a different character to the life of Park Road Baptist Church. It’s hard to characterize, but there is an openness around theological issues, an acceptance and inclusion of people that is refreshing. I love the size of Park Road, which is large enough to provide many of the programs much larger churches offer, but small enough that you can get to know everyone!
I hope that Park Road will continue to offer a voice for justice and to speak on important issues of the day, to be an alternative to the voice of The Church that many people hear as judgmental and narrow.
Before serving at Park Road, I was the Minister of Youth and Senior Adults at First Baptist Church, Clemson, SC, and the Associate Pastor at Mountain Brook Baptist in Birmingham, AL. I spent my college years and two full-time working years in the personal computer retail market, in repair and installation of software and hardware, and had nine years of summer camp experience as a counsellor and administrator.
I am a musician, a trumpet player has-been, and jazz pianist wannabe! I enjoy wood work, writing, basketball and tennis, hiking and camping, and my favorite past time is water skiing, especially slalom and barefoot skiing. Amy’s and my favorite hobby, though, is our boys – watching Jackson and Bennett play baseball, or spending time with them, traveling and in any adventures we can fit into the schedule!
Clinton High School, Furman University (BA, Religion), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div, Communications), Besson Divinity School (D.Min., Communications).
Amy Jacks Dean, Co-Pastor
Park Road Baptist Church
In October of 2000, Russ and I arrived in Charlotte with a two-year old son on my hip and a four year old son holding my hand. With those first few steps, Russ and I started on the next - and most rewarding - step in our ministerial career in shared ministry.
Shared Pastoral Leadership and Shared Parental Leadership. And for the past15 years at Park Road, this model has worked for us. Together, we have found a sense of home in Charlotte and a sense of extended family at Park Road Baptist Church.
I graduated from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC with a major in Elementary Education, but by the time I finished college, I was already married and we were working together in a part-time ministry position at First Baptist Church in Laurens, SC. While Russ had always sensed a call to ministry as a vocation, I assumed I would teach school and have a family. But once I began to work in the church, I also began to have a sense of a calling into vocational ministry.
I completed my Master of Divinity in Louisville, KY, and from there went on to work as the Minister of College Students and Single Adults at First Baptist Church, Clemson, SC. I also served as an interim Campus Minister at Samford University in Birmingham, AL and as an interim Associate Pastor at Riverchase Baptist Church in Birmingham as well. Those formative Alabama years also included directing the Christian Women’s Job Corps initiative that worked to help women move from dependency to self-sufficiency. These part time and interim jobs kept my hand in important ministry while still allowing me to spend quality time with our then very young family.
Throughout those hectic early years of our marriage and young family, however, Russ and I nurtured a shared dream to Pastor a church – together. Thankfully, the wonderful folks at Park Road Baptist Church took that risk at a time when few churches could envision Shared Pastoral Ministry.
And we are forever grateful.
I believe that Park Road has been the perfect fit for our gifts in ministry. The church has offered just the right challenge and more than enough support to help us grow in our own callings. Hopefully, we have provided the same support and opportunity for growth for the members of the church in return. Together, we have all worked hard to build an active, caring, and progressive church community here in Charlotte.
When I’m not being a Pastor, you will likely find me knitting at a ballpark watching our teenage sons play baseball. Or you might find me cooking, camping, hiking, or on the lake skiing.