Downtown Deacons

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Our Deacons

Deacons are the hands and feet of Jesus at Bethel. Whether it’s ensuring Sunday mornings run smoothly or reaching out to meet needs throughout the week, our deacons serve with open eyes and willing hearts. Bethel believes in the scriptural qualifications of deacons (1 Timothy 3) and involve the body in the vetting and election of this group each year.

Nathan Atkinson, Downtown Deacon, Bethel Bible Church, Tyler, TX

Nathan Atkinson

Downtown Deacon

Nathan has been married to his wife, Sunni, for over 19 years. They have three children, Ethan, Seth, and Georgia. Nathan works in IT and when he’s not coding for the Baylor University IT department, Nathan spends most of his time with his family. His hobbies are taxiing his children around, running, and playing tennis. He likes to travel, snow ski, mountain bike, trail run and take long walks.

Brian Barnett

Downtown Deacon

Brian was born in Tyler, Texas in the summer of 1983. He grew up with an older brother and parents who love him very much. When he was in grade school, his family moved to a rural setting near Lindale, where he began learning the value of hard labor. After high school, he attended TJC for two years before going on to complete his graduate studies in business at UT Tyler. He worked as a bike mechanic and a residential roofer before moving to Austin in 2010. It was there where he met his lovely wife, Michelle. They later bought a motorhome, traveled the US for a couple of years, and settled back in Tyler where they currently work from home and raise their daughter Brooklyn. Brian and his family feel blessed to have been welcomed into the Bethel downtown family!

Tony Bisagno

Downtown Deacon

Tony grew up in Houston until he attended Baylor University in 1982, where he met his wife of 28 years, Dottie. The two moved to East Texas in 1994. They have three college-aged sons: AJ, Harper & Oliver. Tony and his family have been part of Bethel Bible Church since 2012. Tony owns and operates a used car business located just a few blocks west of the Downtown Campus. When he’s not at Tony’s Cars, Bethel Bible Church, or Green Acres Bowling Lanes, then you’ll likely find him in his garden or out on the golf course. Come play!

dan Black

Downtown Deacon

Dan was born in West Texas, raised in Central Texas, and married his lovely wife Emma in East Texas. They have one child, Evelynn, and one more on the way! Both Dan and Emma serve with the Missions Committee, volunteer with the youth ministry, and are active with their Life Group. The preaching of the gospel and the centrality of scripture have grown and blessed their family beyond measure. He counts it a privilege to serve the church by helping set up and most importantly, keeping the coffee flowing.

Dash Connell, Downtown Deacon, Bethel Bible Church, Tyler, TX

Dash Connell

Downtown Deacon

Dash Connell grew up in Katy but has called Tyler home since 2009. Dash married his wife, Shae, in 2006 and they have three sons: Mason, Emerson, and Elijah. As head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Tyler Junior College, their family mixes work with the ministry, intentionally developing relationships with their college athletes and showing them what a Christian family looks like in reality of highs and lows. God brought Dash and his family to Bethel in 2015 and they quickly plugged into children’s ministry, serving elementary students and living real life with their Bethel Life Group. Dash roots loudly for the Apaches, Aggies, and Astros!

Joshua DeGraffenried

Downtown Deacon

Josh DeGraffenried grew up in Kilgore, Texas, and has always had a love for the city and community life. He married his wife Sarah in 2013 and they are loving raising their three kiddos, Elizabeth, Luke, and Liam. Josh practices as a dentist here in Tyler and enjoys investing in his team to make it a great workplace culture. He loves seeing patients move towards health in their lives. In his spare time, you might find him traveling, reading, listening to podcasts, running, and hanging out with friends. He loves Drew Holcomb’s music, space rocket history, chocolate pie, and a quality capsule wardrobe. He mostly wants to create experiences where God is known in an everyday shared life.

James Van Dyke, Downtown Campus Deacon, Bethel Bible Church, Tyler TX

James Van Dyke

Downtown Deacon

James is originally from Georgetown, TX. He made his way east to College Station where he graduated from Texas A&M in Environmental and Soil Sciences and, more importantly, met his wonderful wife, Anna. They married in 2012 and landed even further east in Longview where he practiced environmental consulting. Now in Tyler, where James manages a soil manufacturing facility, they have two crazy kids, Laurel and Vincent (Vin) who make life very entertaining and a lot of fun. When visiting Bethel Downtown, he immediately observed the genuine heart-set of loving people by God’s grace through the knowledge of His Word. Anna and James get to hang with the Bethel Students on Sunday mornings – he says, “they are way cooler than we are.” Their whole family is blessed by being a part of Bethel Downtown, and they are excited to see their family grow in this church.

Chris Foreman

Downtown Deacon

Chris and his wife, Darla, were married in August 2010. They have three children: Claire, Lucy and Charles. Chris and Darla have been members of Bethel Bible Church since 2011, and on any given Sunday, you might find Chris playing music and Darla working with the children. It is difficult to pinpoint what precisely drew them to Bethel, but God has undoubtedly used Bethel to impact Chris and his family — through the community of Bethel, serving and being served by the body, Life Groups, and the teaching of the Word. God has proved Himself faithful time and time again in his life, and it is his pleasure to serve as a deacon for His bride, which is the Church.

Sam Johnson

Downtown Deacon

Sam along with his wife Stephanie, have attended the Downtown campus since 2017. They were married in 2003 and have two children, Molly and Clive, who are both active in the student ministry. Sam came to know Christ at an early age and is still constantly amazed how God has shown Himself faithful in even the most minuscule details.  Sam designs and manufactures aerospace products and enjoys cooking, working out, and going to concerts.

Scott McDaniel

Downtown Deacon

Scott grew up in Northern California, got married, started a family, then moved to East Texas in 2018. He and his wife, Holly, have two sons and a daughter– James, Luke, and Taylor. He and Holly gratefully call both Tyler and Bethel their home. Scott attended a small Bible college outside Los Angeles, then made the natural transition into aerospace, where he currently travels around the world playing with space balloons. Scott enjoys time with family and friends, exploring, motorsports, and generally not making plans. Fun facts: His signature is on a car in outer space and he’s spent more time in Antarctica than Austin. 

Clay Nichols, Downtown Deacon, Bethel Bible Church, Tyler, TX

Clay Nichols

Downtown Deacon

Clay is married to his wonderful wife, Amber. They have one child, Coleman. Clay and Amber both grew up in East Texas and moved to Austin for four years, where they learned a lot about their faith and relationship with Christ and the church. Clay knew Bethel had solid doctrine and theology and seeing the pastoral staff teach, they knew they wanted to be part of Bethel. When he looks at Bethel he thinks of the word intentional. Clay and Amber feel blessed to be part of a church family and a church who loves on people.

Mark Odom

Downtown Deacon

Mark grew up in East Texas (Chapel Hill Bulldog class of 1985). He married his wife, Terri, in 1990 and they have been blessed with two incredible kids, Tanner and Erin, and one awesome daughter-in-law, Mackenzie. Terri and Mark both work in a family-owned small business that his dad started in Tyler in 1969. They have been attending Bethel since Arbor Bible merged with Bethel in 2011. Most Sundays you will find Mark in the back projecting lyrics and scripture on the screens during the worship service. Mark considers it a privilege to serve God and His church at Bethel. He also enjoys music, the lake, football and anything relating to his family.