Early life, education, and early career
Born in Gainesville, Georgia, Collins is a graduate of North Hall High School. He attended North Georgia College & State University, where he received a B.A. in Political Science and Criminal law, in 1988. He attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, receiving his Master of Divinity in 1996. Collins also earned his Juris Doctor from Atlanta's John Marshall Law School, in 2007.
Collins worked as an intern for Georgia Congressman Ed Jenkins before working as a salesman, selling hazardous material safety products to Georgia's state and local governments. From 1994 to 2005, Collins was a senior pastor at Chicopee Baptist Church, while co-owning a scrapbooking retail store with his wife, Lisa. Collins worked as a lawyer, and has been a managing partner at the Collins and Csider law firm since 2010.
In the late 1980s, Collins served two years in the United States Navy, as a navy chaplain. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Collins joined the United States Air Force Reserve Command, where he presently serves as a chaplain (lieutenant colonel). As a member of the 94th Airlift Wing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, Collins was deployed to Balad Air Base for five months in 2008, during the Iraq War.