The Fit Pastors Team

It takes a team of coaches to serve pastors, church leaders, and individuals all around the nation. Meet the people who help help unfit people get fit for the Kingdom.

Ricky Van Pay

Founder / Executive Director

As the Executive Director, Ricky steers the vision, spiritual direction, overall health, and culture of Fit Pastors. He leads the strategic efforts for long-term communication plans and guides the Fit Pastors staff team and advisory board in the execution of strategies. He excels at translating ministry goals into solutions that achieve measured results. Ricky grew up in the church as the son of a pastor. He graduated from Southwestern A/G University in Texas and has spent the last 15 years in student ministry, as a church planter and chaplain. You can read here about his inspiring journey of losing over 80 pounds never to be found again and coaching certifications. That journey is what ignited his passion to spread a movement that will challenge unfit pastors and churches to get fit holistically. His calling isn’t to just help unfit pastors and churches, but also is called to the ministry of spandex. In 2012, he became the first endorsed triathlon chaplain within his denomination and birthed Iron One. He lives in the Dallas, Texas area with his three children – Camden, Cale, and Ainsley. He loves to take hikes with his kids, bag Colorado 14’ERS, participate in triathlons, watch the Broncos, and is a part of Red Sox nation.


Kristin Cook


Kristin is passionate about seeing people not only grow spiritually, but also take care of their bodies physically in order to carry out the destiny of God on their life. Kristin is a licensed minister and currently serves as the Director of SUM West Monroe Bible College and Theological Seminary. In 2013, she began Crossfit and her love for exercise and understanding of proper nutrition grew even more. Kristin has always had a passion for health and fitness and is thrilled at the opportunity to be able to help others and intertwine her two loves: ministry and fitness.


Jeanne Douthit


Jeanne Douthit is a wife and mother of three. Twelve years ago she was an observer into her own life. She was sitting on the sidelines watching life pass her by. Her and her husband were in full time ministry at the time, and food had become her constant companion. It hurt to just live life. She had no energy, felt disconnected, was between a rock and a hard place and something had to change. That change started with a prayer for help and turning around. At 236 pounds, she was morbidly obese and her BMI qualified her for gastric bypass, but she didn’t feel that was the right path for her, so she started changing one step at a time and one bite at a time. As she started to see success, people were drawn to her and were asking how she was doing it. Those requests for help led her down the path of certification in NASM. It was a good start, and then she certified as a Medical Exercise Specialist because obesity causes a multitude of orthopedic and medial challenges. While she was pregnant with her third child, she certified in nutrition and found her missing piece. Coaching people and helping them strategize their journey to health is how she pays it forward.


Diane Hood


Diane Hood, along with her husband Ken, run Body Mechanix Athletics where they focus on injury prevention/treatment for athletes and active people; training programs for multi-sport athletes; and provide wellness programs and consulting for area businesses and individuals. She is thrilled for the opportunity to coach with Fit Pastors. After her record setting collegiate running career, Diane began competing in Duathlons and Triathlons. Upon meeting Ken, an avid cyclist who taught her how to compete on the bike, she qualified as a member of the U.S. National Team and competed in 3 World Championships in Australia, Mexico and Italy. Diane is a 4-time All-American for USA Triathlon, also chosen as an All-American by Inside Triathlon and Triathlete Magazines and is a 1995 Inductee into the Southwest Missouri State University Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame. She is a 1992 Gateway Conference All-Decade Cross-Country Team Selection. She is also the 2005 MO State Time Trial Champion. Diane graduated from Southwest MO State University (now called Missouri State University) with a degree in Marketing with an emphasis on Advertising. She later went back to college to get her certification as an Athletic Trainer and license as a Massage Therapist. Diane combines her love for ministry with her knowledge, education and experience in the fields of athletics, business and therapeutic modalities, to offer a unique mix of expertise as a Fit Pastors coach.

Julie Mullins


Julie Mullins is a co-founder of Zao Fit, a ministry focused on helping people get fit holistically. She has been in youth ministry with her husband, Jerry Mullins, for the last 17+ years. They recently resigned from their church to start ZaoFit and to coach with Fit Pastors. Julie has a heart for working with women helping them live healthier lives. She leads running groups and “stay active” challenges. Julie works cleaning houses and has three children, Raelee, Randy and Rylan. Her favorite way to stay active is running; she has been running since 2008 and recently ran her 7th marathon. You can read more about Julie on her blog

