As founder and lead pastor of City Life, Brad loves to preach inspiring messages that help people laugh, cry, and love Jesus more deeply. Brad is husband to Leah, and father of Gabby, Claire, Caleb, and Karis. Originally from Michigan, Brad gladly made the move to Philly in 2010 when it became clear that God was calling him to start a new church in this beautiful city. Brad has been a pastor for over 16 years. His passion is to build up teams and leaders to reach out to THE ONE; it excites him to see people who may not come from religious backgrounds experience God in personal and transformational ways.
Favorite food: Filet Mignon (medium)
Favorite book: Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes
Life motto/quote: “Success is not what you accomplish. It’s what you set in
motion.”- Jeff Leake
Favorite sport: Is fantasy football a sport? If not, then basketball. Trust the process!
Favorite movie/TV show: Shark Tank
Fun fact: My nickname growing up was Bumper because I ran into things a lot.
Leah grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where she worked in full-time kids and middle school ministry before marrying Brad and joining him in Michigan. She is passionate about the local church and believes it’s the tool God wants to use to change the world. Leah came to Philly to launch City Life in 2010 and has served on the Leadership Team in various positions since then. She loves communicating God’s Truth and connecting with new and long-time City Lifers every week. She also loves her family! She and Brad have been married for over ten years and are parents to Gabriella, Claire, Caleb, and Karis.
Favorite food: Hmmmmm . . . Hard to narrow it down, but I’m going to go with peanut butter chocolate ice cream with rainbow jimmies. And pizza.
Favorite book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Life motto/quote: Bad things may happen, but God’s goodness will prevail.
Favorite sport: Football. Steelers. And also the Eagles, when they’re not playing the Steelers. ☺
Favorite movie/TV show: I miss LOST. I really loved LOST. And The Office can make me laugh.
Fun fact: My name means Wild Cow in Hebrew.
If City Life were a baseball team, Chip would be our utility player, stepping in to serve wherever he is needed. He also leads the Usher Team. He grew up in San Diego, California, and later moved to a small town in the High Desert of California where he interned and served as a youth pastor. Chip and his wife, Amanda—who met at City Life—have one daughter, Amelia. Chip loves food (all types of food!), which is why we lovingly call him our “Pastor-at-large!” So if you’re looking for someone to grab a meal with: He’s your guy! He loves all sports, too, even golf and tennis, and has a goal of attending a major event for every sport.
Favorite food: In a city that has so many good restaurants it’s hard to pick a favorite food. So here would be a perfect food day:
Breakfast: Sam’s Morning Glory frittata and biscuit
Lunch: Royal Tavern’s house burger
Dinner: Buddukan’s sea bass
Favorite book: Scary Close by Donald Miller
Life motto/quote: Make it happen.
Favorite sport: Baseball, Go Padres!!
Favorite movie/TV show:
Movie: Jason Bourne Series
TV show: Suits
Fun fact: I have a brother named . . . Dale
Weekend Service Director
As Weekend Service Director, and as a worship leader, AJ enjoys working with the worship and production teams to create an environment where people can experience the life-changing presence of God. Having led worship since she was 13, she is grateful for her parents who are in music ministry and always encouraged her to serve. AJ has lived in Philly since 2007, but grew up in South Jersey and says she will always be a Jersey girl at heart. AJ loves songwriting, the ocean, and her two cats, Mary and Martha, who she says are very mischievous but unbelievably cute.
Favorite food: My mom’s lasagna. And chocolate. And peanut butter . . . do I have to pick just one??
Favorite book: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Life motto/quote: “Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one.” – Stella Adler
Favorite sport: Football, especially if the Dillon Panthers (from Friday Night Lights) are playing 🙂
Favorite movie/TV show:
Movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
TV show: That Girl
Fun fact: I loved to sing the Chicken Dance in Italian when I was 2.
City Life Kids Director
As City Life Kids Director, Shannen wants the children of Philly to know they are loved by God, saved through Christ, and created for a purpose. Shannen and her husband, Mark, fell in love with the City Life vision in 2010, when the church was still in its planning stages and have been a part of City Life ever since. Shannen is passionate about her family; she and Mark are parents to son, Ezra, and daughter, Kai. In Shannen’s free time, she enjoys music, cooking, and going to see live concerts by her favorite bands.
