About Us

/ 01

About Thriving Oaks

Quiver of God

The idea of Thriving Oaks came to Cecil after attending the 2016 Wildman retreat in Texas. Cecil has served on the leadership team of Wildman for over twenty years. Under the leadership of Dudley Hall, Russ Thornberry, and Kenny Thacker. Wildman continues to help boys and men learn who God created them to be, as a man and how to enjoy God in His creation. In that same vein, Thriving Oaks is a place where boys and girls will learn how to answer the questions; Who is my true Father? Who am I as an image-bearer of Jesus Christ? Who in my life has the most influence on what I believe about myself? What is my purpose? What am I good at? To answer these questions accurately, according to the One who made me is inspiring, encouraging, and liberating. Peace is the outcome.

Our Mission

The mission of Thriving Oaks is to provide God’s children of all ages an opportunity to experience the glory of His creation in a tech-free environment. The experiences offered at Thriving Oaks are designed to foster truth in knowing who we are as designed by God. 

To know and to be known by our heavenly Father is a realization of what it means to be treasured sons and daughters in the quiver of God.

/ 02

Our Founders


Cecil and Dianne Carder have been married for 48 years. Their Passion for truth in scripture, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the outdoors, and helping boys and girls of all ages realize their identity in Christ Jesus are the center of the Thriving Oaks mission.

Our Board Members

Gary G. Chamblee

After graduating in 1974 from Harding University, Gary Chamblee became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He has served as owner, general manager, chief financial officer, or chief executive officer for successful companies in Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. Gary has been actively involved in working with ministry related not-for-profit organizations for over 30 years. Gary has worked with organizations such as Healing Hands International, Health Talents International, Missions Resource Network and the Commission Against Diseases of Poverty. He has served as a member of the Board of the Shumard Foundation and currently serves as consultant to the Foundation. He is on the President’s Council of Harding University and is a member of the Greater Atlanta Christian Foundation Board. Gary and Karen have been married for 47 years and have three grown children and eight grandchildren..

Dave Mcgarrah

Dave joined the Thriving Oaks Ministries board in 2020. He and his wife Lisa have four children. His passion for the outdoors began at an early age, and through Thriving Oaks Ministries he hopes to connect more adults/youth with God’s creation. He enjoys hunting, fishing, competition BBQ, and target archery. Dave is the Business Manager of Brown Roofing LLC in Olathe, KS

Gerald E. Finke

Jerry was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Independence. He always wanted to be a family physician. After graduating from the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, Dr. Jerry founded the Warsaw Medical Clinic in Warsaw, Missouri where he practiced for seven years. From Warsaw, he moved back to Kansas City to practice radiology from 1984 until 2014. In 2005, Jerry and his bride, Marcia, were nudged by the Lord to build a Christian Retreat Center in northern Missouri. The well-known Jabez Retreat Center was born, and Jerry remains the executive director currently. Jerry enjoys hunting, the outdoor lifestyle and raises fox- trotter horses. Most of all he loves sharing the good news of Jesus. Dr. Jerry joined Thriving Oaks as a board member in 2017.

Cecil Carder

Cecil grew up in Texarkana, Texas and received a B.S. Degree from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. His bride of 49 years, Dianne, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. They have two grown children and six grandchildren. Cecil was in the hunting/fishing industry for 35 years. He has been a follower of Jesus for most of his life. He brings brokenness, suffering, redemption, and joy to the ministry of Thriving Oaks. He loves kids of all ages. He has been described as, "he may be old, but he will never grow up." His love and passion for sharing the good news of Jesus is what fuels his days. He describes himself as someone that knows a lot because he has seen a lot. ​

Shopping Cart