Our Staff

Godwhy Church John Mcclendon

John McLendon

Senior Pastor

I have been in full time ministry for 39 years. I graduated from Trevecca college with a degree in biblical studies and received my masters degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Vastly more important than that, I love people and want you to have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers to who God is, how He is working in the world and know that He truly does love you. I am a communicator not a preacher. I will combine life situations and Biblical truth with humor, animation, and sincerity. Religion made me cranky, prideful and judgmental but I am getting over that. I found real faith expresses itself in openness, honesty and love. I assure you I do not have it all together but after years of relationship with Christ I have some good news and I would love to have an opportunity to share it with you. ‘Til we meet in person.

Godwhy Church Hendersonville JD Wiggins

JD Wiggins

Creative Arts Pastor

J.D. began playing music professionally at age 17, while still in high school. After graduation, he studied music and drama at Oklahoma University, in Norman, OK and University of Central Oklahoma, in Edmond, OK. When, at age 31, J.D. committed his life to serving God, he started on a journey which took him to the Vineyard Church, in Oklahoma City where he quickly became the Musical Director and later the Worship Leader at a new Vineyard Church, in Guthrie, OK. In 1993, J.D. and his family moved to Nashville.

Godwhy Church Hendersonville Jennifer Mazzola

Jenn Mazzola

Family Life Pastor

“Is the church really leading like Jesus?” That was one of the first questions that Jennifer had when she started attending GodWhy. Being raised in the Nashville area, the heart of the Bible-Belt, Jennifer was not in church most of her life but was reminded often of what a relationship with God “should look like.” During her college years in Boston, MA she found a truth outside of systems and traditions that would forever change her life.
Being in ministry for nearly twenty years now, and a graduate of Vanderbilt University with her Master’s in Theological Studies, Jennifer has a passion to see lives change through relationships and community. A proud mother of two busy teenage boys and married to an amazing guy, Sal, Jennifer has committed her life to exploring the claims and leadership style of Christ, to showing people that we can’t just do this Christian thing on our own and that God has space for all our questions and desires to meet us in the midst of any struggle. In addition to teaching, managing staff and coordinating small groups, Jennifer also loves responding to our “GodWhy questions” as they are submitted online. She loves healthy conversation and believes we are sharpened and our faith increases through passionate dialogue. So, what’s your question?

Godwhy Church Hendersonville Ashley Lyle

Ashley Lyle

Student Ministries Director

I grew up in church and always believed in God, but never quite understood what it looked like to have a real relationship with Him. That all changed 8 years ago when I walked into the doors of GodWhy. I have learned and grown so much since that day and am thankful for the journey God has taken me on. It is honor to oversee the students of GodWhy and watch them change, grow, and learn in their relationship with God!


Dana Rish

Preschool Director

I once heard it said “children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven”. Getting to help show God’s love to these amazing kids is the realization of my life’s goal and, honestly, some of the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s my mission to raise my children in a healthy, Godly way, be the best wife and friend I can be, and provide families with encouragement and resources to grow together in Christ.


Deanna Atkins

Church Administrator

I am the mother of 4 wonderful boys and married to Marty Atkins. We have moved several times throughout the course of our marriage but are thrilled to now call the Hendersonville/Gallatin area our permanent home. Once all 4 boys began school full time I found myself with some time on my hands and began to volunteer at GodWhy. An opportunity arose and I was so very blessed to be asked to join the staff as the church administrator and bookkeeper. I also serve on the hospitality team as well as in KidTown at the check in station and can occasionally be seen working with the creative arts team. I love the Lord and have a heart to serve and am honored to be a part of the GodWhy team and do life with such an incredible group of people.

Godwhy Church Hendersonville Kari Russell

Kari Russell

Care & Concern Coordinator

I’m a mother of three beautiful kids and married to Cody Russell. We have been through a lot these past few years as my son Brooks was diagnosed with cancer right before his fourth birthday. It has been a difficult but amazing journey for our whole family. Through everything, we have seen God bring us closer together in our marriage, our family and our church family. I have also seen God work within myself and bring out a passion for others in times of need. I have a heart for being there for and empowering those after the loss of a loved one or during a medical crisis.