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Our Staff - Demo

Elder Team


Matt Hahn | Lead Pastor

Matt graduated with both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Liberty University. Prior to moving to Columbia, SC, to accept the Lead Pastor role, Matt served for five years as a Teaching Pastor in Cary, NC at The Creek Church. He was also blessed to have had the opportunity to be trained by the pastors at the Summit Church and continues to be a part of their mentorship program through the Summit Network.

In 2006 Matt was married to his college sweetheart, Erica. Together they have three girls and enjoy making trips to the zoo and just being together. He considers himself blessed to serve at Awaken and looks forward to preaching Christ crucified, buried and resurrected in the days ahead.

Email Matt at


Tony received his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and his graduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas.  Prior to accepting the Pastor of Care and Connections role at Awaken, he first served six years as Associate Pastor of Activities and Senior Adults at First Baptist Church in Paris, TX.  Following his time at First Baptist, he served fifteen years as Pastor of Senior Adults and Pastoral Care at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA.  He was then called to serve as the Lead Pastor of Gillionville Baptist Church where he served for 13 years.

Tony and Teri, married for 41 years, have been blessed with 4 children (2 daughters and 2 sons) who are married and collectively have 11 grandchildren to date.  Their greatest joy is having their entire family in their home at the same time. 

Email Tony at

Brad whitelaw | Student pastor

Brad graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Youth Ministry from Briercrest Bible college in Saskatchewan, Canada and two years ago, graduated from Columbia International University with his Master of Arts in Biblical Exposition.  Prior to moving to Columbia, Brad served as a Student Ministry pastor at Prairieview Community Church in Regina, Saskatchewan (2yrs), at University Drive Alliance Church, in Lethbridge, Alberta (4 yrs), and lastly at West Park Church in London, Ontario (5yrs).  He also served with Awaken staff as a volunteer while he was attending Columbia International University.

In 2001, Brad was married to his beautiful wife Cortney Whitelaw.  Together they have two children, Haley(’06) and Hayden(’12).  Brad and his family don’t like to sit still.  They like to stay active.  They love adventure, sports, music, the beach, trying new things, making fun family memories and doing anything that will cause them to test their fears.

Brad and Cortney have an absolute love for students and partnering with families to promote discipleship within the home.  They also enjoy using their lives to live on mission, using the gospel to point people to God.  Brad and his family consider themselves blessed to be in Columbia and especially to be part of the Awaken family.  

Michael tandon | lay Elder

I was born in Columbia, SC, where I’ve lived the majority of his life.  I was saved at the age of 9 and baptized soon thereafter.  The Lord led me to Awaken in March 2010.  I served on Guest Services and eventually led the team for five years.  I also was part of the Advisory Team tasked with searching for Pastor Jay’s replacement, have led community groups, am currently leading the Homeless Ministry, and have served in whatever facet I can.  Over the past few years, I have felt God preparing me for an eldership role, and have had several people close to me affirm this calling.  My desire is to serve Him and His Church however He sees fit.
I graduated from the University of South Carolina in Business Management and Political Science.  I am currently a Managing Partner at Trinity Management & Development Company, where I manage commercial and residential property.  I married my wife, Keah, in 2012.  We have a soon to be 3-year-old son named Malachi and another one on the way.


Jed Stevens | Discipleship Pastor

Jed graduated from North Greenville University in 2013 with his B.A. in Media Ministry. He is passionate about teaching the truth of God’s word, and for sharing the Gospel with all the world, as commanded in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). He served in various musical and technical roles in churches throughout high school and college, including an internship at Abner Creek Baptist Church in Greer, SC. Jed is excited to begin his role as Discipleship Pastor at Awaken and share the love of Jesus with the city of Columbia!

In 2013, Jed married his high school sweetheart, Savannah, after a nearly 4-year engagement. They are mildly obsessed with good music, coffee, and books. More often than not, you’ll find Jed with a musical instrument, a book, or some piece of technology. Savannah, meanwhile, is often found with a camera, an antique, or a craft project. Together, they love to play board games and have good conversation over coffee or hot tea.  

Email Jed at

James Bare | Executive Pastor

James graduated from College of Charleston with a BS in Biology-Premed and has his Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary in Biblical Counseling.  He has been blessed to have served in various pastoral roles at Awaken since 2011.  Currently, he serves as the Executive Pastor at Awaken and works as a cardiac technologist in a cardiac cath lab at a local hospital.

In 2000, James was married to his beautiful wife Jenny.  They have three boys and are on the waiting list to adopt a girl from Ethiopia.  James and his family enjoy anything being together.  In particular they love the beach and music.  They love serving God together as a family at Awaken and being a part of the great things God is doing and will do in Columbia and throughout the world!

Email James at

Tom Dundr | Lay elder

Tom and Karen have been married for nearly 44 years. They have been blessed with 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Their children all live in this region, so they moved from Ohio to Columbia to be able to enjoy living close to their family. 

The Lord saved Tom in July, 1978. He served in his previous church for 25 years where he served as a deacon, worship leader, and drummer. He now facilitates Awaken's Inductive Bible Study, leads a small group in Lexington, and serves as part of our security team. He and Karen have been partners at Awaken for about 18 months. According to Tom, "[my] desire is to serve Christ with the days I'm blessed with."



NICOLE Smart | Awaken Kids director

Nicole graduated with her bachelor’s degree from California State University Northridge and her post baccalaureate certification in Elementary Education from Western Governor’s University.  Nicole is originally from Southern California but has lived in North Carolina and Okinawa, Japan before coming to South Carolina.  Before accepting the role of Awaken Kids Director, Nicole taught many diverse age groups, ranging in age from birth to 12th grade in a variety of settings. 

In 2000, Nicole married a Marine and the love of her life, David.  They have two daughters and enjoy going to the beach and spending time together as a family.   She is humbled to serve the families of Awaken through the AKids ministry and counts it a blessing to be part of Awaken. 

Email Nicole at



Joel graduated from high school in 2012, and is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Religion through Liberty University Online. As a teenager, he spent several years playing guitar and leading worship in various bands and churches. 

In 2015, Joel married Chelsea, whom he met while leading worship for a small group of college students. The two of them are seeking to build a Godly marriage and household  and enjoy being an active part of the Awaken body. They also enjoy used bookstores, adventuring outdoors, and watching a good movie or two on Netflix. Joel is thrilled to be leading worship at Awaken, and is faithful that God will continue to bring forth abundant blessings in the years to come.

Email Joel at