Dr. Alicia Jackson is an Associate Professor of History at Covenant College. Her research interests include Southern Folklore, Southern History, and African American History. Her most recent publication, “Having Our Own: The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church and the Struggle for Black Autonomy in Education” is a chapter honoring the work of Charles Reagan Wilson and will be published by University of Mississippi Press in 2017. She was awarded a 2016 Louisville Project Grant for Researchers for her current research project entitled: Isaac Anderson: Minister and Politician.
Alex McElroy (@PastorAMcElroy)
Pastor of Education at New Life Covenant Southeast Church, led by Pastor John F. Hannah, Alex has been serving in both youth and teaching ministries at New Life for over 10 years. In his role, he teaches Discipleship class designed for adults to learn, fellowship, and grow in their faith in a small group setting. Alex also trains hundreds of teachers and ministers who serve at New Life so they are well equipped to deliver lessons in proper lifestyle, Biblical study, focused preparation, and Apologetics in order to maximize theireffectiveness in and for the Kingdom of God.
Angel Maldonado (@AngelXMaldonado)
Angel Maldonado serves as the Lead Pastor of The Path, a diverse congregation in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on outreach and leadership development. Angel preaches, trains and counsels at churches and conferences around the country and the caribbean. He is the co-founder of the AND Campaign, a coalition of urban Christians addressing sociopolitical issues based on the compassion and conviction of the Gospel. Angel also mentors high school and college athletes as a Character Coach with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Anna Perez (@mrs_aperez)
Anna Perez is a born and raised Jersey girl who now lives in Washington Heights, NYC with her husband Rich and two kids, Josiah and Hayden. As a critical part of starting Christ Crucified Fellowship in 2012, her passion for speaking to and caring for planting and pastor's wives was birthed. Along with school pick ups, leading meetings in her local school's parent association or redesigning the decor in her living room, Anna serves as National Director of Wives Development for the BLVD Experience.
Anthony Flynn (@1AnthonyFlynn)
Anthony serves as Founder/CEO of Gifted, whose mission it is to produce marketplace leaders from low income communities across America. Anthony's story is one of resilience, determination and a resulting selfless desire to invest in others. Having gone through their Nonprofit Accelerator with Gifted, Anthony now speaks at Praxis Academy, which trains undergraduates to be entrepreneurs. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia and loves hanging out with his amazing wife, son and daughter.
Barnabas Piper (@BarnabasPiper)
Barnabas Piper is the author of The Pastors Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith, and The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life. He co-hosts the popular 5 Leadership Questions podcast and The Happy Rant podcast and writes for The Blazing Center as well as several other publications and websites. Piper speaks regularly at churches and conferences around the country and lives in Nashville where he works for LifeWay Christian Resources.
BJ Thompson (@bj116)
Serves as the co-founder of Build a Better Us. Over the past 10 years BJ has partnered with several churches and ministries to help develop marriages, form small groups, and train leaders globally.
Blair Linne (@blairlinne)
Wife, mother of three, actress, spoken word artist, and wife of Shai Linne who pastors at Risen Christ Fellowship. She has a passion for sharing God's word and has taught Bible studies and workshops for women at churches and conferences across the U.S.
Brandon Watts (@B_Wattz)
Brandon Watts was settled with his wife and two children in the Pennsylvania suburbs before the Lord lead him into urban ministry. It was in 2013, as a member of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia that he left his corporate job, moved to the city and began raising support as a church plant resident under the elders there.
He finally sensed a calling to the neighborhood of Bed-Stuy, and in 2015 he and his family made the move to Brooklyn. In the spring of 2016, Epiphany Church Brooklyn officially launched.
With a missionary mindset, Brandon's daily quest is to impact the local community through the love of Christ. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Bible with a concentration on discipleship counseling from Cairn University, and his passions include preaching the gospel, shepherding his family and church, and seeing the inner city transformed by the message of Jesus.
