Vision & Mission
Apprentices of Jesus
"5 Talent" Disciples
Fully Equipped Churches with 100 Disciples
Bill Lohnes believes every ministry needs to start with a troubled heart. His passion for discipleship is based on two current statistics from the Barna Group, a leading faith and culture research organization:
- Less than 1 in 10 Christians walk like authentic Christians
- 75% of Christian youth who attend college fall away from Christianity prior to graduating
“If we become lukewarm in our faith, how can we expect our children to have a foundation for their behavior or their witness?” Bill asks.
A Midwesterner raised in the Lutheran church, Bill moved to Atlanta in 1992, with his wife, Paula, and two children, to pursue a job opportunity in his field of finance. Occasionally attending a neighborhood church with his family, Bill preferred to sleep in on Sundays and watch his favorite bass fishing show. But, his 13-year-old daughter, Holly, quickly made friends at church and began to attend regularly, eventually becoming involved in a youth discipleship program.
In 1998, a series of events, including a devastating job loss and Holly’s witness to him at the foot of his bed, led Bill to attend a Bible study in a couple’s home. Four years later, after being faithfully mentored by Christian discipler, John Musselman, Bill surrendered his life to Christ and committed himself to discipleship.
Bill and Paula joined Mount Pisgah UMC in January 2003. During the same year, Bill left a highly successful career with a series of high profile investment firms to rededicate himself to his family and start his own financial planning business focused on using biblical principles. At the same time, he began forging a path for Narrow Gate, with the goal of giving away as much information on Christian discipleship to as many people as possible.
Paula Lohnes grew up in a small Ohio town as a “cultural” Christian who received salvation at age 14 during an evangelist’s visit to town. From that point until age 54, she describes her life as 40 years “wondering” in the desert. An honors student and gifted athlete, Paula developed questions about her faith in college as she was exposed to many good people whose beliefs ranged from Judaism to atheism. While her own belief in God never wavered, she drifted to a philosophy of relativism, concluding that truth was not absolute, but rather relative to frame of reference.
After a college knee injury sidelined her athletic pursuits, Paula graduated and became a wife and mother of two. Although she stayed involved in sports as a high school coach, even an active life could not keep her from suffering with mild depression as her husband, Bill, became highly successful in his career. A reconnection with another passion, tennis, provided some fulfillment as she officiated professional matches over the next 13 years.
As life continued, Paula continued to ponder its purpose. She explored Shirley’s MacLaine’s book about reincarnation and interviewed a female minister she admired, but no answers were revealed. She began to challenge her own perceptions of relative truth, wondering, “How can everything be true?”
In 1992, the Lohnes family moved from the Midwest to Atlanta, and 13-year-old daughter, Holly, began attending church as well as a youth discipleship program. One Sunday evening, Holly broke into tears at the edge of her mother’s bed. “Mom and Dad,” Holly said, “I’m afraid I’m not going to see you in heaven.” At that moment, Paula became a seeker of God’s truth. Four years later, after a series of intensive Bible studies, Paula surrendered her heart to Christ 40 years after her original date of salvation, but only a month after her husband had taken the same leap of faith.
In 2003, Paula and Bill joined Mount Pisgah UMC, where Bill was led to introduce a group of men to the discipleship study he had just completed. Witnessing the positive changes in her husband gave Paula the desire to follow suit in women’s ministry.
Mark Danzey is a DiscipleLife Pastor at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Georgia. He is a native of Miami, Florida, but has lived in north Georgia all of his adult life. He and his wife, Tammy, have been married since 2003, and have four grown children. He has held a pastoral position in four different United Methodist churches since 1993.
Mark has a Masters in Pastoral Ministry from Erskine Theological Seminary. He also is a certified pastoral sexual addiction professional, a registered domestic/divorce mediator, a certified personal and professional life coach and an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. Mark leads two covenant groups of disciple makers per week, and teaches annually at the Moscow Seminary on disciple making.
In his spare time, Mark enjoys golf, cycling to work, woodworking, hunting, life coaching, and discipling others. In the fall season, he is an avid football fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Miami Dolphins.
Tammy Danzey is a communications manager at Southern Company, an American gas and electric utility holding company. Born in Macon, Georgia, she has spent most of her life in Atlanta but has lived in small Georgia towns such as Statesboro and Jesup, as well as cities including Houston and Brussels.
She and her husband, Mark, have four children. Tammy has been a corporate communications professional for corporations, agencies and her own clients for more than 30 years.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Marketing Management from the University of Georgia.
In her spare time, Tammy enjoys entertaining family and friends, discipling women, designing and renovating homes, decorating, playing piano and golf, gardening and cheering for her Georgia Bulldogs.
The Word speaks of the blessing of the Lord, from the olive leaf that marked the end of the Flood -Genesis 8:11 – to the two “olive trees,” witnesses who prepare for Christ’s Second Coming – Zechariah 4:3, 4:11-14, Revelation 11:4. Olive trees are typically planted in orchards or groves enclosed by a hedge or stone wall and called “oliveyards” in the King James Version – Joshua 24:13, 1 Samuel 8:14, II Kings 5:26, Nehemiah 5:11, 9:25 . Kings and Priests were anointed with the oil – I Samuel 10:1, Psalm 45:7, Leviticus 8:10, 30. Christians are instructed to anoint the sick with olive oil when praying for their recovery – James 5:14