Jennifer Welch


Jennifer is 38 years old and was born and raised in Haughton, Louisiana. She’s been married to her high school sweetheart, Shannon, for 16 years. They have three sons, Garrett (14), Gage (12), and Graham (6) andlive in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she is an 8th grade English teacher. In 2008, after her mom had triple bypass surgery due to an unhealthy lifestyle, she made a decision that month to join Weight Watchers. She was 70 pounds overweight. Weight Watchers taught her to change her lifestyle one decision at a time. She was taught to eat healthy and exercise. Six months later, she reached her first weight loss goal. A year later, she was working for Weight Watchers as a leader, encouraging others to reach their own weight loss goals. She vowed to never forget what it felt like to set a personal health goal and reach it. It was powerful. That was just the beginning. She set out to run her first 5K, and it wasn’t long after that, she was training for her first half marathon. Today, she has lost a total of 70 pounds, has run a number of half marathons, one marathon, and completed her first sprint triathlon this past summer. She has learned, with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. To God be all the GLORY! He is faithful! As a Fit Pastors coach, She looks forward to challenging others to throw off the things that hinder them as they move forward in reclaiming their health for the Kingdom!


Misty Valkanet


While working a corporate job and working alongside her husband in ministry for 10 years, Misty loved working out as a way to just be free. She realized how at peace she was during long runs and wanted to help others rediscover what a healthy body feels like. After quitting her job, she went back to school to earn her Associates Degree in Health and Wellness and certificate for personal training through ACSM. She now gets to participate in ministry and coach clients along the way to a healthier whole person. The beauty is when they can work together which is what she tells her clients as to why she does what she does!!! For Misty, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a client walk for another 10 years, or an athlete reach his goal race time, or a mom/dad play with their children at the park. We all have our own personal reasons for wanting to lose weight, train, or just be healthy. Misty’s desire is to help those she coaches reach their realistic desired goals, whatever they might be. What started as working out consistently to lose some unwanted baby weight, became Misty’s favorite hobby, that eventually turned into her career. She loves pushing her body to obtain new goals,and in a world where things often can’t be controlled, she likes knowing she has some say in what her mind, body, and heart can do. When you say, know, and feel you can do something…you can!


Shawn Reine


Shawn loves helping pastors and church leaders get connected into Fit Pastors. It makes sense that the name of the church he planted in Highlands Ranch, CO is Connection Church. He grew up in the cajun country of Louisana, right outside New Orleans living the “Fried Life”. He understands the context of trying to stay fit in ministry as he spent time in Master’s Commission, student ministry for over 12 years, and is a frequent speaker at youth camps and national conferences. He enjoys running and has completed several marathons and triathlons. Shawn loves the outdoors and enjoys camping, hiking, skiing and everything Colorado. You can click here to read about his fitness journey of losing over 50 pounds never to be found again.

Jerry Mullins


Jerry Mullins is co-founder of ZaoFit, a ministry with the mission of helping people get healthy holistically. He is a minister with the Assemblies of God and has been a youth pastor for seventeen years in two churches. As a youth pastor, the fast food, long nights, and lack of regular exercise was taking a toll on his body. It was becoming obvious by the weight gain and loss of energy that his health status was not good. In the spring of 2009, he took his first step toward a healthy lifestyle. He cut soda out of his diet and added some simple Wii workouts. Since then he has become an avid runner and a student of health and nutrition. God healed his knee making it possible for him to run; he completed his first marathon in June of 2013. Jerry loves the running community, and constantly connects in the community through running groups, running road and trail races, and volunteering at local running events. He is currently certified as a personal trainer with NCCPT, and through his own health journey, God has given him a passion to help others reach their full potential.

Daryn Pederson


Daryn pastors a church in rural South Dakota. He was an obese pastor, but with God’s help and Fit Pastors, Daryn is now on a journey of health. Daryn has lost over 80 pounds in 2014. The bigger story is the confidence and credibility Daryn has gained in his church and his community. He also gained a passion for nutrition and fitness. He has participated in a sprint triathlon, 5k’s and a 10k. He now enjoys and has the energy for being active with his family as they discover health together. He passionately wants that for every pastor and knows that if he is doing it, you can. With a pastor’s heart, Daryn will coach with compassion, and encourage and challenge you on your journey to reclaim your health for the Kingdom!

Curtis Tucker


For the past 30 years, Curtis has served in various pastoral ministry roles; the past 14 as senior pastor of Westwood Christian Fellowship in Weatherford, Texas. About 20 years ago, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (the insulin dependent type). Up until that point, he believed he was an extremely healthy person. He never had a weight problem, and as a result, his eating habits were mostly typical Texan; everything fried, lots of sweets, and a strong Dr. Pepper habit. After his diagnosis, he learned more about nutrition, fitness, and healthy lifestyles. Now at 52 years old, he is reaping some benefits from being forced to change some of his lifestyle habits. For the most part, it’s simply an act of self-discipline in order to control the disease that affects his body. He strongly believes that how we care for and discipline ourselves physically is an indication of our ability to discipline ourselves spiritually. He works hard to maintain a healthy body so that physical limitations do not interfere with how he fulfills God’s calling upon his life, how he ministers to his church, or how he functions with his family. His desire is to help others, especially fellow pastors, accomplish that same goal.