“I once was lost, but now I’m found”, is the best explanation of Brian’s life. Though he grew up in an unbelieving family, he was converted in his late teens by God intervening into his family’s mess and yet again showing Himself mighty to save sinners. He has released a few albums with Lamp Mode Recordings, but he is looking forward to leaving the music scene altogether. And while he lived in too many states to list here, he loves him some Philly (even though he’s originally from Detroit). He is currently finishing up a church planting internship at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC which he began at the conclusion of completing the pastoral internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Brian is joyfully married to Sonia, and the Lord has given them two delightful sons; Spurgeon & Sibbes.
Bobby Manning (@DrBManning)
Dr. Bobby Manning is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of District Heights. Widely considered a pastor of the community, he leads FBCDH to continued service to the physical and spiritual needs of the residents of the Metropolitan DC area. Bobby is a native of the Washington, D.C. area where he and his wife LaVera currently reside with their three sons Levi, Reuben and Joseph.
Nationally Board Certified math teacher in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. Carlos is passionate about making disciples from scratch! Through his “not official” ministry in the Chicago Public Schools, students have heard the Gospel, participated in bible studies, and formed life-long discipleship relationships. His work has even a spawned a house church.
Carlos Lollett (@carloslollett)
Born in Venezuela, Carlos' journey of becoming a pastor began at the age of 10, when he trusted in Christ as his Savior. He moved to South Florida at the age of 13, where he would learn English, serve Jesus, and discover the joy of drinking a café con leche. Over the past 10 years, Carlos has had the privilege of leading, teaching, and serving Jesus in church plants, large multi-site ministries, and a variety of other contexts. He is married to the love of his life, Cassie, and is Papi to the undoubtedly cutest and most beautiful toddlers in the known world, Maya & Kara. Carlos is a leader with a passion to know God and to help others know Him.
CD & Melody Fabien
Known for their humorous and animated style, CD and Melody creatively and practically relate God’s truth to everyday life. Their transparency in sharing their personal adventure has motivated many to believe God and experience Him as well. They have become a strong voice on the issues of sexual education, manhood and womanhood, character development, healthy relationships and living with purity and purpose.
He currently is a candidate for the PhD in Historical Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His original research focuses on the health of proclamation in late 20th Century Black Church Chicago. For reasons that please Him, God has blessed the Progressive Church to grow deep and wide.
In addition to his pastoral duties, Pastor Charlie has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Moody Bible Institute and currently serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Chicago Fire Department. He is a contributor to the 2014 book Letters To A Birmingham Jail.
Pastor Charlie is married to Kirstie Dates and is the proud father of their children Charlie Edward Dates II and Claire Elisabeth Dates.
Cisco Cotto (@ciscocotto)
Cisco Cotto is the Lead Pastor of Village Church of Oak Park, a church he and a team started in 2011. He has also been a Chicago radio personality for 20 years. Cisco and his wife Anna and their three children live in Oak Park, Illinois.
Cliff Nellis (@CliffordNellis)
Waiting to receive
Chicago city native who was in and out of jail until he was arrested for the attempted murder of a police officer. While in prison, God led Corey to a Christian Living Unit ran by Chicagoland Prison Outreach. It was there Corey surrendered his life to Christ and after his release he obtained a B.A. in Biblical Exposition & Pastoral Ministry from Moody Bible Institute and currently is the Associate Director of Operations and Programs for the Chicagoland Prison Outreach.
Curtis Woods (@CurtisWoods4)
Curtis is a proud member of the African American Intellectual History, National African American Fellowship of Southern Baptist Convention, Black Southern Baptist Denominational Leaders Network, and the Evangelical Theological Society. Curtis currently serves as the Associate Executive Director for Convention Relations (KBC). Prior to this assignment, Curtis served as a social worker, assistant pastor, evangelism pastor, Baptist campus missionary, and church planter.
He is married to Tracy Y. Woods of North Little Rock, AR. They have three sons and reside in Louisville, KY. Tracy and the boys are his best friends.
Dana and his wife Bridget are natives of the Southside of Chicago. They’ve been married 31 years and have three adult children, a son in law and one grandchild. Dana graduated from the University of Dubuque with a BS degree in Biology, and earned his MA in Urban Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He served in urban since the mid 1980’s starting in Chicago’s Cabrini Green Neighborhood. He has served as Executive Director at Sunshine Gospel, Kids Across America Camps and presently at The Forge For Families in Houston, Texas.
