Ridge Burns, Executive Director/CEO
Ridge came to our mission with ten years’ experience as president of Forest Home Ministries in Forest Falls, California. Ridge is an effective leader with extensive experience in youth ministry, Christian camping, home and foreign missions, and new ministry development. His strong commitment to Christ and his desire to know the Lord better each day show through all he has accomplished to further the Kingdom of God.
As executive director of InFaith, Ridge encourages our staff members to use their unique gifts to serve the Lord wholeheartedly in whatever type of ministry God calls them to. Ridge delights in getting to know everyone on our staff personally and has a strong desire to see more young adults get involved in service with InFaith.
Godly parents, married for seventy-two years, provided a stable and loving background for Ridge. He also credits Torchbearers as an influence in his spiritual walk. “I [had] spent my whole life trying to be Christ-like and found a very successful rate of failure in that pursuit,” he says. “The change came from understanding that we can’t be Christ-like, but only Christ can be Christ. Our job is to die to ourselves so Jesus can be Jesus within us. This has become a key point in my life and has released me to be far less stressed and yet far more dependent on Him."
Ridge holds a B.A. in philosophy and biblical studies from Westmont College and M.R.E. and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of five books on youth ministry and has worn red shoes since the 1980s. Ridge met his wife, RobAnne, in college and married her in 1974. They have two grown children: Their son, R.W., is a librarian. He and his wife are the parents of Ridge and RobAnne’s first grandchild, Flora. Their daughter, Barrett, is working on her masters degree in spiritual formations at Denver Seminary.
Brian Mackey, Director of Human Resources
Brian Mackey and Cheryl, his wife of eighteen years, live in a suburb of Philadelphia, where they raise their two boys, ages fifteen and eleven. Brian received his undergraduate degree in chemistry and worked as a scientist for over ten years. During that time Brian faithfully served Christ Community Church of Philadelphia as associate pastor, men's ministry leader, and both leader and participant in various other ministries. Brian has also been afforded the opportunity to teach on both the high school and collegiate level.
Brian first joined InFaith as a staffing coach - which involved bringing candidates through the process of becoming part of the InFaith family - before moving into the role of directing the Human Resources department.
"The most important information about me," Brian says, "is that I'm a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. The love of Jesus found me at a young age. Christ is the center of my life, and it is a great privilege to serve Him with the gifts and talents I've been given. I have a passion for people and love the opportunity to help them grow in Christ. I think of myself as a lighthouse that points people to Jesus by sharing the love God has given me."
Andrea Graver, Senior Director of Innovation
Andrea came to faith in Christ at an early age. “I know growing up my mom and dad always instilled in me a real love for missions, having missionaries visit our home and always encouraging me to think about missions as a life path,” she says. After college, Andrea worked for both an advertising agency and an award-winning design studio. Five years of working in the secular marketplace left her desiring to use her talents in a more meaningful way. “I soon began praying and committing my work and career to the Lord, wherever that would lead me,” she says. “I loved designing print publications but believed that I would even give that up if the Lord would use me for His purposes.”
In her role with innovation, Andrea oversees the “face” InFaith has in secular and Christian marketplaces through its communication and the expansion goals the mission has through recruitment efforts. “It is my hope that our work here will be a light and a place where people feel loved and grow into their identity in Christ. Whether that means taking a first step to receive Him through our field efforts in communication or a step to follow God because their faith calls them into it,” she says.
Andrea and her husband Troy feel blessed to be called to a local church that is identified by their love for one another. The Gravers actively serve on a prayer ministry team and their church café where newcomers are greeted and welcomed on Sunday mornings.
Dan Sheldon, Chief Financial Officer
The rhythm of the home where Dan grew up was God-centered, and his parents instilled in him the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. “Belief in a loving Father God who desired a relationship with me and made a way for me to know Him through the work of Jesus Christ, His only begotten son, came to me as naturally as learning to walk or talk,” Dan says, adding, “I’ve often been guilty of taking my faith for granted, but God does not let me stay long in those places, and in various ways He turns my attention towards Him again. One of those times came as I reflected on Ephesians 1:3 after the death of my father; I realized I truly have been ‘blessed with every spiritual blessing’ – far beyond my ability to describe in words.”
Dan attended Wheaton College for two years, and then transferred to Gordon College. It was at Gordon he met and fell in love with Deborah Oliveira, a godly young woman who loved him back. They were married in 1984 and have been blessed with four children.
Though he studied history and secondary education in college, Dan never did teach high-school history after his time of student teaching. He spent a few years casting about for a career before landing at a Christian nonprofit. Finding a place in non-profit finance and administration, Dan realized that God was calling him to serve this way in His Kingdom. He went to school at night and earned an MBA from Widener University.
“As a college student I can remember sitting way up in the rafters of the arena at the University of Illinois, attending the Urbana Mission Conference,” Dan says. “It was New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1979, and Billy Graham was delivering the closing message. He spoke about giving our lives in service to God and closed by asking everyone who was willing to follow God’s call to serve Him to stand up. I stayed glued to my seat, certain that I was the only one in the whole arena who was too selfish, too frightened, too unwilling to totally surrender control to God’s leading. But God would have His way with my life, anyway. And for the last twenty-five years it has been the joy of my life to serve Him with the my skills and gifts in non-profit finance and administration.”
Considering the call to service one of God’s many blessings, Dan has been serving with InFaith since Fall 2012. The spiritual blessings God has given him overflow to our mission as he oversees financial details for our donors and staff.