Paul Burgess

Paul Burgess

Senior Pastor

“Do what makes your heart sing.”


That was somewhat of a chorus for Becky Knott, the youth minister at First Baptist Church in Smithfield, NC. She said it often throughout her ministry, and for at least one of her youth, a slightly short, slightly shy seventh grader named Paul Burgess, it stuck.


When Paul graduated from the youth group and went on to college, he carried Becky’s mantra with him—and it set a high standard. As he considered different majors and career paths, Paul frustratedly discovered that none of them placed a passionate tune in his heart. Desperate for some guidance, Paul decided to put himself in Becky’s shoes and spent a summer as a youth minister in a small local church. And then he heard the music.


The experience set in motion a holy adventure that Paul pursued to divinity school at Campbell University, then on to various NC churches in Chapel Hill, Smithfield, Clayton, and Benson. In the fall of 2017, the adventure brought Paul here to Winter Park, where he preaches and teaches and loves and serves with joy, because his journey has brought him to the happy conviction that pastoral ministry is his calling, it’s what makes his heart sing.


Following that song led Paul to his wife, Eliza, with whom he has two sons; together, they stretch his love to new depths every day. When he isn’t spending time with them, Paul enjoys running, yard work, adding to his bow tie collection, and watching the beginning of movies before falling asleep on the couch.