Darryl Williamson (@pastor_ddub)
Lead Pastor at Living Faith Bible Fellowship, a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-generational church in Tampa, FL. Darryl has a fervent desire to see believers fully transformed into the likeness of Christ in every aspect of their lives, personally and publically. He leads Arise City, a ministry focused on developing urban missionary leaders, and he is a member of The Gospel Coalition Council.
David A. Washington is the founding pastor of Kingdom Covenant Church Chicago and the author of "Kingdom Church: A People Committed to the King's Agenda." He engages ministry in the urban context with the goal of both life and community transformation. In addition to his pastoral work, he uses workshops and preaching to empower people for the work of God’s kingdom.
Dee Wilson (@DeeWilsonLive)
Worship leader, songwriter and worship artist who has been involved in ministry for over 10 years. Dee's passion is hearing God's people corporately sing praises all over the world.
Derrick Puckett (@djpuckett22)
Derrick earned an M.Div. at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary while serving as a Campus Pastor for Fellowship Memphis Church in Memphis, TN. At this multiethnic church, Derrick deepened his passion for seeing the Gospel’s power to reconcile people of all walks of life. Derrick began partnering with Orchard Group, and he and his family relocated to Chicago in the fall of 2013 to plant Renewal Church of Chicago, a Gospel centerer multiethnic disciple making church. Derrick and his wife, Kaley, have four beautiful girls: Ramiyah, Elyana, Isabelle and Nalah.
Destry Wilborn (@DestryWilborn)
A Chicago native and community leader with a passion for helping adolescent boys successfully transition into manhood with a clear sense of identity and purpose. Destry created Men of Purpose, Journey to Self-Discovery program that assists boys starting at age 10 and walking them through post-secondary education, in the process of self-discovery: from male identity to servant leadership. Through dedication and commitment, Destry teaches young men how to discover their purpose, deploy their gifts, and develop a vision for their lives.
In his downtime, Destry lends himself to community work, serving on the Board of Directors as Vice President of Williams Youth Services, Inc. – which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the social, moral, and educational needs of at-risk youth and families.
Dhati Lewis (@dhati)
Lead Pastor at Blueprint Church in Atlanta, GA. Dhati's passions are for church planting and discipleship. He is the founder and president of The BLVD, an organization that seeks to answer the call for more church plants in the urban context.
Diamone Ukegbu (@DiamoneU)
Diamone Ukegbu is a Dallas, Texas native with a heart and passion for the gospel, and that much more seen in the musical arts. Throughout the years Diamone has served as a Music Director for various church plants (currently The Brook Church of Miami, FL), Coordinator for Render Network and singer/songwriter for church, other artists and her personal artistry. All of this complements her calling as wife to Muche Ukegbu and mother to her three kids Serenity (7), Joelle (5) and Noah (3). She and her family reside in Miami, Florida
Senior pastor of the Recovery House of Worship-Brooklyn.
After years of involvement in a 12-step recovery program, Edwin accepted Christ, and along with his wife Liz and best friend Raymond Ramos, started the Recovery House of Worship as a Bible study in his kitchen, reaching out to people who suffer from drug and/or alcohol addiction.
Edwin completed his Masters Degree in Theological Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Liz and five children.
Eric Rivera (@hiphomiletics)
Lead Pastor of The Brook located in Chicago, IL. Eric has a B.A. in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute, an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is currently at Trinity working on a Ph.D. in Historical Theology. He also is a part of the speaker team for Family Life's Weekend To Remember Getaways alongside his wife Erikah.
Erikah Rivera (@erikahdanielle)
Leader at The Brook, a diverse church plant in Chicago where her husband (Eric Rivera) is the Lead Pastor. Erikah has a BA in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute, which shaped her desire to increase biblical literacy among women in the Church. She also is a part of the speaker team for Family Life's Weekend To Remember Getaways alongside her husband.
Esteban Shedd (@estebanshedd)
Esteban Shedd loves creative communication of the most powerful message ever known - the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether through his music with Alert312, directing Streetlights, preaching, or locally discipling in Chicago he wants Jesus Christ known, trusted and loved. To this end, he creates and aligns himself with other folks to be on mission to spread the Gospel of grace through any creative communication necessary and relevant in our culture. He is a Father to thre ferocious boys and a husband to his lovely wife Iris.
