Meet Our Staff

Vaughn Stafford

Lead Pastor

Vaughn was born in Livingston, AL, and lived in Eufaula, AL in his early years, but grew up primarily in Anderson, IN. He received a degree in accounting and a minor in vocal performance from Anderson University while in Anderson. He has a Master of Divinity Degree from Asbury Seminary, where he is currently in doctoral studies.

Vaughn began singing at Gaither Studios when he was just twelve years old and sang there until he began ministry at age 25. Vaughn’s call to full time ministry came while he was touring. He has been serving Clearbranch as Lead Pastor since 2013. He is passionate about people growing in a personal relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord and creating worship experiences that allow space for people to encounter God. He lives by the mantra of “living life above reproach, but never beyond approach.”

Vaughn married his love, Cindy, in 1997 and they have two children. Their daughter, Ellie, is studying at UAB and their son, William, is in middle school. Vaughn enjoys fishing, playing golf, tennis, basketball and most any other sports.

Clay Farrington

Associate Pastor

After nearly two decades in youth ministry serving churches in three annual conferences, Clay came to Clearbranch following God’s call to adult pastoral ministry. Clay received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University and his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. Clay has a particular passion for teaching scripture especially to millennials and those on the margins. Clay, his beautiful wife, Leigh Ann, and three elementary-aged children, Robert, Mac and Charlie, love soccer, hiking and most all things outdoors.

Jerre Rhoades

Associate Pastor

Jerre came to Clearbranch in 2004 as the Pastoral Care Pastor. God has given him the passion and spiritual gifts to provide pastoral care for those in hospitals, the homebound and those in assisted living facilities. He is also the staff liaison for the Mission Committee helping them coordinate all their activities. He also coordinates the grief recovery program for individuals who have lost loved ones. Jerre councils people going through all types of life changing situations. His favorite scripture which he strives to live out daily is found in Matthew 25: 35-36.

David Shelton

Executive Minister

Executive Minister: David began attending Clearbranch in 2002 and joined the staff as Executive Minister in 2012. He is a graduate of Mid-South Christian College in Memphis, TN.

Although his education is in ministry, David has a wide and varied background in ministry and business. He worked for nearly 20 years in steel fabrication, 8 years in hospice management, and has also served as a pastor for a church in Arkansas. He has a heart for teaching, problem-solving, and helping others to reach their potential.

David and his lovely wife Beverly, have two adult sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law. He enjoys playing guitar, singing, and traveling with Beverly.

Chris Whatley

Director of Worship Ministries

Chris grew up in Montgomery, Alabama and went to Auburn University. War Eagle! Shortly after graduating with a finance degree and while working for a pharmaceutical company, Chris began volunteering in the worship ministry at his local church. As he became more involved in the worship ministry, he felt called to full-time ministry and began serving at a church in Birmingham. Chris and his family have made Clearbranch their church home since 2014. Chris’ passion is seeing the people of the church draw closer to God through music and media. He and his wife Jessica have been married since 2010 and have two rowdy boys, Hutton and Mills. In his spare time (if he has any!), Chris enjoys spending time outdoors at the lake or mountains.

Chase Higginbotham

Director of Student Ministries

Chase is a graduate of Clay-Chalkville High School and the University of Alabama with a degree in Broadcast News. After graduation he trusted in Christ for a relationship and was saved! Chase answered the call to ministry in the summer of 2011 and was welcomed to the Clearbranch staff in January of 2012.

Chase began attending Clearbranch in the late 90s as a pre-teen and has been honored to serve on staff and minister at the same church he grew up in. He has a passion for pointing students to the free grace and love of Jesus Christ for relationship and then helping to disciple them as they rest in and grow in the Gospel. Chase met his wife Rachel at Clearbranch and they were married in May of 2015. His hobbies include disc golf, road trips with his wife, as well as hiking, camping, reading good books and cooking. Chase lives in Springville with his wife and their 3 pets, Baron the cat, Forest the chocolate lab and Samson the turtle.

Jeanie Walls

Director of Children's Ministries

Jeanie Walls came to Clearbranch as the Director of Children’s Ministries in December 2016 after serving for 12 years as the Preschool Director at Alabaster First UMC.

Jeanie oversees a ministry that reaches over two hundred children with a team of amazing volunteers and a dedicated staff. Her passion is to encourage children to be conformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ from an early age, so that they will grow up knowing Him and will live a life of joyful service. Jeanie has ministered to children since moving from West Virginia to Alabama in 2004.

Jeanie is widowed and the mother of two grown children. Her son, Kent, and his wife, Jana, are expecting their first child in August 2017, and her daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Kevin McCroskey, have one son, Wade, who is two years old.

