Our Staff

Say hello to the leadership team at Upward Christian Fellowship

Meet our leadership

Anthony Craver - Lead Pastor

I was raised in a small town in North Carolina and I love small town life! I met my wife Alexa in Honduras where I served as a missionary teacher for a couple of years. We began here at Upward in 1997 and have loved the path forward (most of it). I love to read, play the piano, and exercise (my latest craze is my rowing machine). Serving Jesus in this community is my passion.

“We're gonna need a bigger boat.” - Chief Martin Brody

Greg Dixon - Executive Pastor

My name is Greg Dixon and I have served at Upward since 2015. I currently serve as the Executive Pastor of Ministry. I am married to my wife, Danielle, and together we have two amazing daughters, Hope and Faith. I love Duke Basketball, being outdoors, a good leadership book, and a good practical joke.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

Bonnie London - Director of Operations

I came on staff at Upward in February 2020. I serve as Director of Operations and thoroughly enjoy every aspect of involvement at UCF, including being a first-time guest, volunteering, and serving as a Deacon before coming on staff. I have been married to my husband Scott for nearly 30 years. Together we have three children and four grandchildren. For me, the best ingredients to start the day involve my front porch and a cup of coffee while waiting with an excited expectation of the coming sunrise.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Luke Jenkins - Connections Pastor

I am married to my beautiful wife Jessica and we have 2 amazing little boys; Gavin and Jayce. I drink way too much coffee and love everything to do with sports. (Except duke). I graduated from Emmanuel College in 2009 with a BS degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Christian Ministries. Before coming on staff here at Upward, my wife and I served as Student Pastors, in Garner NC, for 8 years. I have been on staff since July of 2017, and absolutely love being a part of the Upward Family! We all have a place to serve and a make a difference and it's my heart and my desire to help everyone find that place. 

"Your love for others will find fuel in your love for God." - Chris Hodges

LeAnn West - Children's Pastor

Hi! My name is LeAnn West and I have been a part of the Upward team as Children's Pastor since 2018. My husband, Chris, and I met in high school and grew up in the small town of Mayberry. We have been married for 12 years and have two amazing kids: Ella and Miller. We are loving this season of watching our kids grow & building a home together. A few of my favorite things are evening walks in our neighborhood, family movie nights, and helping Chris with his latest wood project. We're so thankful that God brought our family to Upward and truly believe the best is yet to come!

"We're all rough drafts of the people we're still becoming." - Bob Goff

Matt Karst - Creative Arts Pastor

Hey there! My name’s Matt and I joined the team here at Upward as the Creative Arts Pastor back in 2019. That basically means I get to create moments, music and art that will hopefully point people toward Jesus. My wife Rachel and I got married in 2007 and now have two awesome kids, Andrew and Ellianna. In my free time I really enjoy nature and rock climbing. Let me know if you want to go sometime.

“Not all who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

John Bivens - Student Pastor

I serve as the student pastor here at UCF, which also is the church that I was raised in. I am married to my best friend, Taylor, and we have the best dog in the world, Peanut. I have my bachelors degree in Psychology and am currently in school to obtain my Masters degree in Christian Leadership. I’m a huge sports guy and a Chick-Fil-a Signature member.

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Joel Garcia - Hispanic Ministries Pastor

Hello! I am Joel Garcia, and I have been serving Upward since 2013 in the Hispanic ministry. I am married to Amanda Garcia. I love soccer, football, and being in nature. Hala Madrid!

"The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?" - Psalm 27:1

Michael Craver - Digital Director

What’s up! My name is Michael Craver and I have served as Upward’s Digital Director since November 2020. I love the fact that I get to be a part of expanding the kingdom’s impact into the digital world. Me and my wife Becca got married in February 2021. I LOVE sports (Go Duke), playing music, and a good movie!

"Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz

Shirley Simmons - Business Administrator

I was raised in the Carolinas. My Father was a minister, so I have been

Involved in church throughout my life. God is an important part of me.

I started attending Upward in the late 1980s at the old church building. After a career in finance/administration, I have served as Treasurer at Upward for almost 9 years. I love to read, play piano, and be surrounded by others. 


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Erica Woods - Receptionist

I was born and raised in Hendersonville, NC. At a younger age, I thought I wanted to leave, but I am so glad I didn’t. I have loved raising my family here! My husband Jammie and I have four kids, Jillian, Karsten, Keely, and Meghan, three son-in-laws, Daniel, Jeffrey, and Benjamin, and three grandchildren, Lakeland, Hadley, and Ellorie. 4 years ago we pulled into the drive way of UCF simply because someone was standing at the road waving. And we knew we had found “our church” (even though we were Baptist LOL). I enjoy walking/hiking, thrifting, and spending time with family and friends.

"To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care."

Jerry Fletcher - Building & Facilities Manager