W. Dennis Sharp (Den) is the church planter/founding pastor of the church. He was raised in a Christian home, by loving parents, in a small Southern Baptist Church, but actually came to a saving faith in an Independent Baptist Church at age 17.
That same year, 1972, he began to minister as a lay-witness missionary in the Methodist church and did so for the better part of a year.
He was part of the leadership structure for several coffeehouse ministries and campus ministries while still in high school, and actually presented his testimony to the entire student body of his high school during an assembly his senior year.
In 1974, while still only 18 years old, Den left home and went away to Bible College. He excelled in his studies but wanted to honor his father’s desire for him to join the military, so after being ordained as a missionary to the military, Den joined the US Army in September 1974. After his training as a Combat Engineer, Den was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY. It was during this assignment that he met and married his wife, Terri.
Soon after they were married they went to serve in Germany and Terri discovered that she was pregnant with Kelly, so the young couple reenlisted to come back to Ft. Campbell. Only 15 months later, they were forced to extend their enlistment again in order to keep the family together and they were reassigned once again to Germany. During this three-year assignment they served as youth pastors of the military “Protestant, Non-denominational” chapel, and they had their second child, Matt.
In December 1982, the young family left active duty and came back to Knoxville to live. They became members of Covenant Community Church, a church made up primarily of people that Den had served with in coffeehouse and campus ministries before joining the army.
They served as Sunday school teachers, care-group leaders, and part of the worship team for the better part of the next 12 years. Den gained employment with the USPS in May 1984, after almost 18 months of being underemployed. He was promoted to electronic technician in 1987 and held that position until retirement in 2012.
In 1994, the family moved to New Covenant Fellowship, an independent, non-denominational, charismatic church. They served as teachers, committee members, and lead singers on the worship team. Den made 6 short-term missions (3 to Central America and 3 to Russia) and took family members with him on all but 1 of them. In 1997 Den began to feel the stirring to preach again and God was already at work to open doors. Terri found the first open door for training in the LAMP program. Den was in the inaugural LAMP class at Johnson Bible College and graduated Suma Cum Lade with a BS in Leadership And Ministry Preparation in 1999.
During his undergraduate work he preached as an itinerant, formed the music group, RECONCILED, and did an internship in “Pastoring The Worship Community.” He entered the MA program immediately upon graduation and earned his MA in “NT and Preaching” in 2002. He holds a 2nd MA in Biblical Theology and is presently working on a DRS in Systematic Theology from Trinity Theological Seminary in Indiana. He was licensed as a church planter by MCUSA in November 2001 and was ordained as pastor in June 2004. Additionally, Den is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor with the American Association of Christian Counselors. Den and Terri are both certified SYMBIS facilitators and co-authors of “How Do We Make Love Stay? Keys To Marriage Enrichment.”