Raised as the only child of a minister in Northern Alabama, Lindell Cooley was surrounded by ministry and music throughout his formative years. His first practical musical experience came when he was taught to play the tambourine at the age of five. From there, he went on to play the drums, bass guitar, organ and piano.
Nearly three decades later, he currently serves as president of Music Missions International (MMI) and Pastor at Grace Church: Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee.
Looking back on his early days as a budding musician and worship leader, Cooley is still surprised by the orchestrating hand that carefully prepared him for his current position. “My family and I often did concerts in addition to regular church services,” he recalls. “It was when they needed to produce a custom recording for radio stations that I learned to make records.”
At 21, Cooley was spending part of his time playing the piano with Christian musicians Lenny LeBlanc and Rusty Goodman and the other part serving as associate and children’s pastor in his father’s church. But he knew he had a destiny to fulfill and, at the age of 28, he set off to find it.
Cooley moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and began working at Christ Church as an assistant music minister. Two years later, he left Christ Church to become a studio musician and an independent producer. In the fall of 1994, Lindell Cooley visited Brownsville Assembly and met with Pastor John Kilpatrick. In February of 1995, Kilpatrick needed a music minister and believed Lindell was God’s choice for the position. After initially turning down the job, Cooley accepted and arrived in April of 1995. Two months later, while Lindell was away on a missions trip to the Ukraine, a historic revival began.
After 10 years as music minister for the Brownsville Revival, In January of 2004, Lindell moved back to Nashville, TN and began to plant Grace Church: Nashville. He currently resides in Franklin, TN with his wife Amber and two sons, Samuel and Isaac.
Larry Day’s three decades of business and ministry experience have provided the perfect preparation for his current position wearing twin hats: vice president of Music Missions International (MMI) and executive pastor of Grace Church: Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, where Day kicked off his professional music career, the Vermont native later studied music at the University of Northern Colorado. After four years as music director of a production company, Larry co-founded Diadem Music Group in Nashville, Tennessee in 1987, and was its executive vice president for 10 years.
Then came the call from Lindell Cooley in 1996 and Larry moved to Pensacola, Florida to help launch MMI. That move included attending services at Brownsville Assembly of God. The church hosted a revival that erupted in June of 1995 and lasted into the next decade, which attracted several million visitors and persuaded hundreds of thousands to follow Christ.
A resident of Spring Hill TN, Larry and his wife, Marilyn, have two sons, Adam and Samuel.
Cindy HildrethDirector of Ministry Operations
Cindy is a native of Pensacola, FL and grew up attending Brownsville Assembly of God. She was raised in a family that loved the Lord, and attended Christian school her entire educational life.
In 1997, after the Brownsville Revival had been going strong for two years, she began working for Music Missions International - first, as a volunteer, simply selling Lindell Cooley’s early worship music in the church lobby. About 6 months after beginning as a volunteer, Cindy became MMI’s first full-time employee.
Then, when Lindell Cooley and Larry Day, along with their families, felt the move of God to come to Franklin, TN to start Grace Church: Nashville, Cindy was an obvious addition to the fledgling Grace family.
Marilyn Day (Pastor Larry’s wife) and Cindy began the nursery at Grace when the church launched. While she hadn’t ever felt a specific ‘call’ to children’s ministry, her servant’s heart saw the need and met it - the obvious progression as she began teaching children at the age of 15. Since then, Cindy has been assisting in the church’s ministry operations as well as serving each Sunday as the leader of the 4-5 year olds classroom. Her favorite part of working with the kids is to see their eyes light up when she’s talking about God and they just “get it…” the “it” that means God really created everything. That He is everywhere.
Lauren HodgeYoung Adults Leader + Volunteer Coordinator
For as long as she remembers, Lauren Gardner was in church. The first service she attended was at two weeks old, and she never looked back. Lauren is the daughter of Landy and Joy Gardner, the founders of Christ Church Choir at Christ Church: Nashville, and the directors of the recent Grace Church Choir.
Born and raised in Nashville, Lauren left for a short time to attend the University of Georgia and Samford University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, specializing in Advertising and PR. She also minored in French, reflecting her heart to reach the nations with the gospel.
She has worked in full-time church ministry as the Communications Director and as the Missions and Outreach Director for Christ Church: Nashville. In addition to church work, Lauren has run a non-profit organization since 2009, Hope Rise, that offers help and assistance to Bhutanese-Nepali refugees displaced to Nashville. She is also on the leadership team of Awakening, a worship movement in Nashville that is a ministry sponsored by Grace.
Her heart for missions and evangelism has led her to put time into international mission trips in addition to the local missions work she does with Hope Rise. She has been on over 10 mission trips and personally led 6.
Burke ZackYouth Director
Born in Dallas, TX and a resident of Corsicana, TX, Burke Zack was not always the man he is today. He grew up with no church background and found himself bound up in a great deal of addiction, depression, and worldly living.
He attended Savannah College of Art & Design, graduating with a Bachelor’s in sound design with a film and television minor. Since his teenage years, Burke has been producing his own rap music - though it looks much different now than it did then.
After several confrontations with the truth of Christ, a few friends intent on pursuing Burke with the love of Christ, and a radical encounter with the Holy Spirit, Burke gave his life to the Lord. Months later, he moved to Nashville on the promise of a job that fell through as soon as he arrived in town. However, God led each step of the way. Burke was part of a group of guys (mostly Belmont students) that began Fire Night at Belmont University, which has now developed into a fire-starting revival worship movement on their campus.
Then, after a couple of years in the city, much of that time attending Grace Church: Nashville, he had the opportunity to put his passion for evangelism and preaching to work by starting as the church’s youth director.