Rev. Brian Lawson
Senior Pastor

Brian has served in youth and young adult ministries for over 18 years. He recently served as the interim preacher at First UMC of Mount Dora, where he had previously been on staff for seven years. In addition to his role as Pastor here at Zellwood UMC, Brian supports congregations across the country as the Director of Student Development for the Youth Ministry Institute. He writes and is the co-host of the Making Sense of Ministry podcast.

Brian studied Christian Education at Asbury Theological Seminary and is a graduate of Warner University with a Master of Ministry in Organizational Culture, Team-Based Leadership, Change, Conflict, and Peacemaking.

In 2007 Brian married his lovely wife, Ashley. Ashley is a fifth-grade math and science teacher. They have two beautiful daughters, Chelsea and Lydia Lawson. Brian and his family love Disney World, Disney Cruises, Ohio foods, the Cincinnati Reds, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Rev. Jeff Kantz
Office Administrator

Jeff came to the office in February of 2022, after retiring in 2020 from 40 years of service as a United Methodist Pastor in the Florida Annual Conference. His very first job in a church, while still a teenager, was as a custodian. It is fair to say he climbed the ladder from the bottom rung and remembers that it is the people of the church who ARE the church.

He and Gail are proud of their three children and adore their eight grandchildren, ages 3 to 24. The youngest two, ages 3 & 5, are a very active part of their lives.

Gail Kantz Director of Music Ministries

Gail Kantz officially joined the staff in May of 2024 after ‘filling-in’ for three months after our former Music Director suffered a stroke. Gail brings a musical sensitivity to the piano which has been an inspiration to many and we are glad to have her on the team.

In addition to her music she is an active card crafter, a retired RN and healthy life advocate, as well as an active Grandma in weekly baseball training with her 5-year old coach.

Arin Wales
Director of Kid’s Ministry

Born and raised in Central Florida, Arin and her family have been members of ZUMC for four generations. She graduated from UCF with a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management and has been in customer service or medical office roles for over 20 years. She has served in our Kids Ministry in various roles for over eight years. She is married and has one son. In her free time, Arin enjoys spending time with her family at sporting events or Disney.

Jaylen Gonzalez
Multimedia Lead

Jaylen grew up in this congregation and has overseen the media booth for three years. As well as an efficient and gentle member of the team she is also a competitive softball player!

John Wager

John has been a faithful ‘handy-man’ for the church for over two decades. A retired electrician with a heart of gold, John does anything he can in service for Christ.