Our Team

MIKE LINSTEAD

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

From 22 to 25 years old, my story is a typical alcoholic/addict story. I was in and out of rehab, in and out of jail, in and out of institutions, had no friends, no family – I ended up homeless, living under a bridge in San Luis Obispo, California. My physical condition reflected my spiritual condition – I was dying.

Yet, God used a place called The Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA to transform my life. He set me free from addiction and I discovered that I didn’t have to “white knuckle” sobriety for the rest of my life – I can walk in the freedom of Christ because of the gospel. I am now a personal trainer and entrepreneur, married to my wonderful wife, and we have a precious daughter. God is good!

The Nehemiah Project was born out of the dream for more broken people to experience a truly transforming relationship with Christ. My primary responsibilities at TNP are building partnerships within the community, ensuring operational efficiency on our leadership team, and providing personal training for our recovery program clientele.

CHAD WILES

DIRECTOR OF COUNSELING & EDUCATION + COFOUNDER

I grew up in rural Kentucky, occasionally attending church with my mother. Our family was poor, and many of my family members struggled with mental health issues, alcohol abuse, and drug addiction. As a child, I remember always feeling worthless. When I got older I found my worth through being a good athlete, but an injury at the end of high school left me without hope. 

At the encouragement of a friend, I decided to attend Eastern Kentucky University instead of trade school & staying on the family farm. There I met Jesus through a ministry called Campus Outreach. He completely changed my life as I learned where true worth is found! I surrendered to a call to ministry & headed to seminary to study biblical counseling after college. 

I moved my family to Mandeville, LA to help plant The Field Church, where I have served as one of the lead pastors for the last 4 years. God has given me a vision to share the hope of the Gospel and the freedom from sin that Christ gives through biblical counseling, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to do so through The Nehemiah Project.

LAURA COLEY

INTAKE DIRECTOR

I grew up in as a preacher’s kid in the Southern Baptist world, with a strong foundation on truth & a loving family. We moved often as my dad was called to different churches, but Louisiana is where I was born and always where I’ve considered “home” to be. After college, I went overseas to volunteer in Bangkok’s redlight district & God used that time to reveal so much that I had not yet surrendered to Him. 

When I returned to the US, I moved back to Louisiana to attend seminary in pursuit of a masters degree in counseling. Over the next 5 years, God brought me through many trials – some the result of my own sin, and others merely a part of life in a broken world. An unplanned pregnancy, job loss, a baby who needed open-heart surgery, severe back pain & my own surgery, infidelity, and ultimately divorce – all chapters of my story through which there is one theme: Redemption.

The storms of life reveal where our hope truly lies. I am so grateful that God used both formal training and life itself to teach me to how to come alongside the suffering and offer the hope found in Him alone! It blows me away that I get to be a part of what God is doing through The Nehemiah Project.

BENJAMIN GROFF

COUNSELOR-IN-TRAINING

I am from and currently live in Mandeville, Louisiana. I grew up in a Christian household where I always attended church with my parents since I was young. I thought I was saved at a young age, so I never questioned my salvation; I thought it was something I prayed, and it was done. Later in my life, between the ages of 18-23, I went through many trials which resulted from my sin. I was involved with heavy amounts of alcohol, many types of drugs, and was eventually arrested. 

Ultimately, it wasn’t bad choices that were the worst part; it was an unregenerate heart, and I was in opposition with God; I was seeking worth and value in the things of the world, it was evident that I was not living for God. People in my life showed me what it truly meant to be a believer and live for Christ; shortly afterward, I started attending a gospel-centered church that preached the Gospel boldly, my heart and desires began to change because of the power of the Gospel, knowing that my worth is in Christ.

I felt a strong call to the Biblical Counseling ministry because I want to help others experience the freedom that the Gospel offers through Christ; it is the path to lasting change for those hurting. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be an intern at the Nehemiah project; my duties consist of being a Case Manager for the Recovery Program clients and assisting and training under the Director of Biblical Counseling, Chad Wiles. During this time, I am also pursuing my ACBC certification and bachelor’s degree in Biblical counseling at The Master’s University.

STEPHANIE HENDRIX

COUNSELOR-IN-TRAINING

I was born and raised in Hammond, Louisiana and I came from a large blended family.  Unfortunately, my home was filled with a lot of abuse and hurt, although I am confident that my parents loved me to the best of their ability at the time. I grew up attending church, but unfortunately I walked away with poor theology instead of a true understanding of the gospel. At the age of 12, child services removed my three sisters and I from my parents’ custody, and my older brother and his wife became our guardians. By the time I began high school, anger and bitterness ruled my soul and my life had little meaning. After struggling with suicide, I attended a D-Now weekend retreat and I heard 2 powerful testimonies with similar aspects to my life. In desperation, I turned to Christ and my life was radically changed. I didn’t receive an explanation for the trials I had endured, but I finally discovered hope and purpose. 

As a young teen, I longed to help those who had experienced trauma and wanted freedom and hope for their life. I pursued a degree in Psychology from Southeastern, but wasn’t certain of my next step until many years later. Later, after becoming a wife and mom to 2 boys, my family began attending The Field Church where I heard about biblical counseling. The Lord opened the door for me to pursue my biblical counseling certification through ACBC and to begin volunteering at the Nehemiah Project.  

Now, I am a part of TNP staff as an intern, working alongside our Intake Director. I am privileged to live out my passion of helping others find hope through rebuilding their life on the truth of the gospel. I am excited to serve through assisting in administrative duties and case management while continuing to be trained and pursue my certification to become a biblical counselor.

