John grew up in New Jersey and his wife Linda grew up in Pittsburg, PA. They met while attending college at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and have been married for 53 years since. The Willets have two married daughters, Robin and Lori. Both are married and now there are five grandchildren in the family.
Both John and Linda came to faith in Christ in the first year of their marriage. John was a Naval Officer during the Vietnam War at that time and later went to seminary after his Navy commitment. John went on to pastor in both Columbus, Ohio and Greensboro, NC for the next 20 years. From 1990 – 2020, John has been with SEARCH Ministries in Greensboro teaching the Bible in various places and helping people get started and grow in their faith.
The Burkett’s (Matt, Leah, Radford, and Tysinger) are Greensboro natives. In 2014 Matt was first introduced to Search. In short order, Matt fell in love with the relational model of evangelism Search uses and began leading foundations groups. In 2019 Matt and Leah responded to God’s call in Greensboro and sold their business to come on staff with Search full time. Their family of four is always on the go and makes use of their hobbies and interests to invite others into conversations about life and faith.