Staff

Matt Stone - Pastor

Staff Image Matt

Matt was appointed as Dayspring’s pastor after serving in the United Methodist church for 8 years in Dallas, Kansas and Houston.  After leaving Tyler as a proud graduate of the second grade at Andy Woods Elementary, Matt graduated from high school in Beaumont, TX before attending The University of Texas.  Having received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Religious Studies (and an utterly useful minor in French), Matt attended seminary at Southern Methodist University where he received a Master of Divinity.

Matt met his wife, Margaret, in Perkins Chapel on SMU's campus where they were married 2 years later in 2007. She is a constant source of encouragement and blessing, without whom Matt would be lost! Margaret and Matt have two children: Charlotte who was born in 2010 and her brother Jackson, who was born 14 months (!!) later. They challenge and bless their parents daily in ways they never dreamed possible!

In the words of his close friend, Matt is passionate about Wesleyan expressions of faith that hold together the ideas of personal faith and social responsibility.  We live the gospel most fully when we pay attention to both our relationship with Christ AND our call to love the world in ways that bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.

Contact Pastor Matt

Aaron Laird - Director of Worship and Creative Arts

Staff Photo - Aaron LairdPsalm 40:3 says: "And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord."

As our worship leader, it is my goal that we see our portion of the body of Christ (Dayspring) empowered to worship God in spirit and in truth, with freedom, and in awe of who He is, and what He has done and can do in our lives. Through this, Dayspring UMC will fulfill Psalm 40:3 in Tyler Texas.

This is much more than what we do on Sunday morning. Our lives should reflect God's truth throughout the week, as well. Dayspring has been blessed with a gifted worship team, and I ask each of them to consider their part in the service a 'gift' rather than a talent. The word 'talent' suggests that the music is something of us, rather than something given by God. Throughout scripture, God asks us to use our gifts for his glory. When this is our vision, it is then truly God's work.

Aaron and Tara were married in 2002. They have two boys - Avery and Landon. Tara is a full time wife and mother. Aaron loves to fish and is constantly in search of a new place to hunt. He earned his B.S. degree in Kinesiology from East Texas Baptist University.

Jeff Sparks - Director of Student Ministries

Staff photo jeff sparks - Jeff Sparks, Youth DirectorAs Dayspring’s Youth Director it is my goal to facilitate a welcoming community for students to mature in their Christian faith and empower future leaders of the Church. I was “called” to this position later in life (ask me to tell you the story some time). With college degrees in wildlife management and forestry and 20 years managing both wildfires and controlled burns, this role was never on my radar. Since 1998 I have worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department managing wildland fire operations on Texas State Parks. Sounds like two drastically different lives! But, God has allowed the two to mesh together very well, and it is truly a blessing working with the Dayspring youth and their families.

Jeff and his wife Jennifer have been married since 1994 and have two daughters, Madelyn and Emma. Jeff loves anything and everything about the outdoors and especially loves spending time with family and friends camping, hiking, fishing and hunting.

Esther Brown - Director of Children's Ministries

As Director of Children’s Ministries, it is my hope that all kids who come to church will connect to God and each other, grow in faith and Biblical understanding, and learn to love God by serving others. I love being with kids and watching them learn that God loves them and has a unique purpose for their life. It is my desire that every child will feel welcomed, wanted and loved when they come to Dayspring, and that they will have fun! I have been director since January 2015 and am thankful every day that I get to utilize my passions to serve the kids and families of Dayspring.

Our worship on Sunday morning includes curriculum that is age-appropriate and engaging, volunteers that are inspiring and activities that are meaningful. Our special events, such as Vacation Bible School and Parent’s Night Out, allows our kids to get to know one another and fosters a sense of belonging within the church community.
 
Esther and her husband, Paul, were married in 2010, and they have one son, Samuel. Esther enjoys spending time with family, baking sweet treats, traveling and hiking. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston.

Pete Aubin - Director of Small Groups and Serving

Staff photo jeff sparks - Jeff Sparks, Youth DirectorRomans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

As the Director of Small Groups and Serving, I see my role as one who seeks to help people find a way to connect with each other, grow in their relationship with the Lord, and love others as Christ loves us. Here at Dayspring we feel that the foundational elements for small groups, found in Acts 2:41-47, are keys to helping us to find the healthy community most of us seek and all of us need.

Small groups are much more than getting together to discuss a particular bible passage or glean insights from great books, they are also about finding a community of believers that can challenge you, affirm you, support you, and even hold you accountable with fellowship and service also being vital parts of each group’s makeup.

I believe we are blessed here at Dayspring to have, in our DNA, the mindset that we are a “church of small groups” and not “a church with small groups.” The difference being that everything we do involves groups of people who seek to connect, grow and love. Since we are the “body of Christ” it is our mandate to help create opportunities for people to find meaning and purpose though community and connection.

Pete and Sharon have been married for more than 35 years. They have two sons – Stephen and Mathew. Pete loves to teach, loves spending time with his family and is an avid sports fan. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Tampa and has ministered in the United Methodist Church for more than 30 years.

Christine Michaelson - Administrative Assistant

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
 
I absolutely love that God had placed me in this position at Dayspring UMC to serve Him. I have always enjoyed taking care of others and organizing where I can. I believe in always leaving a place better than when than when you arrived and putting others above yourself. It is great to get to work with such a wonderful staff and church!
 
Christine and her husband Manly met at Texas A&M University. They married in 2012 after Christine received her bachelor’s of science in Kinesiology. They spent some of their early years of marriage living in North Alabama, but are glad to call Texas home again. They have two pet dogs, Charlie and Blue. Christine enjoys relaxing outside, flower arranging for friends, and spending with her family here in Tyler. 

Kenny Rigsby - Graphic Design

Kenny Rigsby is the co-founder and Executive Director of For The Silent, a non-profit organization fighting child sex trafficking and exploitation in east Texas through prevention, intervention and community mobilization. 
 
Kenny was born and raised in East Texas and graduated Lindale high school in 1999. After high school he attended a Discipleship Training School under Youth With A Mission and afterward served multiple non-profit organizations in Tibet, China, West Africa and Peru. He and his wife Julie were married in 2004 and two years later they founded For The Silent and became full time co-directors. Kenny has a BA in Childhood Education from the University of Texas in Tyler and in his spare time creates short films and enjoys traveling, camping and exploring the unknown.