Justin grew up in Texas, and attended Southern Methodist University, graduating in 2000 with a major in religious studies. He, too, was very active in SMU’s Wesley Foundation, and served as Associate Pastor at SMU’s Wesley Foundation from 2001 to 2003 as he began seminary studies at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. Justin transferred to Duke Divinity School in 2003, and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2005. Justin’s first clergy appointment was to University UMC, as an intern in 2004 and then as Associate Pastor from 2005 to 2007.
In 2007, Justin was called back to the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, where he is an elder, and was appointed Associate Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. For six years from 2008 to 2014, Justin served as the Executive and Lead Pastor of the Gethsemane Campus of St. Luke’s Church and led it through a remarkable period of growth in ministry and service to its community.
From 2014 to June 2017 Justin served as the Chief Ministry Officer of the United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time he has also continued to frequently offer lectures, sermons, and lead worship.
Justin and his wife Chaka live in Chapel Hill with their three sons, Zan, Max, and Lawson.
Executive Pastor of Outreach and Operations
Prior to becoming appointed to the University UMC family, Creighton served his first 18 years in ministry as a Campus Pastor at four universities: Southern Methodist University, The University of Kansas, University of Missouri - Kansas City and the University of Alabama. From there, he served as interim pastor at Harrah United Methodist Church in Harrah, OK. In 2017, he served as the Minister of Discipleship at Acts 2 UMC in Edmond, OK.
Creighton and Nikki have been married for 23 years, having met while attending Texas Tech University. They both graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1998. In July 2016, Creighton completed a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Kansas.
Creighton and Nikki have three children: Canon James (16), Eve Whitby (14) and Cosmo Seth (12). Nikki is a certified yoga instructor. Creighton has served as an Assistant Scout Master for Troop 4 in Ada, OK.
Pastor of Discipleship
Tobi grew up in nearby in Cary, within the church family of Saint Francis United Methodist Church. Following her family tradition, she attended Texas A&M University for her undergraduate degree graduating in 1998 with a degree in international studies and a focus in Latin America, and a minor in cultural anthropology. She was very active in Wesley Foundation on campus and served as the children’s pastor for a nearby Spanish-speaking church serving the Latino community in Bryan, Texas. For several years after graduation, Tobi ministered migrant farm workers in Florida and in Eastern North Carolina, and served as a social worker and community outreach director for families in need in Wake County.
"I have spent my life in the United Methodist Church in mission and discipleship, which has transformed our shared lives, communities, and world. Whether around dinner tables in homes, Communion tables in worship, or tables in the downtown soup kitchen, I am thankful for how the people of the United Methodist Church have shared and will continue to share the goodness of God's grace into my life and out to the world."
Tobi graduated from Duke University Divinity School in May 2017 with a Master of Divinity degree. Tobi is married to Jimmy Nguyen and they have two daughters, Kaeli and Lorelai.
Pastor of Youth Ministries and Congregational Care
Laura Isaac joined University UMC Staff as Director of Youth Ministry in August 2015. She is originally from Orange, CA and earned a B.A. in Psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and a Master of Divinity from Duke University in 2012. She has extensive experience in both youth ministry and hospital chaplaincy. She is on the Deacon track for ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. Laura currently lives with her husband, daughter, and two dogs in Durham.
Pastor of Church Planting
Daniel Childs grew up in Chapel Hill and was an active member of University UMC’s youth program. He began discerning a call to pastoral ministry during high school (but only after some tireless encouragement from a young pastor named Justin Coleman). Daniel graduated from NC State in 2010 and Duke Divinity School in 2014, before moving to Houston, TX where he was a pastor at St. Luke’s UMC and then Lakewood UMC. While serving in those congregations, Daniel developed a passion for working with young adults and young families to create practical ministries that help people fall ever more deeply in love with God and one another. In that context, Daniel also discerned a call to church planting. He feels called to create and lead a new church community that engages the churchless, rejoices in God’s unconditional love, blesses its neighborhood, and delights in living life with God.
Daniel lives in south Durham with his wife, Kirsten, and their baby boy, Caleb. They enjoy good food, working out, watching sports (Go Wolfpack!), reading, watching Netflix, hiking, playing with Caleb, and generally making each other laugh.