Shannon Welch


Shannon is 40 years old and grew up in Haughton, Louisiana. He met his wife, Jennifer, in high school, and they have dated ever since. They have been married for 15 years and have 3 boys: Garrett, Gage, and Graham. He attended LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and has been an emergency veterinarian for the past 11 years. He has never had a weight problem, but he has not always been healthy. He has a crazy work schedule and working out consistently and eating right has always been so difficult. He and Jennifer began a journey after the birth of their third child, Graham, to live healthier lives. They started by running for 30 minutes and then trained for their first 5k. He really just wanted the free tech t-shirt that was included, but he did start and finish that race. Though he didn’t even come close to winning, it was the stepping stone to living healthier. He has now run multiple 5k’s, several half marathons, a marathon (just a few hours behind world record pace), and a couple of triathlons, even though he seems to swim like a rock. The competition of living healthy and active is with yourself. Set goals, find someone to keep you accountable, and finish the race. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7


John Martin


John is a pastor who has lived and served in Louisiana all of his life.  He is the husband to one and father to three boys.  From an early age, John has loved the outdoors and playing sports. Over the years, bad eating habits, and a sedentary life found himself overweight and unable to do many things. He was borderline diabetic, had high blood pressure and out of shape.  His lifelong friend, Shawn Reine, was preaching youth camps in 2014 and spoke about Fit Pastors.  He felt compelled to respond to the challenge.  Since joining the Fit Pastors team in August, John has lost nearly 70 pounds, runs 3 times a week, and has lead two other pastors through their own weight loss/fitness journey.  John is inspired about helping others not only in their own spiritual journey, but also on regaining their own physical health.


Brandon Newman


Brandon is a certified personal trainer through NASM, as well as a missionary and church planter in Scotland.  He was an athlete in high school, but didn’t take his health or fitness seriously throughout his 20’s and early 30’s. His “fitness rebirth” began after weighing himself one morning and realizing he’d hit a weight he never thought he could or would. “I was the guy that would take the Tupperware mixing bowl and use it as a cereal bowl for a post-service snack. When I saw my weight that morning, I knew I could either continue this unhealthy lifestyle and pay the price, or make some serious changes and become the person I truly wanted to be.” Since that day, his passion for fitness and health was reignited. In fact, he and his family are planting a new church out of a fitness center in Glasgow, Scotland. As a trainer and coach, he’s most passionate about running, weight lifting & body-weight resistance training. As a missionary and pastor, he understands the struggles the ministry can bring, and his desire is to walk with you as you begin YOUR fitness rebirth!


Jeremy Partl


Jeremy is completing his dietetic internship through Florida State University. He recently graduated with his master’s degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition from the University of Tampa where he worked as the nutrition director and research assistant in the Human Performance Laboratory at the university. In May 2014, he graduated from Missouri State University with his bachelor’s in Dietetics. Additionally, he has multiple certifications and credentials including being a Certified Sports Nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition and a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified Coach. He has written for a few major publications, including a piece on Throughout his educational career, he has been able to gain experience working with all aspects of the population in providing nutrition counseling and education.


James Petty


James’ journey began during his childhood…“I remember when I was just a little boy my parents bought my clothes in the men’s department store. I struggled with nicknames such as “Big Earl”. I tried throughout my young adult life to lose weight, but I always gained it back plus more. I was an alcoholic for 15 years which caused a lot of my weight problem. When I got saved in 2004, God delivered me from my addiction, and I immediately started losing weight, but it was not enough. I was still close to 300 pounds. Gode helped me get down to 180 pounds through proper nutrition and exercise. I fell in love with exercise and decided to get my personal training certificate through NASM in 2013. I have lost a total of 180 pounds and continue to keep it off.”  James received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Church Planting and Revitalization from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. He is employed at Teen Challenge Ranch in Morrow, AR. He absolutely loves the Tennessee Volunteers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. James and his wife, Sherry, have been married for almost 13 years and have five amazing kids.


Brad Smith


Brad Smith is the lead pastor of Monticello First Assembly in Monticello, Arkansas. He was very overweight, but at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Brad is now on a journey to impart to others the motivation and knowledge needed to be successful. Brad has lost over 55 pounds in 2014. The larger picture is that his weight-loss has triggered many others in his circle of influence. He also gained a passion for healthy eating. Because of his recent health turnaround, he has more energy to play with his children and to do his missions work in Africa.  He knows that with the right help, anyone can achieve their goals. As a Fit Pastor’s coach, Brad will help you physically, spiritually, and emotionally as you begin your journey.

Mail: PO Box 295, Waxahachie, TX 75167 Email: Phone: 720-443-9141