Who are the Shepherds?

The Shepherds are a team of respected men who provide spiritual direction for the Stones River Church family. They are recognized and honored by the congregation for having a lifestyle of mature, godly influence through their Christ-like examples of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

We, the Stones River family, love our shepherds and would like for you to meet them:

Ben Austin, David Brangenberg, Jerry Bryan, David Burgess, John King, Chuck Lee, Mike Randolph

Ben Austin

I was born on August 15, 1940 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and spent my childhood and early adulthood in Murfreesboro. I went to high school at Murfreesboro Central and to college at MTSU, Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, Tennessee, Harding Graduate School if Religion in Memphis, and graduate work at MTSU and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

From 1960 to 1973, I preached for several churches in Tennessee: Rogers Spring Church of Christ in west Tennessee (three years), Christiana Church of Christ (2 years), Sharpsville Church of Christ (5 years) and Lascassas Church of Christ (2 years).

From 1970 until my retirement in 2006, I was professor of Sociology at MTSU.

My lovely and talented wife, Diane, and I began attending Stones River church in 1998 and we have been a part of the Stones River family since that time.

I began serving as one of the shepherds at Stones River in 2009 and am greatly honored to serve my King and a family of his people in that capacity.

Chuck Lee

My name is Charles James Lee. I’m the husband of one wife, Linda for forty eight years. Linda and I have seven children who are the parents of ten others. Two more are in the oven as I write this brief biography.

We came to Tennessee in 1989 From Rochester New York. We were members of the Southside Church of Christ while living there. I worked with the General Motors Corporation and came to Tennessee as one of the pioneers of the Saturn Corporation.

We found permanent housing in Murfreesboro in May of 1990. We began our search for a church family and landed at Riverdale Church of Christ. It was there that I met John Magnuson as he became our worship minister. Shortly after we began to work together he was led to Stones River Church. The launch pad for John’s success in his ministry. Linda and I also home churched with the Winters as Linda cared for Jeff. During this period John asked me to join his three member group to lead a Sunday evening event at Stones River. I said yes and I’m still here. I’m in the same physical site but a totally different realm of spirituality.

I see Chuck the singer. God sees something else and has used this body(church) to raise me up in newness of life. He has placed me in the midst of a group of men who differ both culturally and professionally, yet we more than coexist. We build each other up in love. Love lives in our prayers for one another and for all. I also read other gospels with the Holy Spirits guidance and prosper in them.

My bible reading habits became study habits once I accepted this shepherds role. I usually study from the KGV as it compels me to search for deeper meaning or definition. I read several other versions for comparison.

I’m almost always involved in the leadership of our praise time. My participation is in the leading of songs to background vocals on both acappella and instrumental teams. I represent Stones River at other events including Uncle Dave Macon days, Summer Celebration at Lipscomb, RFC@MTSU, Celebrate Recovery, Journey Home events, Homes for the elderly and Inner City Ministry. I support events of interest to this family and participate in all men events when possible. The rest of my time is spent with my blood family having fun and still teaching at every opportunity. You know what fathers do.

For relaxation I bike ride and meditate, swim and meditate, Christian music and meditate,  push mow my lawn and meditate, golf and meditate on it.

I was forced to retire with 25 years service at the close of Saturn in 2009. It wasn’t the most opportune time for me or others as the recession had already begun. Needless to say some fear came but so did Savior. Ten years into the recession and three marriages, four grandchildren, three grands graduated HS, one college graduation this year and less debt.

Not bragging, Savior did it. I’m just trying to walk where the Shepherd leads me. Grace!

David Brangenberg

Born and raised in Southern New Jersey. Earned Bachelor’s Degree in Education from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, NC and a Master of Arts in Religion from David Lipscomb University. Married for 35 years to my beautiful wife Trudy and am blessed with two wonderful children, Ian and Rachel. Both children are happily married. Trudy and I enjoy being grandparents of four beautiful grandchildren, Aria, James, Simion, and Joseph. Professional educator for 26 years and currently serving at Oliver Middle School in Nashville, TN. I have been a member at Stones River for about 25 years.

Jerry Bryan

Jerry is the husband of his childhood sweetheart Beverly. They have two daughters, Leah and Rebekah. Leah and Nick have five children – Allie, Elijah, Maya, Isaiah and Noah. Rebekah and Josh have two children – Maggie and Levi. Jerry is a marketing representative with E-ONE Fire Apparatus. He enjoys gardening, woodworking and tinkering with antique tractors.

David Burgess

My wife Donna and I have been married for 35 years. We have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. I have been employed with Roscoe Brown Inc. for 35 years, spending the last 20 years as HVAC service manager.

As a member of SRC for 28 years I have worked with Room in The Inn and Inner City Ministry. It is a pleasure to serve as a Shepard. I think the Stones River Church of Christ family is the most loving and welcoming group of Christians I have ever been a part of.

John King

John Kenneth King serves as Global Coach for Final Command Ministries. Since leading an inductive Bible study training in West Africa (November 2005), his passion is to train people in simple study approaches which produce obedience-based disciple making. 

John developed the 8 Questions that guide the Discovery Groups catalyzed by Final Command teams in Africa and have impacted disciple making among North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN, Clear Creek Church of Christ in Chattanooga, TN and workers teaching conversational English in Chinese Universities. He also coaches people in developing Access Ministries which can be leveraged for finding Persons of Peace and catalyzing Disciple Making Movements. John served as the Preaching Minister of Stones River from 1992-2011 when he transitioned to Final Command Ministries.

John and Debra have been married for 38 years. They have two children and two GRANDS.

Mike Randolph

I have been married to Lesa for 39 years. We have two children, Michael Randolph & Bethany (Ryan) Kellum, and three wonderful grandchildren: Aidan, Owen & Eli Kellum. I enjoy spending time with my family, working with wood, and gemstones. I have over 30 years experience in real estate and construction. Currently, I am a Realtor with Reliant Realty.

I have been a shepherd for 20 years. I love being a part of what God is doing in his church. It has been a joy to serve with many great men of God over the years. We’ve been at Stones River since 1994. I am part of a disciplining movement called The Timothy Network and am blessed to help Steve & Judy Wilkerson in launching Stones of Remembrance – a retreat center and Christian camp in Gates, TN.

Why the term “Shepherds” rather than elders?

This answer is two-fold:

First, the image of a shepherd is an inspiring reminder of our role as spiritual leaders. The relationship of shepherd and sheep is built on trust. As exampled in John 10:1-18 and Matthew 18:12-14, our roles as shepherds are: to lead the sheep on right paths, seek the lost, care for and feed the flock, bind up the wounds, protect the sheep from dangers and the overbearing strong, and sacrifice himself for the sheep.

Second, rather than use the traditional, and biblical, term of ‘Elder’ which carries a connotation of directing administrative operations, as well as spiritual leadership, we have chosen to go with an equally biblical term ‘Shepherd’. Our desire is to focus on the goal of nurturing mature disciples through spiritual leadership. As a result of this goal, an administrative team was born to free us, the shepherds, from the distractions of administrative operations. Please see the page about the Administrative Team for more information.