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.

Jeremy Auvil

Associate Pastor

Jeremy Auvil grew up in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, AL and graduated from The University of Alabama in 2001.  He and his family (Jenny, James, and John) moved to Trussville in 2004.  Over the past 12 years Jeremy has worked in numerous positions within NAC Methodist Churches including a decade of Student Ministry.  In 2016 he completed the requirements to become a licensed local pastor.  Jeremy loves preaching and encouraging others to develop authentic relationships with God and others.

Jeremy is a recent addition to the Clearbranch Family and his primary focus is Young Adult Ministries and Small Groups.

You can also catch Jeremy on Sunday Nights at Crosshaven (a ministry of Clearbranch UMC) that meets at his home (7516 Old Mill Cir., Trussville, AL 35173) at 5pm.  This service is focused on reaching young adults and families that have become disenfranchised with the modern church as well as those who are un-churched.  Check out this deconstructed and very relaxed service on Facebook by searching @Crosshaven.  #allarewelcome #comeasyouare

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.

Mark Harvard

Director of Communications

Mark Harvard grew up in Sylacauga, AL and got a degree in Communications from the University of Alabama.  Through most of his adult life, Mark has worked in a mix of communications and ministry and has a passion for helping to spread the word about things that really matter.  Mark and his wife, Ginny, fell in love with Clearbranch the first time they visited and are pleased to have this be the church in which their son, Jack, will grow up.  Mark enjoys movies, music, and has had the same alarm clock since he was in the 8th grade.

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.

Melanie Schuler

Director of Children's Ministry

Melanie and her family have been a part of Clearbranch since 2008, and she joined the Clearbranch staff in spring of 2017.  Melanie is married to Jake, who is a restaurant manager in Birmingham.  They have two children, Isaac and Anna Kate, both who attend Odenville Middle School, play soccer, and are involved in several other activities.

Melanie grew up in Hokes Bluff, AL and graduated from Hokes Bluff High School and Jacksonville State University.  Before joining the Clearbranch staff, she spent her previous career in retail management for McRae’s and Macy’s Department Stores.  Melanie is thrilled to now be a part of the Clearbranch family, leading our children’s ministry.

Ashley McIntosh

Children's Ministry Assistant

Ashley was born and raised in Alabama and grew up in the Pinson/Trussville area. Before coming to Clearbranch, she served as the 4k teacher at Alabaster FUMC Preschool for 16 years and as After School Director for 3 years.

In her downtime, she enjoys spending time with her daughter Lexi and their two sweet puppies. She loves to travel, be outdoors, and volunteer to help children in any way that she can. Her passion is working with children to help them build a strong love for God and a foundation of faith.

Ashley’s favorite saying is, “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” She truly believes God has called her to Clearbranch to help parents raise children who know and love God.

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 married children, Tyler is a golf pro, Holly is a nurse practitioner, and Kasey is a teacher. Tommy and Denise have one grandbaby (#shesperfect) that was born in March 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 Assistant Director

Kim and her family became members of Clearbranch in 2004.  Shortly after that Kim joined the Clearly Kids team as an administrative assistant.  Since Kim’s hire in 2005 she has assisted in the organization of several children’s events at the church.  Kim married Jason, her high school sweetheart, in 1992.  They lived in Norfolk, Virginia for 2 years while Jason served in the Navy.  They have two children, Blake and Savannah, who are both highly involved in their school sports.

Kim and Jason enjoy their weekly date nights at their favorite Mexican restaurant.

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.

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.

Nick Sexton

Student Ministry Intern

Nick is a former resident of North Augusta, South Carolina. He relocated to the Trussville area in 2013, where he graduated from Hewitt Trussville High School in 2016. Nick is currently attending Jefferson State pursuing a degree in Secondary Education in hopes of teaching High School Science. Nick started attending Clearbranch in 2014, beginning his journey with Christ. This later brought him to serve in the Student Ministry with middle school boys. Nick hopes to help spread the truth and grace of God to the students in his first year of being a youth intern. Some of the activities he enjoys are the outdoors, listening to music, and golfing.