Robin McLendon

Children's Ministries Assistant

Robin has always enjoyed working with and loving on children. She volunteered for 7 years in Children Ministries prior to joining the Clearbranch staff in 2013. She loves spending time with children to help them learn about and experience the love of Christ. Prior to working at Clearbranch, Robin worked as a Sales Coordinator for 14 years. Robin lives in Springville with her husband Jason, their daughter Briley, and son Aiden.

Michelle Hanks

Children's Ministries Assistant

Michelle was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from the University of Montevallo with a degree in Speech Language Pathology. Shortly after college she married her husband Kolby and had the opportunity to move around the country for his job. They recently moved back to the area and she has been working with the Children’s Ministry at Clearbranch since Spring 2016.

Michelle has always felt called to work with children and enjoy sharing the love of Christ with them.

Donna Dexter

Pastoral Assistant

Donna is originally from Mississippi. She moved to Alabama in 1990. She has been on staff since 2006 and has had many roles. When she is not working, she loves to travel and spend time with her grandchildren.

Denise Heath

Director of Clearly Kids Academy

Denise came to Clearbranch in February 1999 as Director of Preschool Ministries. She started Clearly Kids Christian Academy in the Fall of that year.

Denise and her family are from San Antonio, TX. She married her high school sweetheart in 1984. Tommy and Denise have three grown children, Tyler is a golf pro at a local Golf Club, Holly is a nurse practitioner working at the Epilepsy Center at a local hospital, and Kasey is a teacher in the Birmingham City School system. Tommy and Denise can hardly wait to love on their first grandbaby, Lucy Jane due in the Spring of 2017!

Denise has a deep passion for loving kids and it shows in her ministry efforts. She is in the process of learning to play golf and loves to travel.

Kim Mayes

Clearly Kids Director's Assistant

Randy Odom

Media Director

Randy was born and raised in the Center Point area of Jefferson County, Al. He has been working in churches most of his adult life in one way or another. He met his wife Amy during his five years as an associate recreation minister. He has also served two churches as interim youth director. After joining ClearBranch in 1999 he became a member of the Media and Worship Team and was alternating every week between the two for over two years. He then started working solely with the Media Team and has been going strong in this ministry ever sense. He and his wife have been together for over 24 years and have three beautiful children (Nicole, Lyla, & Connor).

JoAnn Wakefield

Finance Secretary

JoAnn was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, but moved to Birmingham just in time to enroll in High School. She is a graduate of Hewitt Trussville High School, Jefferson State Community College, and Huntingdon College.

After working several years as a freelance bookkeeper for several law firms, florists, and convenience stores, JoAnn worked full time with a weapons importer, a foreign owned military ceramics producer; and helped several companies go thru a downsizing phase.

In February of 2013, she jumped at the chance to work at her home church and joined the staff of Clearbranch UMC as the part time Finance Secretary. After 4 years, she is still thrilled to be a part of this wonderful team!

She is happily married to Bill Wakefield and they have 4 wonderful sons, 4 grandsons and 2 beautiful granddaughters.

God has blessed me and my family so very much and I am proud to serve His church and His people in this capacity.

Lori Johnson

Receptionist and Communications Assistant

Lori joined the Clearbranch staff in October 2016. Prior to coming to Clearbranch, Lori worked in the veterinary distribution field for 18 years working as a customer service rep and administrative assistant. In her spare time she enjoys spending time hiking, fishing and canoeing with her husband and two daughters.

Michael Kendrick

Facilities Manager

Michael and his wife Tricia came to Clearbranch at the invitation of his daughter and knew very quickly that this was home. Michael retired in 2002 after 30 years in maintenance with the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. When the facilities manager position opened at Clearbranch, Michael saw the opportunity to put his skills and years of experience to work for God, who gave him his talents. His work in maintaining God’s house has also been an opportunity to increase his faith and allow God to have control of his destiny.

Michael and Tricia have two adult children, Joey and Jennifer, a wonderful daughter-in-law, Erin, and four grandchildren, Reagan, Ryder, Kody and Kaden.

Chuck Whitten

Custodial Staff

Chuck has been employed by Clearbranch since January of 2006. Almost all aspects of keeping a clean and functional facility are taken care of by him. Having seen several ministerial staff changes Chuck feels blessed to be working with the staff that is current at Clearbranch. This team offers biblical guidance to him on a daily basis. He met his wife, Margie at a small group at Clearbranch. They married in May of 2007. Attending service on almost all Sundays helps him become closer to our Savior. Through services offered by Vaughn and his Godly staff.