Ezekiel Azonwu (@wordsbyezekiel)
When the gospel and skillful penmanship collide you get a phenomenon called Lyrical Evangelism, the coined expression of Ezekiel released his first album with Vinyl Cut Music entitled, “Fully Delivered” in 2008. He’s collectively garnered nearly 2 million YouTube hits through his lyrical expression. The demand for his unique artistry has exploded and has lead him to perform across the country and internationally at countless venues from TD Jake's The Potter's house to the 10,000 seater Nokia Theatre. He's graced in circles from P4CM Global, London christian tv networks to BET's Celebration of Gospel pre events. He’s shared the stage with gospel greats such as Shirley Ceasar, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Jesus Culture, Lecrae and many more.
Ezekiel’s fiery passion is to ignite hearts for Christ through his gift with words. “Speak now, or forever hold your “click click” PEACE. As Ezekiel emphasizes the deadliness of silence, he promises to fearlessly speak Life to a broken generation.
Gina Cho (@gina.cho)
Born in South Korea, Gina was one of the first to immigrate to Chicago in the 1970's. God has given Gina a tender heart for women in all seasons of life, but especially a unique burden and broken-hearted compassion for single moms, the fatherless and those affected by incarceration. Gina has a passion for biblical counseling, discipleship and the integration of God's Word in every area of her life, not just to "survive" but to "thrive" in difficult, impossible situations, by GOD's amazing grace. She is passionate to share GOD's unconditional love, eternal hope and practical life skills through her gifts of public speaking, teaching, mentoring and entrepreneurship as a holistic health educator and Professor at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.
Heidi Dye (@HeidiDye)
Heidi has lived in the West Garfield neighborhood of Chicago for the past eleven years. For the last seven years, she has been working in a public school four blocks from her house as a teacher and after school coordinator. Currently, she serves as an educational trainer for The Federation For Community Schools. She is passionate about neighborhood ministry, discipleship of women, education, and taking care of the many young men who live with her and her husband (who just celebrated 15 years of marriage). In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family, scrapbook, read, and travel.
Itohan Omolere (@toloveandobey)
An arts educator, poet, and songwriter from Chicago. Itohan has a heart for the discipleship of girls and women, juvenile justice, art evangelism, international missions, and building up the bride of Christ. She has taught English, literacy, and creative writing in Chicago’s alternative school system. In addition, she has taught spoken word for a variety of organizations.
Jackie Hill Perry (@JackieHillPerry)
Wife to Preston Perry. Jackie is a teacher, poet and writer whose work has been featured on The Washington Times, The 700 Club, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and other publications. She is also a Humble Beast recording artist and released her debut album "The Art of Joy" in 2014.
Jarvis Williams (@drjjwilliams)
Associate professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Seminary, author, and itinerant preacher in churches and conferences throughout the country. Jarvis is a member of the American Academy of Religion, The Evangelical Theological Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature.
Jimmy Needham has something to say, and that's a good thing. The soulful Texas crooner has a musical style all his own with a message to boot. Socially conscious, genre-bending and vocally acrobatic, Needham creates soul music that's good for the soul as well. He also serves on staff at Stonegate Church in Midlothian, Texas.
Joel Hamernick (@joeladamsh)
Joel serves as the Executive Director of Sunshine Gospel Ministries, a 109 year old urban ministry in Chicago, where he has been on staff since 1999. His undergraduate studies were in Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute and graduate work was in Organizational Leadership at Philadelphia Biblical University.
Joel and his wife Paula have seven children. They live in the Woodlawn community on the Southside of Chicago and are members at Woodlawn Community Church.
John has lived in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis for 34 years he is a husband to Leslie and a father of seven children ages 3-18.
He pastors Jubilee Community Church a church he helped to plant in 2010, out from Bethlehem Baptist where he was on staff for 10 years. At Jubilee he seeks to lead the church in making disciples and building leaders among one of the most diverse areas in the country. He is passionate about cross-cultural disciple-making and church planting.
