OUR STAFF

Chris Kawa

Chris Kawa

Senior Pastor

I am daily astonished at the grace of God freely offered to us in Jesus Christ. What good news! Seeing lives transformed by the beauty and power of the gospel is the passion of my heart. It is a privilege beyond measure to pour out my life in service to our Lord by co-laboring alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus at River Oaks. Christi and I were married in 1995 and together enjoy the thrill and challenge of pointing our children (Savannah, Max, Jack, Sam, Luke, and Ben) to Jesus.

Chris has a B.A. in Psychology from Northern Illinois University and an M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management. Prior to joining the staff at River Oaks, he worked for 9 years in the bottled water industry and served as an elder at Lakeland Church in Gurnee, Ill.

Patrick Bowerman

Patrick Bowerman

Associate Pastor

I feel blessed to be able to serve as an associate pastor at River Oaks Community Church. God called me and saved me at the age of sixteen, and since then He has been conforming me to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). He has blessed me with a great family that lives in the Maryville area, and I am married to my wonderful wife Katherine, who tirelessly serves alongside me in ministering to our students. I have a great love for God and His word, and I am committed to expositionally teaching through the books of the Bible with our students. It is my goal to proclaim Jesus Christ (and His Gospel) so that He will save the lost and grow believers in their faith. The desire of my heart (and student ministries as a whole) is to “present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28), and this is the end to which we toil day and night.

Patrick is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in Pastoral Studies (2007).

Art Cash

Art Cash

Associate Pastor

I graduated from Carson Newman College in 1995 and married my incredible wife, Heather, in 1996, I spent the following 19 years in the business world. Heather and I moved to Maryville TN for her to practice medicine and for us to raise our family which eventually consisted of three children, Hayden, Julia, and Natu. Once in Maryville, I worked for Ruby Tuesday Restaurants for nearly 14 years, primarily in the Training Department and Human Resources.

In 2003, Heather and I decided on River Oaks as our church. River Oaks was unique to our church experience. The whole counsel of God was expositionally preached. Christ was the focus instead of man. There was unity around the gospel. There was a sense of authenticity with people willing to be real about their struggles with sin. At some point during 2003, God’s grace, through the person and work of Jesus Christ, was revealed to me and I was converted. This was a radical conversion that re-prioritized my life. I wanted to be discipled and I wanted to disciple others. Theology, doctrine, and evangelism became passions of mine. Heather and I began to host a small group in our home of which I eventually became a leader.

In 2009 I became an elder at River Oaks. God continued over the years to fan the flame in my heart of teaching, preaching, and discipleship. I believed the LORD was placing the desire in my heart to move towards full time ministry. I was hired in 2016 as the pastor responsible for leadership development, discipleship, and mobilization. I am thankful to God every day that no matter what is going on in the world or in my heart, God’s Word is true, God is good, and He never changes.

Metry Hutchison

Metry Hutchison

Children's Ministry Coordinator

Originally from New Orleans, my college career began in education, with a desire to teach middle school kids. While working my way through college, I diverted from the education field and started what turned into twenty years in the restaurant business. The best part of this diversion was meeting my amazing husband, Jeff. The transfer of our company’s home office in 1999 brought us to Maryville. As our search for a church home began, two friends, independently of each other, invited us to attend the same church! Well, we visited and haven’t looked back! God showed us a church family that fiercely loves Him and loves each other. That’s when the Lord brought me back to His path and to my passion for middle school kids by serving as a youth leader. Many years and a ton of pre-teens later, my love for this age group has only gotten stronger. While volunteering with the middle school group and as a Sunday school teacher, the Lord opened another door and I accepted the position as Children’s Ministry Coordinator.

Each day I feel blessed to be able to come to a job where I can truly do work to glorify Him by serving the littlest members of His flock! They have encouraged, taught and inspired me in more ways than I could ever have imagined. And oh how they keep you feeling young! What a great God we serve that knows our heart and designs our path. Praise Him!

Laura Bonham

Laura Bonham

Secretary

I was raised in beautiful Blount County, graduated from Alcoa High School, and received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee. While in college I met my husband, Shane, and we married in 1995. At age 28, by His great grace and mercy, God revealed to me that I was lost, without hope, and in need of a Savior…He called me out of darkness with the glorious light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and saved me. Amazing grace!!!

God led Shane, our sons (Seth and Zane), and me into fellowship at River Oaks in 2014, and this has been an incredible place of biblical growth and community…where the gospel is central, worship is authentic, and members love, encourage, and point each other to Christ. In January 2017, I was blessed to join the staff as church secretary, and I’m so thankful for God’s provision and equipping! I can trace His sovereign hand of preparation through my education, previous work history that honed administrative skills, and life experiences that have grown me in God’s gifting of love for others and desire for meaningful interaction and communication. It is an absolute JOY to serve the Lord by serving this church body…glory to God!

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