MIKE LINSTEAD

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

From 22 to 25 years old, my story is a typical alcoholic/addict story. I was in and out of rehab, in and out of jail, in and out of institutions, had no friends, no family – I ended up homeless, living under a bridge in San Luis Obispo, California. My physical condition reflected my spiritual condition – I was dying.

Yet, God used a place called The Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA to transform my life. He set me free from addiction and I discovered that I didn’t have to “white knuckle” sobriety for the rest of my life – I can walk in the freedom of Christ because of the gospel. I am now a personal trainer and entrepreneur, am married to my wonderful wife, and we have a precious daughter. God is good!

The Nehemiah Project was born out of the dream for more broken people to experience a truly transforming relationship with Christ. My primary responsibilities at TNP are building partnerships within the community, ensuring operational efficiency on our leadership team, and providing personal training for our recovery program clientele.

CHAD WILES

DIRECTOR OF COUNSELING & EDUCATION + COFOUNDER

I grew up in rural Kentucky, occasionally attending church with my mother. Our family was poor, and many of my family members struggled with mental health issues, alcohol abuse, and drug addiction. As a child, I remember always feeling worthless. When I got older I found my worth through being a good athlete, but an injury at the end of high school left me without hope. 

At the encouragement of a friend, I decided to attend Eastern Kentucky University instead of trade school & staying on the family farm. There I met Jesus through a ministry called Campus Outreach. He completely changed my life as I learned where true worth is found! I surrendered to a call to ministry & headed to seminary to study biblical counseling after college. 

I moved my family to Mandeville, LA to help plant The Field Church, where I have served as one of the lead pastors for the last 4 years. God has given me a vision to share the hope of the Gospel and the freedom from sin that Christ gives through biblical counseling, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to do so through The Nehemiah Project.

LAURA COLEY

INTAKE DIRECTOR

I grew up in as a preacher’s kid in the Southern Baptist world, with a strong foundation on truth & a loving family. We moved often as my dad was called to different churches, but Louisiana is where I was born and always where I’ve considered “home” to be. After college, I went overseas to volunteer in Bangkok’s redlight district & God used that time to reveal so much that I had not yet surrendered to Him. 

When I returned to the US, I moved back to Louisiana to attend seminary in pursuit of a masters degree in counseling. Over the next 5 years, God brought me through many trials – some the result of my own sin, and others merely a part of life in a broken world. An unplanned pregnancy, job loss, a baby who needed open-heart surgery, severe back pain & my own surgery, infidelity, and ultimately divorce – all chapters of my story through which there is one theme: Redemption.

The storms of life reveal where our hope truly lies. I am so grateful that God used both formal training and life itself to teach me to how to come alongside the suffering and offer the hope found in Him alone! It blows me away that I get to be a part of what God is doing through The Nehemiah Project.

BENJAMIN GROFF

COUNSELOR-IN-TRAINING

I am from and currently live in Mandeville, Louisiana. I grew up in a Christian household where I always attended church with my parents since I was young. I thought I was saved at a young age, so I never questioned my salvation; I thought it was something I prayed, and it was done. Later in my life, between the ages of 18-23, I went through many trials which resulted from my sin. I was involved with heavy amounts of alcohol, many types of drugs, and was eventually arrested. 

Ultimately, it wasn’t bad choices that were the worst part; it was an unregenerate heart, and I was in opposition with God; I was seeking worth and value in the things of the world, it was evident that I was not living for God. People in my life showed me what it truly meant to be a believer and live for Christ; shortly afterward, I started attending a gospel-centered church that preached the Gospel boldly, my heart and desires began to change because of the power of the Gospel, knowing that my worth is in Christ.

I felt a strong call to the Biblical Counseling ministry because I want to help others experience the freedom that the Gospel offers through Christ; it is the path to lasting change for those hurting. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be an intern at the Nehemiah project; my duties consist of being a Case Manager for the Recovery Program clients and assisting and training under the Director of Biblical Counseling, Chad Wiles. During this time, I am also pursuing my ACBC certification and bachelor’s degree in Biblical counseling at The Master’s University.

STEPHANIE HENDRIX

COUNSELOR-IN-TRAINING

I was born and raised in Hammond, Louisiana and I came from a large blended family.  Unfortunately, my home was filled with a lot of abuse and hurt, although I am confident that my parents loved me to the best of their ability at the time. I grew up attending church, but unfortunately I walked away with poor theology instead of a true understanding of the gospel. At the age of 12, child services removed my three sisters and I from my parents’ custody, and my older brother and his wife became our guardians. By the time I began high school, anger and bitterness ruled my soul and my life had little meaning. After struggling with suicide, I attended a D-Now weekend retreat and I heard 2 powerful testimonies with similar aspects to my life. In desperation, I turned to Christ and my life was radically changed. I didn’t receive an explanation for the trials I had endured, but I finally discovered hope and purpose. 

As a young teen, I longed to help those who had experienced trauma and wanted freedom and hope for their life. I pursued a degree in Psychology from Southeastern, but wasn’t certain of my next step until many years later. Later, after becoming a wife and mom to 2 boys, my family began attending The Field Church where I heard about biblical counseling. The Lord opened the door for me to pursue my biblical counseling certification through ACBC and to begin volunteering at the Nehemiah Project.  

Now, I am a part of TNP staff as an intern, working alongside our Intake Director. I am privileged to live out my passion of helping others find hope through rebuilding their life on the truth of the gospel. I am excited to serve through assisting in administrative duties and case management while continuing to be trained and pursue my certification to become a biblical counselor.