John Onwuchekwa (@JawnO)
Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church, a new church plant in the Historic West End of Atlanta, GA. John is currently working on a Doctorate of Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
John Pendleton (@johncpendleton)
Liberated to liberate others. John sees the educational system as one of the most captive-causing systems in America. With a heart for education since the age of 5, John is currently on staff with GRIP Outreach for Youth serving as GTS coordinator where he connects Christian adults to youth in public schools in order to develop Christ-centered life-on-life relationships. John was born and raised in southern Alabama, but now lives on the West Side of Chicago with his powerfully compassionate wife and rambunctious pit bull. Lover of: biking, camping, Snarky Puppy, uncontrollable laughter, arts & crafts, and all things concerning equity for black people.
Called to be a faithful and loving husband to Bethany LaTorre and father to his three children Jayla, Justice and Soveran. The LaTorre's live in the Humboldt Park Community on the West Side of Chicago where they have the privilege of pastoring at New Life Community Church, oversee the basketball mentorship program called CrossOver and direct the 18 month residential discipleship ministry called CrossWalk
John Richards (@JohnCRichardsJr)
John Richards currently serves as the Director of Operations at Victory Cathedral Worship Center in the Chicagoland area. He is also a board member of the Reformed African American Network (RAAN). A lawyer and seminary graduate, John is passionate about studying and preaching God's Word. He has spent the past decade leading others in group bible studies using seminary-level tools. John lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Sheridan, son, John III aka Scooter and daughter, Shiloh.
Born in Venezuela and later migrating to Miami at the age of 9, his struggle as an immigrant — starting from “zero", in a broken home, and learning a new language -- was what God in his goodness used to draw him to Himself and soon after, call him to the pastorate.
Jorge is passionate about seeing people come to know Christ and grow in His likeness, as he envisions the gospel of grace crossing ethnic, economic and language barriers. He is currently associate and church planting pastor at Edgewater Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois.
Besides enjoying a good “malta” alongside a Bears football game, reading a book, or just listening to some salsa music, you can catch him with his familia — his bride of 20 years, Belkis, and his 3 snapshots of grace — Abigail, Aviel and Aidán.
Joseph Dicks (@NotTheAvgJo)
Graduate of the University of Kentucky. Joseph is currently pursuing his Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He works as a full-time staff admissions counselor for graduate and doctoral students at SBTS. He serves as a high school chaplain for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, teacher and preacher for the Federal Bureau of Prisons – Lexington, speaker at Louisville Rescue Mission Men’s shelter, and Church Under the Bridge Homeless ministry.
Joseph Solomon (@WhatIsJoeDoing)
Creator of chaseGodtv, a YouTube channel explaining Christian doctrine and its application for youth and young adults. Joseph travels the country to speak on topics featured on his channel and perform poetry and music.
Kareem Manuel (@kareemmanuel)
Heavily involved in his community both as advocate for his musical clientele and as a proponent of social issues. He has invested time with Parent Power Chicago, coordinating the launch and strategy teams as well as creating the video content for their website. He served on the Board of Directors for Grip Outreach For Youth, an organization that connects at-risk youth with adult mentors in order to build "life-on-life" relationships. Born and raised in Chicago, he and his family has relocated to Atlanta to work with the Navigators.
Justin Giboney (@jgiboney14)
Justin Giboney is an attorney and political strategist in Atlanta, GA. He is also the Co-Founder and President of the AND Campaign, which is a coalition of urban Christians who are determined to address the sociopolitical arena with the compassion and conviction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mr. Giboney has managed successful campaigns for elected officials in the state and referendums relating to the city's transportation and water infrastructure.
In 2012 and 2016, Georgia’s 5th congressional district elected him as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention and he served as the co-chair of Obama for America’s Gen44-Atlanta initiative. A former Vanderbilt University football player and law student, Justin now serves on the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Board of Directors. Additionally, Justin has participated in LEAD Atlanta, Outstanding Atlanta and the Georgia Bar Association’s Leadership Academy. He's written op-eds for publications such as Christianity Today and Creative Loafing.
Kori Porter (@koriporter)
Serves on staff at University Reformed Church as the associate director of campus ministry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. at Reformed Theology Seminary. Her joy is found in discipling college-aged women in Scripture, evangelizing, and being discipled by older women in the body of Christ.
