J.D. was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, attended Mississippi State University (where he met his wife, Mimi), then law school at Ole Miss. After practicing law in Jackson for two years, he sensed God's call to ministry. He earned a M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to moving to Oxford in April 2011, J.D. served as the pastor of two churches – one in Louisiana and another in Mississippi. J.D. and Mimi have four children: Wilson, Annie, Zoe, and James.