Cali born & bound
Sean was born and mostly raised in the San Fernando Valley, a northern suburb of Los Angeles. He came to faith in Jesus in high school through his youth group. Melissa hails from Sacramento and began following Jesus for the first time in college. They met at Pepperdine University in Malibu doing theatre together. Why they spent most of their hours in windowless rehearsal studios while living in Malibu is hard to say. But it was in those rooms that Melissa and Sean developed a deep love and friendship for one another.
2. Austin, TX
After college, Sean left LA and Melissa in pursuit of God knows what. He was young, immature, though earnest in his desire to explore life outside LA. Thankfully, God led him to a church called the Austin Stone. In his 10 months in Austin, God grabbed hold of him in a tangible way introducing him to the doctrines of Scripture he knows and loves. It was in Austin that God birthed Sean's love for the local church, God's Word, and discipleship. And just as significant, it was in Austin that Sean realized the error of his ways in leaving Melissa. Thankfully, after some healthy evaluation, she received him back.
3. Denver, CO
After his short stint in Austin, Sean went to graduate school to pursue his MFA at the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver. Melissa graciously joined him. For 3 years, Sean learned all he could about acting while Melissa worked a variety of jobs, including some acting herself. After the second year, Sean finally put on his big-boy pants and asked Melissa to marry him.
After graduation, Sean and Melissa got married and moved to New York City. They arrived with no jobs, lots of debt, and plenty of dreams. They had no idea what a "5th-floor walk-up" was. Yet, over the course of 6 years in a 400 sq. ft. studio, God blessed them lavishly. Melissa worked at what was then a small startup called Vimeo while Sean ventured into the roller coaster of acting. Most importantly, God invaded their lives in NYC through Apostles Church. They were loved, discipled, cared for, invested in, and taught to live a life pursuing Jesus and his church. A few years later, God began to whisper to Sean the call to ministry. Eventually he came on staff at Apostles full time. After the birth of their first child, Roman Elliot, in 2015, they began to pray about what was next for them. Melissa had desires to be at home. Sean had desires to plant a church. After a year of prayer and counsel, God brought them to Austin, Texas, back to the Austin Stone.
5. Austin 2.0
For the past two years, Sean and Melissa have lived and served with the Austin Stone Community Church, growing in their knowledge, character, and obedience to Jesus. Sean has been developed with the Downtown Campus in a 2-year Pastoral & Church Planting Residency meant to prepare them to launch out themselves in 2018 to begin the process of planting a church in Los Angeles, CA. In 2017, they welcomed their baby girl, River Joy, into the world. Through many months of prayer and counsel, they sense God is leading them to Los Angeles, CA in summer 2018 to begin the process of planting a church. In 2 quick years, they have grown a deep love for the Stone and its people.