Lamar Simms (@LamarSimms)
Born and raised on the south side of Chicago. Lamar has a great desire to see people come to know God. He uses spoken word poetry as a platform to share the Gospel with his city. Lamar serves as an elder of Legacy Christian Fellowship overseeing a house church in his neighborhood alongside his wife (Sade) and four children Malachi, Melanie, Nylah and baby LJ.
Mark Bergin (@MarkJBergin)
Mark is the founding pastor at The Painted Door Church in Chicago and serves as Director of Coaching for the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting. He and his wife Acacia enjoy letting people know how free and loved they are in Christ, and they have a particular interest in sharing that news with their four children.
J. Mark Bowers writes and trainers for the Chalmers Center, a church equipping organization focused on breaking the spiritual, social, and material bonds of poverty. Mark is the co-creator of Faith & Finances and Work Life, financial education and jobs readiness tools aimed at economically empowering people who are poor and restoring fellowship across socioeconomic lines. After hours, he spends his days with Tannia and Elias, his wife and son, community-generating and social-enterprising in East Lake—their under-resourced neighborhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Alongside his church plant, Mark has lived and worked in this community for 8 years.
Michelle Higgins (@AfroRising)
Michelle Higgins, Director of Worship at South City Church; Director of Faith for Justice. A native of St. Louis, Michelle is actively engaged in the #BlackLivesMatter movement through participation in civil disobedience, leadership development, logistics, and administrative support in both sacred and secular spaces.
Michelle holds an MDiv at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. She is a proud supporter of local activism groups MCU (Metropolitan Congregations United), MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) and OBS (the Organization for Black Struggle), through which she has learned a great deal about collaboration and solidarity. She gratefully serves as the director of Faith for Justice, a faith-rooted advocacy group.
Muche Ukegbu (@MucheU)
Though born and raised in Houston, Texas for many years, Muche called Atlanta home as he served alongside his closes friends to help plant and pastor at Blueprint Church. Muche holistically serves with a passion for leadership, culture, and for the gospel to come alive in people’s hearts as it transforms them- and ultimately the world around them. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of The Brook Church where he leads out in preaching, vision, and leadership development in helping mobilize the church to make disciples where life exists in Miami and beyond.
Natalie Lauren (@msnatalielauren)
Devoted her life to expression through art. Her canvas includes helping pen Grammy Award-winning albums and platinum-selling records for Lecrae and Iggy Azalea, as well as lending her ear, voice, and pen to several highly-acclaimed CHH albums. Natalie believes art is only an outward expression of an inward hope and truth more lasting and glorious than she could ever truly reflect with mere brushstrokes and lyrics.
Nicholas Rivera has served as an inner city missionary at Inner City Impact in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community where he learned what “life on life” ministry really meant. Afterwards, Nick ran the Teen REACH program at the McCormick Tribune YMCA and was hired by New Life Covenant Church S.E. as the Youth Pastor.
Pastor Nick currently serves as New Life’s Pastor/Senior Director of Discipleship and Engagement. Nick and his wife Santy of 15 years are blessed with 3 amazing children: Laila, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Noel Castellanos (@NoelCCDA)
Noel has worked in full-time ministry in Latino, urban communities since 1982. He has served in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose, and Chicago. After serving on the Board of the Christian Community Development Association for many years, he established the CCDA Institute, which equips emerging church leaders in the philosophy of Christian Community Development, and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CCDA.
Noel was appointed to serve on President Obama’s Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships, and is a speaker, author, motivator, and mentor to young leaders throughout the USA, and has a deep passion to serve and invest in the lives of leaders committed to serving the poor.
Noel and his wife of 27 years, Marianne make their home in the barrio of La Villita in Chicago, and have three grown children; Noel Luis, Stefan, and Anna.
Born in El Salvador and raised in an economically challenged neighborhood in Chicagoland, Oscar was saved by Christ in high school after he saw his friends – worshipping Christ without reservation at church. His life was forever changed. He has felt God’s call to pastoral ministry early in his life, not long after being saved.
Today, God has called Oscar, Megan and their three adopted children Obed, Ezra and Judah to build a multi-ethic congregation in Pilsen with Holy Trinity Church.
