Our Staff

The staff of First UMC of Lutz is here to help equip, teach, nurture, and minister to our church family at all times. If there is any way that we can serve you better, please contact us directly at 813-949-1751. You may also contact us via email. Thank you for the privilege of serving you each and every day.

 

REV. CHRIS KIRK – SR PASTOR  x240  PastorChris@FantasticFirst.org
 
Pastor Chris was appointed to Fantastic First 7/1/2020. He has served in churches in Florida, Texas and England!  He was born in England and grew up in Leicester, right in the center of the U.K. He gave his life to Christ the spring of 1986 and was almost immediately gripped by the Biblical command, “Let God demonstrate His sovereign power!” (Zechariah 4:6). Over the next few years he had a spell working as a cattle-hand on an Israeli Kibbutz (including Christmas spent in Bethlehem), a summer serving in a Tanzanian leprosy village and three months working on the Jersey shore (Ocean Grove, New Jersey). This latter experience, coming part way through his Masters’ degree, was his first visit to the United States. His love of the country was born! Thankfully, Heather, his wife, shared this same affection, having already enjoyed two extensive US trips prior to their meeting.
 
Heather is a local ICU nurse, and loves Children’s Ministry.  They have two sons.  Ethan was born in Sheffield, England, and is currently a High School Student.  Caleb was born in Safety Harbor, Florida. So, yes, they have one Brit and one American!

Pastor Chris attended Wesley Seminary in Bristol, England, and has studied at Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando. His interests include Disney, “football” namely Leicester City, movies, travel and trying to keep up with his boys on Mario Kart 8 or Castle Crashers. Pastor Chris says, “I am honored that God has called me to serve at Fantastic First, Lutz. I am truly looking forward to getting to know you, starting this summer!”

You can watch his sermons on our homepage, and get to know him more at www.fantasticfirst.org/pastorchris

Vicki Apple – Church Administrator – x221  vicki@fantasticfirst.org

 
Vicki has been a member since Aug. 1999. She came on staff in March, 2001. As our administrator, she handles or coordinates most of the business matters of the church, including bookkeeping, operations, and IT. She also serves on the Finance Committee and Church Council and volunteers in handbells, and Christian education.
 
Vicki has a B.A.from USF in Political Science (pre-law), and an MBA from Southeastern University, in Lakeland, FL.
 
Calling: “When I was young, I wanted to be a missionary, then I grew up and was distracted by the world. I spent too many years turned away from God, and yet to my delight He never turned away from me. When I returned to Him, He was waiting for me, and to my shock, called me to serve this pastor and this congregation. Lutz has been my home since 1987, and my mission field since 2001. Handbells are my passion! If you’d like to give it a try, please don’t be shy. We rehearse on most Tuesdays at 7 PM.”
 
Vicki also hosts a weekly vlog where she shares timely information about the church, and sometimes includes a guest interview.  Check it out on www.FantasticFirst.org/FFF

Austin Curry, II – Assistant Worship Leader – austin@fantasticfirst.org

 
Austin and his very musical family have been attending and serving here since 1998!  Austin officially joined our staff in January 2018.  He leads the praise band and tech team with great talent and skill. He’s a hard worker and has a great sense of humor!
 
When you see the Currys in action, you’re likely to conjure images of the Partridge Family.  His son and daughter grew up playing and singing on our stage. He recently became granddad to Austin, IV. We can’t wait to see what that little guy is going to want to play!

Dee Denham – Communications Coordinator – x222 dee@fantasticfirst.org

 
Dee joined the staff on 7/7/2020, in a newly created position of Communications Coordinator. She will be responsible for our print and digital communications, including social media. These crazy COVID times have moved a lot of our ministry out of the building and into cyberspace, where we are connecting and zooming on multiple platforms.
 
Whether online or in person, you will find Dee to be very competent and especially friendly!  She has been part of our church since joining in 2013, and is active as a youth parent/chaperone, heads up our Acolyte ministry, attends Bible studies, is in our handbell choir, serves with our kitchen ministry, and more.  Dee is smart, cool under pressure, and has a positive, can-do attitude.  We are blessed to have her on board.
 
Dee has a grown daughter, Alysia, and a High School Student, Sofia. She also has four granddaughters she refers to as her “gaggle of girlies”, Mideya, Evelyn, Aleigha & Naieli.

 

Janell Lockhart – Christian Education Director – x234  janell@fantasticfirst.org

 
Janell and her family joined our church in the summer of ’99. In July of 2008, Janell left the corporate world and accepted the position as Youth Director here at First Lutz. In Nov. 2014, she was promoted to Christian Education Director. Her organization skills and desire to help people of all ages deepen their walk with Christ, make her especially equipped for this position.
 
Janell also believes in being Servant-minded. Volunteering at the local food pantry and clothes closet or handing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, coffee and blankets to the homeless impacts the world around us.
 
Janell has a BA in Marketing from the University of South Florida, and has 22 years of experience in Human Resources. Janell completed the intense Youth program from the Youth Ministry Institute in 2012.
Janell married her high school sweetheart, John, the week following their graduation from the University of South Florida in 1986.

Cliff Longcoy – Worship Arts Director – cliff@fantasticfirst.org

 
Classical pianist Cliff Longcoy made his debut in the world performing at charity concerts and various local churches throughout his teenage years. He made his national debut placing second in America’s teen talent competition.
 
Cliff made his concerto debut with the Florida orchestra at 17 as part of their young artist competition. Shortly after, he performed with the USF orchestra and with the Bergen Philharmonic. He has been a loved visitor in Norway every year since.
 
At the age of 19, Cliff made his first concert tour in Japan, playing at churches and universities throughout Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Other countries he has performed in include Luxembourg, France, Norway, Germany, and England. Some notable halls include King Georges Hall in London, Berliner Philharmonie, the Bergen Hall in Norway, and the Mahaffey Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall, and Stratz Center in Tampa.
 
In addition to performing solo classical and Christian concerts, Cliff Longcoy has played with and accompanied world-renown bands such as Celtic Woman and Andrea Bocelli.
Cliff received his piano degree from University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida where he resides today.
 
We are so fortunate to have the talented Cliff Longcoy on our staff. In addition to being a world-class concert pianist, he loves Jesus and is a huge blessing to our church.
 
You can listen to some of his recordings and devotionals at www.fantasticfirst.org/cliff

Susan Lyons – Nursery Coordinator

 
Susan and her extended family are staples in our church!  She is an actives director at a senior home in west Pasco during the week, and loves on our babies during church, and for Wacky Wednesdays. She’s a mom herself, and her love for children is quite evident.
 
We are so happy to have her on the team.

Dan & Family

Dan Nusekabel – Interim Youth Director – x230 youth@fantasticfirst.org

 
Dan joined our staff in October 2020 as an interim Youth Director. He was born and raised in Tampa, attending Bay Hope Church growing up. He previously worked as the Children’s Ministry Director at Lake Magdalene UMC, a camp counselor at Cedarkirk, and a STEM teacher at Cambridge Christian School. He loves working with youth and children, and helping them understand each other, themselves, and God better!
 
Dan is married to Miriam, and has a son named Lucas. He has an interest in Japanese culture and language, and also enjoys baking, sewing, reading, and playing video games. Dan has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but his real passion is the Bible- learning more about it, and how to read it like a story, with an exciting and relevant plot filled with danger, love, and excitement. He’s excited and ready to share this passion with the youth, and learn more about God together with them!