People

European Initiative, an accredited 501c(3) ministry, has at its foundation a Board of Directors who over-see and approve the integrity of the work.

Board of Directors
  • Pastor Olen Griffing - Pastor
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    Pastor Olen Griffing

    Pastor
    Euless, Texas

    Saved on March 2, 1970 at the age of 31, Pastor Olen Griffing answered God’s call to pastoral ministry shortly after his salvation. Upon graduating from Southwestern Theological Seminary in 1972 he served in his first pastorate at the First Baptist Church in Johnson City, Texas. In March 1974 he became the pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas.

    Pastor Olen candidly testifies about the difficult 9 months that followed his arrival at the church, and in December 1974, Shady Grove Baptist Church burned to the ground. He then founded Shady Grove Church with the few families that remained. Under his leadership, Pastor Olen built a foundation with a strong emphasis on team ministry, world missions and vibrant praise and worship. His vision to see the manifest presence of God and the spirit of the Tabernacle of David restored in accordance with scripture transformed Shady Grove Church and has made an impact across the world. He is an in-demand global speaker, and is the author of the book "Legacy Song". Pastor Olen currently serves as the Apostolic leader of AOI Network and is also one of the Apostolic Elders of Gateway Church in Southlake, Tx.

    He and his wife Syble reside in Euless, Texas. They have been blessed with two children, six grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren!

    Pastor Olen Griffing

    Pastor

  • Matt Lankenau - Associate Pastor, Gateway Church
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    Matt Lankenau

    Associate Pastor, Gateway Church
    Grand Prairie, Texas

    Matt Lankenau joined European Initiative in 2009 – literally just days after graduating from the University of North Texas. While serving as the Missions Director at the German base of operations in Berlin, Matt assisted in the expansion and development of ministry in various nations across the continent of Europe. Matt absolutely loved seeing Europeans realize the perfect love that God has for them.  

    Matt knows and has seen first-hand how EI’s strategic vision to ignite a spiritual awakening in Europe is critically needed. His belief and work within this ministry is more than a position, it’s a life calling to see EI change lives and as they change Europe.

    After five years on the mission field  Matt and his family returned to the USA. Matt is an ordained minister and is currently serving as a pastor at Gateway Church. Located in Dallas, Texas, Gateway Church has a purpose to see people develop an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Matt and his wife, Bethany reside in Grand Prairie, Texas. They have been married for ten years and the Lord has blessed them with three daughters.

    Matt Lankenau

    Associate Pastor, Gateway Church

  • Mike Knight - Founder and CEO of Dallas Specialty
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    Mike Knight

    Founder and CEO of Dallas Specialty
    Grand Prairie, TX

    Michael Knight is the founder and CEO of Dallas Specialty. Mike has served 50 plus years in the plumbing industry and is an inventor and holder of US patents. Located in Grand Prairie, Texas, Dallas Specialty is a family-owned and operated business that has been a leader in plumbing and piping innovations.

    Born in Pennsylvania to a disabled veteran, Mike is the fifth of nine children. His soon-widowed mother raised Mike and his siblings in Texas. Mike is a Viet Nam era veteran, where he served with distinction in the US Navy.

    At the age of 26 Mike was born again. He is currently a member of Gateway Church, where he serves as a Deacon at the Grand Prairie location. He has served in numerous leadership positions in the local church, and has always had a special heart for the poor. Mike’s life is a testimony of his favorite scripture, 1 John 4:16, God is love, he that dwells in love dwells in God and God dwells in him” Mike believes EI’s vision for Europe is God-inspired and is critical to bring Europeans back to their spiritual roots.

    Mike resides in Grand Prairie, Texas, with Carol, his high school sweetheart. They have been married for over 47 years, and have two daughters and three grandchildren.

    Mike Knight

    Founder and CEO of Dallas Specialty

  • Jeff Serio - International Director, European Initiative
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    Jeff Serio

    International Director, European Initiative
    Berlin, Germany

    Jeff Serio is the founder and International Director of European Initiative. Jeff and his wife, Barbara, live in Berlin, Germany, heading up EI’s European operations. 

    He has served in leadership in both the local church and international missions for over 20 years. God birthed a strong desire in Jeff and Barbara to see spiritual change in Europe, when they moved their family of six to Budapest, Hungary in 1998. They founded European Initiative in 2007 and relocated to Berlin in August of that year.

    Jeff is an ordained minister and global elder at Shady Grove Church, Grand Prairie, Texas.  Previous to his service in missions, Jeff worked in the media advertising business for 19 years in Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth.  He finished his media career as the Sales Manager at KXTX-TV in Dallas.

    Jeff Serio

    International Director, European Initiative