Preston Perry (@Preston_n_Perry)
Follower of Christ, Poet, Husband. Preston is known for his previous work with P4CM, Spoken Life Project, and his vlogs on YouTube. He hopes to live a life worthy and is passionate about spoken word poetry, discipleship, urban ministry, and teaching.
Rich Perez (@RichPerez729)
Planted Christ Crucified Fellowship to display the goodness and peace of God in Uptown NYC. In an effort to collide the stories of God and his community, Rich has founded Mi Casa Uptown. MCU is an evolving website platform with a collection of writings, stories, visuals and music telling the stories of people with the hope to see God. He attended Elim Bible institute and is trained in Biblical and Theological studies.
Robert Gelinas (@JazzTheologian)
Lead pastor (and resident jazz theologian) of Colorado Community Church, a multicultural, interdenominational mission of 3,000+ practicing Christians committed to washing the feet of the Mile High City. The author of a variety of books including the upcoming Discipled by Jesus: Spiritual Growth in Light of the Resurrection (NavPress 2018). As an orphan advocate he's the founder of Project 127; a national ministry dedicated to seeing the day when there are no children waiting for homes in the foster care system. Gelinas is also dedicated to inspiring Black Christian Leaders through TheSankofaExperience.com and the Remembering Tomorrow podcast.
Robert and his wife, Barbara, live in Denver with their 6 children (five adopted -3 from foster care, 2 from Ethiopia). He holds degrees in Biblical Studies and Missiology.
Robert Guerrero is a New York born Dominican who has served as pastor/Church planter for over 25 years both in the United States and Dominican Republic. In the late 80's he co-planted La Villita Community Church with Noel Castellanos, and applying the principles of CCDA planted and pastored for 16 years La Iglesia Comunitaria Cristiana in Santo Domingo. Robert is a founding member of La Red Del Camino para la Misión Integral (Del Camino Network for Holistic Mission) - a fellowship of hundreds of incarnational/missional Churches from 10 Latin American countries committed to living out the Gospel holistically in their respective communities. Robert now serves with Redeemer City to City as NYC Church Planting Catalyst, coaching and mentoring leaders that are seeking to plant Churches with a city vision. He is also the Lead Pastor of Trinity Grace Church-Washington Heights, a bilingual, multi-ethnic congregation. Robert and his wife Damaris have 4 children - Joshua, Tomás, Robert Jr. and Joel.
Rondell Treviño (@Rondell_Trevino)
Rondell Treviño is a Pastor at Woodland Presbyterian Church, and Founder/Director of Memphis immigration Project. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies at Belhaven University in July 2014 and a Master of Divinity from Capital Seminary in August 2016. Rondell routinely preaches on various topics from the Bible and also speaks passionately on immigration from a Biblical perspective throughout the Southeast. Before becoming a pastor, he worked as a Southeast Church Mobilizer for the Evangelical Immigration Table in 2016 where he trained Churches on Immigration from a Biblical perspective and met with legislators in Washington on the value of Immigrants and Immigration Reform. Above all, Rondell is married to the love of his life, Laura Sofia Treviño.
Sara Aardema (@SaritaAardema)
Sara helps refugees and local churches build relationships as World Relief Chicago’s Director of Volunteer and Church Engagement. Sara trains and equips churches to advocate for Chicago’s refugee and immigrant community, and loves witnessing God transform lives through cross-cultural ministry. Sara holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Loyola University Chicago. When she’s not biking along Lake Michigan, you can find her watching soccer with her black lab mix pup and her husband, Matt.
Shai Linne (@ShaiLinne)
Shai Linne is one of the founding pastors of Risen Christ Fellowship, which was planted in September 2015 in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Before that, Shai did a pastoral internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., after which he served for two years as an elder at Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA. Shai is also a recording artist with Lamp Mode Recordings, where he has released six Christian hip-hop albums. He is happily married to Blair and they have three children- Sage, Maya and Ezra.
Shawn is on staff with GRIP Outreach for Youth as the program director of the GTS (GRIP The School) initiative, which trains volunteers from local churches to serve Chicago Public Schools on a practical level in order to build Christ-centered, Life-On-Life relationships with students. Originally from Florida, he worked as an actor and youth pastor prior to attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Shawn lives in the northwest side of Chicago and is married to his best friend, Pamela. They are blessed with one daughter, Annemarie Grace, and are pursuing foster care licensing to welcome other children into their home.
