Our staff at Awake Ministries is devoted to serving individuals and families in the community. With hearts desiring to love and minister to others, this dedicated group of people works tirelessly to fulfill the call to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a hurting world.

2021 Board of Directors

  • Jonathan Hale


    Jonathan Hale respects the Christ-centered mission of Awake Ministries and counts it a privilege to volunteer, as he continues to see lives changed through the power of Jesus Christ. A Kentucky native, Jonathan is a business owner and civil engineer, operating a small consulting services He, his wife Ashley, and their five children live in Shelby County and attend Heritage Christian Fellowship.

  • Beth Watts


    Beth Watts is the Secondary Curriculum Specialist at Christian Academy School System and has been a high school teacher for 18 years. This calling has allowed her to live her passion of raising up the next generation of authentic believers and living a life of service to others. She has been married to Bill for 33 years and they have four adult children and eight grandchildren. After 24 years of military service that included 18 moves, Bill and Beth moved from Washington DC  to Shelby County in 2008. They actively seek ways to connect people to Jesus and to one another through small groups, mission trips and various ministries in the community. They are members of Southeast Christian Church.

  • Lee Murphy

    Board Member

    Lee Murphy has been part of the Board at Awake Ministries since 2014. A native of Shelby County, Lee is a local businessman and real estate agent with Torrey Smith Realtors. He is a firm believer in giving back to the community, and serves on the board for Habitat for Humanity as well. He, his wife Sarah, and their son reside in Shelbyville.

  • Kevin Goss


    When I crossed the threshold of the Open Door of Hope men’s house, I entered a broken man. I was longing to end a decades long drug addiction that had almost cost me everything. I knew God was real being delivered from an accident that left me paralyzed, but my relationship with the Lord was still distant. With a family at home and the weight of the world on my shoulders, I knew something had to change.
    Awake Ministries gave me the priceless opportunity to sit still and learn the Word of God through the Gospels. It changed my heart and my life forever. My starving soul received what it needed so desperately through the amazing people who poured life into me.
    I was given the chance to create the IOP program and oversee the men’s house after completing the program. It was an honor to help others as I was helped.
    Today, I am humbled to serve on the board of directors. It is my honor to continue to serve the place that changed the trajectory of my life, to keep spreading the Good News and to give hope to those who need it most. People like me.

  • Tammy Thomas


    Tammy Thomas is the Senior VP/Director of Affordable Housing at CUB Bank in Shelbyville. With a background in affordable housing for over 30 years, Tammy has a passion for helping others both in their physical needs and their spiritual. A native of Monticello (Wayne County), KY, Tammy and her family have lived in Shelbyville since 1990.  She and her husband Tony are active members of Simpsonville Baptist Church.  Their daughter, Madison, lives in Memphis and works as a teacher for special needs adults.

  • Jim Smith

    Board Member

    In addition to serving on the Awake Ministries’ Board, Jim Smith is a founding member of Open Door of Hope. Jim is a retired realtor and local businessman who stays active in community service. He serves as a deacon at Highland Baptist Church and in various positions in Shelby Baptist Association of Churches. He also serves on the North Shelby Water Company Board of Directors and on the Shelby County Suburban Fire District Board of Trustees. He and his wife Teresa have been married for fifty years and enjoy spoiling their eight grandchildren.

  • Joanna Lynch


    Joanna Lynch is the Director of Grants and Contracts at Jefferson Community and Technical College. With a broad knowledge of economic and community development, she has been instrumental in facilitating financial and other assistance to Awake Ministries. Joanna attends Southeast Christian Church where she is active in children’s ministry.

  • Carlen Pippin


    A native of Cookeville, Tennessee and a graduate of Tennessee Tech and The University of Tennessee, Carlen was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant  in the US Army Artillery Corps, serving a three year tour of duty in Germany and fifteen months in Vietnam. Graduating from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine, he practiced 31 years as a USDA Veterinary Medical Officer and a private practitioner for 24 years in Shelby County. He has served on the board of directors for the Shelby County Library, Shelby County and North Central District Health Departments, and currently serves as a member for A Place to Sleep.

    Upon retirement, he has volunteered at the Serenity Center and serves as co-chairman for the Veteran’s Rural Outreach, where he works tirelessly and passionately meeting veteran’s immediate and long term needs, specifically those who suffer from disabilities, homelessness, and substance abuse. His primary focus is the completion of the Veterans Village tiny home project and fundraising for the completion of the Veterans Community Center. “I feel that Awake Ministries is the heart and soul of this community and I love working with the staff and the men and women they serve in the recovery program.”


  • Marcia Mitchum

    Executive Director

    Marcia Mitchum has served in various capacities since joining the Awake Ministries staff in 2017 – Director of Women’s Housing, Director of Operations, and most recently being named Executive Director. She also sits on the stateside board of Acts Mission International, building U.S. partnerships and funding for the ministry of Acts Church in Port Maria, Jamaica. Marcia and her husband, Gary, attend Southeast Christian Church.

  • Stephanie Dillon

    Director of Fundraising and Public Relations

    Stephanie began volunteering at Awake Ministries in 2018 as a teacher and sponsor.  In 2020 she came on board as staff, helping implement a new program for partner management, communication, and fundraising.  Stephanie is the Stateside Director for an international missions organization, Acts Mission International, headquartered in St. Mary, Jamaica. She is an army veteran, army wife, navy mom, and also mom to twin 5 year old boys. Stephanie is passionate about stirring others to their identity in Jesus Christ.

  • Heather Banta

    Director of Women's Housing

    Heather Banta is a native of Henry county where she attended Henry County High school and also where she first met her husband – Chris Banta, the men’s director of Awake. Through her own trials in life, she was led to the Lord and has been called to help women deal with the same things she overcame by walking with the Lord. Heather is a member of Drennon Christian Church where she and her husband lead the young adult group and are members of the Drennon softball team. Heather also enjoys fishing, singing, and serving others.

  • Gerald Sebree

    Director of Food Distribution

    As a volunteer at our Serenity Center for over 13 years, Gerald also serves as a Lay Counselor for Awake Ministries. With more than 50 years of experience in manufacturing and human resources, his hard work and dedication are felt throughout our organization. Gerald is a member of Southeast Christian Church where he serves in numerous capacities.

  • Philip Nelson

    Director of Transitional Housing and Outpatient Services

    Although his life has taken him around the United States and to several countries around the world to serve the Church in varying capacities since 2005, Philip came to Kentucky in 2016 to further his training as a worker in the Lord’s harvest. By God’s gracious hand, he has led him to Shelbyville where he lives with his wife and son. His passion is to see Jesus Christ transform the lives of all people through preaching, teaching, and counseling from the Word of God. He is a member of Highland Baptist Church.

  • Chris Banta

    Director of Men's Housing

    Chris is a graduate of Henry County High School and attended Lindsey Wilson College. Through his own struggles with addiction, Chris’s passion has become helping others. He finds joy in being able to do that at Awake Ministries, the place where he found a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Chris is a member of Drennon Christian Church and is a part of the Emmaus community (walk 167).

  • Kevin Warford

    Ministry Assistant

    Kevin Warford served in various volunteer capacities at Awake Ministries before joining the team as a part-time Ministry Assistant. He retired from the Department of Juvenile Justice in 2016 after 38 years of state government service. Kevin serves as a  Bible study teacher and as Chairmen of the Deacons at Highland Baptist Church in Shelbyville. He shares life with his wonderful wife, Melinda (Lindy).

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Reach Us

Awake Ministries Building

MON - FRI: 8AM - 4PM