My full name is John Christopher Leuck. I was born in Memphis, raised in Germantown/Collierville. My parents joined Grace Evan soon after she started, so I grew up in and around the children’s ministry and jr./sr. high youth ministries. I graduated from Houston High School in ’03, University of Tennessee in ’08. Though I spent many of my early years around Grace Evan, there was a period of about 7 years in my life where I was not only absent from the church, but also running full speed from God… in direct defiance of his holy character and his intentions for my life. Much like the life of the “prodigal son” in Luke chapter 15, those years were a chaotic mixture of whole-hearted rebellion, greed and pleasure, anger and frustration, success and failure, pain, spiritual longing, torment, and vast emptiness. I lived fast and hard… turning down almost every avenue available to me in an attempt to “find myself,” searching for my soul’s fulfillment. My efforts were foolish and ineffective. They included almost every kind of “big sin” you can imagine (some you can’t) and led to deep broken-heartedness with a dry, chapped, shriveled soul.
I was recently asked, “Have you always wanted to be a pastor?”
Not only did I never dream of becoming a pastor, but there was a time in my life where if you told many Christians around Memphis (especially Grace Evan) that I would one day shepherd God’s people, they certainly would have laughed at you and at least would have made sure not to get tangled up in whatever flock I was “pastoring.” But, God’s grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness. Jesus did not come for righteous people. He came to save sinners. I do not glory in my sin... I am not proud of much of my journey. However, I am amazed by God’s grace. I am humbled to the core by his love for me. I am the worst of sinners, but God has adopted me as His child into His kingdom. He has saved me for His purposes. No, I did not always think I would become a pastor, but now that I truly live, I live to serve Jesus Christ… He knew I would become a pastor and He has taken it on himself to shape me into becoming a good one.
Do not be fooled. My life is not a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” kind of story. Neither is it one that says “help yourself so God can help you”. God pursued me for a long time while I ran in every direction away from Him… because Jesus Christ died in my place. He pulled me up by the straps of his love and kindness. His grace alone is my hope and my help. All that is good in my life is evidence of the direct deposit of Christ into my heart and soul.
My wife is the former Tiffany Wade from Germantown. We were married in April ’09. The last two years (the first two of our marriage) were spent in Bay Saint Louis, MS where we worked with Lagniappe Church to rebuild the Katrina ravaged Mississippi Coast, both structurally and spiritually. With Lagniappe, I started an evangelistic high school ministry to the students of Bay Saint Louis. Tiffany and I are both delighted to be back home, especially to join the people of Grace.
We love the coast and will always miss Bay Saint Louis and the people of Lagniappe.
Here at Grace Evan, I serve as the Minister to Young Couples and Minister to Men. I teach a Sunday school class for young couples… on Sundays… at 10:55 in the Refuge, located across from the Youth Ministry offices in the building next to the gym. Come join us!