Sho Baraka (@AmishoBaraka)
Hip-hop Artist. He is a graduate from University of North Texas and serves in Denton, TX with Lifeline Church and its college ministry, Plumbline.
He has lived half of his life in mainland China, and the other half in various parts of the United States. He also had the opportunity to visit countries like the Philippines, Thailand, England, Turkey, and Italy. He has spent most of his childhood moving from place to place and has had a lot of experience interacting with different cultures and people. Solomon gained his bachelors degree in Biblical studies from the Moody Bible Institute in May of 2015. Most of his ministry has been working with refugees from the Islamic context in the city of Chicago for the last 3 and a half years. Him and his Wife Elizabeth are members of Legacy Christian Fellowship Albany Park in Chicago. They are passionate about loving the church, and loving the nations in the city.
Soong-Chan Rah (@profrah)
Church growth and evangelism Associate Professor at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. Soong-Chan is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVP Books, 2009) and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010). He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history/sociology from Columbia University; his Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; his Master of Theology degree from Harvard University; and his Doctor of Ministry degree from GCTS. He’s currently in the Doctor of Theology program at Duke University.
Steven M. Lee
Steven M. Lee serves as the founding pastor of Redeemer City Church in Washington, D.C. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from University of Maryland at College Park and his Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He’s married to Tiffany and they have four children. Steven enjoys watching and playing basketball, fantasy football, watching HGTV with Tiffany and good Texas BBQ.
Steve Ross is a passionate discipler, couples mentor, and aspiring church planter. An inner city Los Angeles native, his passion is to develop and multiply urban leaders with a shared vision for making disciples and strengthening families. In 2008 he responded to God's call to be trained for pastoral ministry which ultimately led to him studying for a Bachelors Degree in the applied theology of Biblical Counseling. In 2010 he took a position at The Master's College, where he still serves, discipling and teaching students in Urban and Multiethnic ministry. Steve has been married to his lifelong best friend Jamie for 14 years. They're blessed to raise 3 sons and 3 daughters together.
For nearly 20 years, she has used the tools of preaching, music, spoken word and other innovative methods to create dynamic, life-changing experiences between ordinary people and an extraordinary God. Her desire is to see people transformed in God's presence to serve God's purpose. She is married to Pastor Tim Smith, her husband of 12 years, and they reside in Chicago.
Vanja and BJ Thompson have been married for 15 years and have 3 amazing children: Love 13, Johnathon 9, and Joshua 7. They currently reside in Atlanta, GA where she is an educator at Peace Preparatory Academy. Vanja assisted in forming Build a Better Us, an organization designed to cultivate healthy marriages in the context of discipleship. In her free time she enjoys listening to music, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.
Victor Sholar (@victorsholar)
Graduated from the Master’s Seminary in 2004 and received a Master’s of Divinity Degree. Shortly thereafter, the Lord blessed him to become Associate Pastor at the Los Angeles Community Bible Church (LACBC) while also serving as a Bible instructor at the Los Angeles Bible Training School (LABTS). He served in these two positions for 6 years. He currently pastors Main Street Baptist Church.
Warner J Miller (@HISNAMEISWARNER)
A professional film and television stage actor, author of A Diary of a Mad Christian, and alumnus of Oxford University where he studied theology with a concentration in Christian Apologetics. He currently serves as a youth minister and speaker discussing topics from life's big questions of morality, destiny and the existence of God to the fundamentals of the Christian faith and uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Also discussions on the tensions between race & religion and the necessity of engaging our communities, cities, and neighborhoods around liberating life-giving message of the Gospel are prevalent.
William Branch (@Ambassador215)
Rapper, Co-founder and primary spokesperson for the nationally acclaimed Christian rap group, The Cross Movement. As an urban practitioner of over two decades, spending most of his time in the city of Philadelphia, The Ambassador has served the cause of Christ through rapping, speaking, mentoring, consulting, and church planting. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Bible from Lancaster Bible College as well as a Masters degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).