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!

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!

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.

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.

Jim Phillips

Downtown Deacon

Jim married his soulmate, Mischa, in 1983. They had their first date when they were 17. They have two children, Austin and Audrey. Audrey is married to Adam, and has two sons, Pierson and Maddox. Jim was born in 1958 and came to know the Lord in a time of turmoil at 14 years old. God has been his joy and strength since that day. He is currently retired after having worked in Real Estate Development, Oil and Gas, and Financial Journalism. Jim is the author of Fellowship with God in the Sixth Path, a free online book. Jim believes God’s purpose in calling him to be a deacon at Bethel is this — to glorify Him. He has been praying and believing that that He will bring about a Great Awakening. Please join Jim in the prayer of the harvest which our Lord instructed His disciples to pray: “ therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38

Tyler Sullins, Downtown Deacon, Bethel Bible Church, Tyler, TX

Tyler Sullins

Downtown Deacon

Tyler was born and raised in northern Alabama where the sweet tea and southern hospitality flow. After being first introduced to Texas via Pine Cove Camps, Tyler pursued his Masters in Counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary and soon after, married his Pine Cove sweetheart, Katelyn, in 2013. Their daughter Eden joined the family in 2018 and now Tyler works at Alethia Family Counseling as a professional counselor and when Katelyn is not full-time momming, she’s hard at work studying to be a licensed counselor herself. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys working with his hands, hunting/fishing and golfing. Tyler and Katelyn love being part of Bethel Downtown and count it a privilege to serve here.