Meet the Team

Rev. J. Matthew Barnes, PhD — Vice President of Formation

Matt Barnes is honored and privileged to serve as the Vice President of Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary, beginning in January of 2022. Matt grew up in West Texas among the oil and football fields. He earned a BA in Psychology from Hardin-Simmons University and an MDiv from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. Moving to Southern California, Matt completed his PhD in New Testament at Fuller Seminary and served the church in very diverse settings as a lay leader, church staff member, academic, commissioned missionary, interim pastor, and senior pastor. He was ordained in a Texas Baptist church in 2004, which was subsequently recognized by Transformation Ministries in Southern California in 2018.

Matt loves Jesus, his wife (Alida), his three boys (Myron, Smith, and Toby), prayer, calling people to the grand adventure of following Jesus, community development, the academic study of the Bible, theology, pastoral counseling, writing, preaching, playing guitar, hiking, camping, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Chicago Cubs. Seeing the church change the world by making disciples and not merely converts is Matt’s deepest desire, and fulfilling Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for unity among those who believe in the Apostles’ message is a close second.  

Rev. Jessica LaGrone — Dean of Chapel - Kentucky

Jessica LaGrone became the Dean of the Chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, in 2014. She is an acclaimed pastor, teacher, speaker and writer whose engaging communication style endears her to groups throughout the United States. A native of Texas, Jessica is an ordained pastor in the Texas Annual Conference in the United Methodist Church and previously served for nine years at The Woodlands United Methodist Church near Houston, Texas.

Jessica’s books and studies include Namesake: When God Rewrites Your Story; Under Wraps; Broken and Blessed: How God Used One Imperfect Family to Change the World; Set Apart: Holy Habits of Prophets and Kings; and The Miracles of Jesus. These books have been used in personal and group studies around the world. Jessica is a contributor to an all-church Advent study called Under Wraps and is the New Testament video presenter for the Disciple Fast Track series.

Jessica and her husband, Jim, have two young children, Drew and Kate.

Tracey Farrell — Director of Asbury Global Formation

Tracey Farrell graduated with her M.Div. from Asbury Seminary in 1997 and with her Masters in Counseling in 1998. Tracey has served alongside her husband in the local church for twenty five years. Together they have served four churches. Over the years, Tracey has served as minister to adults, small group coordinator, hospitality coordinator, co-planter of a young family worshiping community, founder of Hillside Counseling Center in Woodstock, Ga., designer and manager of The Table outreach venue (a ministry of LifeSong Church in Orlando, FL). Tracey has also spent many years working in the field of counseling and currently works with HeartPeace Counseling Center with her husband Tim as they minister to married couples.

Tracey and Tim have two children. Their son will be attending Asbury Seminary on the Kentucky campus in the Fall. Their daughter will begin college this Fall in Florida. Their family adventures through ministry will serve as meaningful experiences Tracey will draw on as she walks with the global Asbury Seminary students as the Director of Global Formation.

Mrs. Abigail Sipe — Executive Assistant to the VP of Formation

Abi grew up in Central Pennsylvania, where she enjoyed working on the family horse farm. She received her MA in Mental Health Counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary. Abi is married to Lydon, and they have two children, Tobi and William. Abi is passionate about seeing people transformed into who God has created them to be.