HUGE News for the Underground


We have some exciting news to share, but first some backstory...

In the Underground we are raising up YOUNG REVIVALISTS. We love PRESENCE, PASSION, PURITY, & POWER! We have been doing these things over the last ten years of the Underground's existence in different ways and under different leaders.

Some leaders have taught us to value the word of God. Some have taught us to passionately worship. Still others have taught us to value relationship, fun, evangelism, serving, and purity. All of our leaders have shaped and molded a decade of students. We have produced youth pastors, missionaries, social workers, teachers, chemists, and artists who are representing the Kingdom of God where they are planted. 


In this last season of ministry I (Michael) have been praying for and searching for the right leader to take the Underground to the next level for the upcoming season of ministry.  

  • Our online job description has been viewed by 823 people. 
  • I've created a list of qualifications and characteristics I see are needed during this season of ministry. 
  • My network of pastoral friends have been sending recommendations and passing on our opportunity to others they know. 
  • I've pursued leaders I respect and invited them to apply for the role. 

Again and again, the Lord has given Kimberly and I two questions that have operated as lenses for us to see candidates through:

  1. Do we want this person/couple in our family?
  2. Do we want this person/couple investing in our girls?

The "father's heart" these questions are birthed from have been so helpful to know when to say, "No."; when to say, "Tell me more."; and when to say, "Yes."


I was invited to go to Canada to help lead a conference. I met a lot of great Canadians and learned that Calgary is the Texas of Canada. Who knew!

I also met a young man named Ben Hayes. He was in my huddle and a part of the social space I was helping to lead. I got to see and hear about what God was doing in his and his wife's life and ministry. We seemed to hit it off from the beginning.

I mentioned to the whole group about our Youth Director role. I asked them to share the opportunity and I invited anyone interested to apply. Ben asked me more about the job. I mentioned that we were hosting Mike and Sally Breen in Exeter the following week and invited him to join us. Much to my surprise, both he and Marcella were in Exeter the following week. 

During their stay I got the chance to see the way they interacted with many of our people and they had the opportunity to see us for who we really were. Besides the time together at the Family on Mission Workshop and at church, we had coffee together and dinner together at our house. I learned more about Ben's heart as a missionary, about his success at building ministries from scratch, about the strength of his and Marcella's marriage and oneness, and about his personality and his five-fold wiring. I realized during the course of the week the Lord had brought an incredible candidate for the youth director role to us.

As Kimberly and I said goodbye to the Hayes' we both talked about how we would love for them to be investing in our girls and about how we could see them fitting well into our extended spiritual family.


Within a few weeks from the workshop I made arrangements for a group of twenty-two leaders from our church to be a part of an interview team. There were leaders from the staff, the board, and from missional communities. With sixteen of the twenty-two leaders we conducted two interviews and covered the gamut with our questions. There was a strong sense that Ben was a well-qualified candidate and we identified further areas to look into with his references. 

After I talked with each of his references and shared the results with the wider team involved in the process we returned to Acts 15:28 where the apostles delivered a very important word to the early church. In their response after their deliberation and debate they framed their decision with this:

"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..."

We went around and around from multiple angles. There were no red flags at all, but we knew this was an important decision for our students, for our families and for the future of the Underground. We prayed and discussed and prayed some more. 


On June 18th I made a formal offer to Ben to invite he and Marcella to Exeter to join our church family as our full time Youth Director! We are very excited to have them arrive at the end of July and to begin getting to know our students, our parents, and the rest of our family of families. 

I feel very confident that Ben is the right man for the job and that he fits all the parameters and needs I have placed before the Lord. I believe the Lord has providentially brought Ben & Marcella to us as the people to take the Underground to the next level for the upcoming season of ministry. I am thankful to have had a team of twenty-two people participate in this decision. And I am amazed that the Lord used my trip to Calgary to acquaint me with this passionate, wise, and fun couple!

I'd love for you to take the opportunity to get to know them before they arrive. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram. Keep an eye out for a letter from the Hayes tomorrow afternoon. We will also be scheduling video conferences with Ben and Marcella during our Wednesday night worship gatherings for our students and will be utilizing other forms of social media to allow them to get to know one another better before they arrive in person. 

Church of God of Exeter, I present to you Ben & Marcella Hayes!   


Franky Magana

Professional Graphic Designer and Full-Time Dad!