Josh Merrill -

Sports Pastor / Club Director / Coach

Sports have always run through Josh’s bones—from little league baseball, soccer, and swimming as a child growing up in San Diego, to playing three sports in high school. Josh went on to play college and professional basketball. It wasn’t until his college career at University of California Santa Barbara was over that he began to learn that life was more than a game. It was then that he fully came to know Jesus Christ.

Josh spent six years playing professional basketball internationally. He calls it “missionary basketball,” because in countries like Portugal, Argentina, Australia, Italy, Lebanon, and China, he was able to share his faith in Christ on a personal level through the common bond of sports.

Josh and his wife Angie reside in Simi Valley, CA with their children, Donovan, Kyra and Milani. They hope to have a little basketball team of their own some day. Josh's favorites include surfing, golfing, snowboarding and any sport with a ball.

Matt Ireton -

Youth Sports Pastor / Volunteer Development / Coach

Matt grew up in Southwest of Washington playing sports, making people laugh and enjoying the outdoors in a little place called Kelso. He left Kelso for the big city of Los Angeles to pursue an acting career at the age of 19. While in LA God got ahold of him and forever changed his path. He brought Matt to full time work in Adult Sports Ministry at Shepherd where he was able to combine his passion for sports and love for Jesus. God called Matt and his amazing family of six back to Kelso, WA for an 8 year stint where he served as a Youth Pastor and also worked with athletes through the ministry of FCA leading young people to Christ.

After answering the call back to Shepherd Sports in 2022 Matt is excited to see what The Holy Spirit is going to do through the amazing ministries that Shepherd Sports offers. He believes that every coach and every athlete deserves to hear about the love that Jesus offers and will do whatever it takes to help lead coaches and athletes into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ethan Cottrell -

Adult Sports Director / Volleyball Coach

It’s hard to imagine Ethan without a ball in his hand, especially when you know his dad was a professional baseball player. Ethan loved all sports and was known to create new sports with anything he could find. Sports was his passion, but it wasn’t his only one. In Ethan’s eyes, he was blessed to grow up in a household that was close to God. He attended Shepherd Church and started a journey with Christ when he was just a little boy and has continued that journey into the present day. 

Ethan now coaches volleyball at Alemany high school where he continues to share the amazing outreach opportunity of Jesus and sports. He believes that one day he can become a sports pastor himself and just wants to impact as many people as he can.

Josue Navarro -

Ministry Coordinator / Soccer Coach

If you were to ask Josue, what are three things he is most passionate about, he would say God, Sports, and Music. Being brought up in a Christian home, God has always been his driven force. Josue had a natural talent for sports growing up and soccer became his main sport of choice. He joined various soccer teams starting from the age of five and went on to play travel ball all throughout his teenage years. In High School, Josue played for Taft’s varsity soccer team. He also ran Cross-country and Track and Field. In his junior year, Josue had the 4th best mile time in the city for his division.

After high school, Josue went on to focus on ministry and missionary work. Serving in the church as a worship leader, which he continues to do so till this day. Today he feels extremely bless to be part of the Sports Ministry here at Shepherd Church where he can continue to focus on ministry and missionary work through his passion for sports.

Shayne Carpenter -

Sports Coordinator / Basketball Coach

Shayne grew up a Southern California kid. Born and raised in Simi Valley his love for sports started at a young age. He naturally gravitated towards basketball and a passion for it quickly developed. Shayne played in various recreational leagues and eventually starting club basketball before playing at Simi Valley High School.   After High School Shayne went on to pursue his BA in communication studies. Throughout these years Shayne was introduced to Shepherd Church by his parents, who he thanks for raising him in a Godly home. During the same time Shayne started to feel a strong conviction to start serving God in the church. He soon began to volunteer at Shepherd Sports in the coming years, where he would build lasting relationships. Shayne considers it a great blessing to be a part of such a unique and powerful ministry at Shepherd Sports. He looks forward to continue to serve God and others.

Jason Flowers -

With over 2 decades of successful coaching experience, Jason Flowers currently serves as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Los Angeles City College.

He has been a part of 5 NCAA Division 1 conference championship teams, and coached in 4 NCAA tournaments including 3 as a head coach. He was also part of the California Baptist University coaching staff during the team’s 24-0 regular season campaign during the 2020-21 season. As a player, Flowers was a member of 2 Sweet 16 teams at UCLA after spending his first 2 collegiate seasons at UC Irvine. Flowers has also coached 9 Division 1 conference player of the year award winners at his various stops.