Favorite food: Chocolate. I almost always have some with me!
Favorite book: Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper
Favorite movie/TV show:
Movie: Dumb and Dumber
TV Show: Lost. Best show ever created. My husband and I still watch it!
Student Ministry Director
As Student Ministry Director, Darrell strives to help students build authentic faith in Christ while preparing them for leadership in their church, schools, community and the world. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Darrell has been volunteering with the city’s youth since he was fifteen. He and his wife, Shalaya, have “five beautiful, bright, bold, insanely loud kids”: Treeanna, Darrell, Destiny, Dean, Dariah—and an imaginary dog named Cupcake. Darrell enjoys writing music and poetry, singing and rapping.
Favorite food: My favorite food is anything my wife makes—her cooking is “mmm-mmm” good! Her food gives me a taste of what heaven is like.
Favorite book: Besides the Bible, my favorite book is The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, because it’s a story of belief, hope, faith, courage, and determination.
Life motto/quote: I have two:
“A child with a dream is a child with a future.” – Wintley Phipps
“Serving others serves you best.” – I created this one myself
Favorite sport: I’ve played a lot of sports: basketball, swimming, gymnastics, and boxing, but my favorite sport is thumb-wrestling! I’m undisputed, undefeated and always looking for a worthy opponent.
Favorite movie/TV show:
Movie: The Pursuit of Happiness
TV show: MARTIN, starring Martin Lawrence.
Fun fact: I was in a boy band. LOL
As Communications Director, Tika loves to create, capture, and share the heart and soul of City Life. A country girl raised in Lancaster County, Tika moved to Philly in 2012 after four years in Rochester, NY studying photography. If she’s not wandering around the city taking pictures, Tika is at home with her three cats, Zeus (the cautious one), Ollie (the opinionated one), and Max (the one who believes her laptop is his personal bed).
Favorite food: If food were one of the love languages, I am pretty sure it would be mine. I love comfort food: Chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, bread! If I could eat pizza for every meal, I would. I also have the biggest sweet tooth: Ice cream, mousse, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! (But not white chocolate because that isn’t real chocolate.)
Favorite book: Uprooted by Naomi Novik and of course the entire Harry Potter series.
Life motto/quote: “Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.” – Audrey Hepburn
Favorite sport: Is napping a sport?
Favorite TV show: I am definitely a TV person. Boy Meets World and Gilmore Girls will always have a special place in my heart.
Favorite Movie: Having a bad day? All I need to do is turn on Legally Blonde, The Little Rascals, or any Audrey Hepburn movie and I’m fine.
Fun Fact: During the day I photograph surgeries as well as take clinical images of patients who have eye cancer. (Yes, eye cancer is a thing. It’s rare, but it can happen.)
As Pastor Brad’s assistant, Heather strives to make things as organized and creative as possible. Heather loves design, painting and creating fun events at City Life. As a “Pastor’s Kid,” Heather grew up in a ministry environment and before moving to Philly, worked on staff at her home church in Springfield, MO. Heather and her husband Josh—who can often be found working with Heather on projects at City Life— are parents to son, Titus.
Favorite food: Josh and I are self-proclaimed foodies, so it’s very difficult to pick just one thing! I love seafood and Italian food, I drink lattes like they should be their own food group and I love a good steak!
Favorite book: One that has always been my favorite — Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala.
Life motto/quote: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
Favorite sport: I love hockey! Josh and I love going to Flyers games!
Favorite movie/TV show: I have several favorite shows—The Office, Gilmore Girls and Fixer Upper, just to name a few. My all-time favorite movie is Rocky!
Fun Fact: Though I consider Springfield, Missouri to be home, I was actually born in New Jersey. I’ve lived in a lot of different places in between—too many to list, but I especially enjoyed the time I spent living in South Africa.
As Discipleship Pastor, Chris oversees the Life Group and Grow Track ministries. He enjoys developing and leading teams that help others feel welcomed and find meaningful community. Previously, Chris worked as a Children’s Pastor, creatively helping families grow in their understanding of who God has called them to be. He has a BA in psychology with a concentration in counseling and has a heart to lead others into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Chris loves all things coffee-related, going for long runs, and using his tortilla press every chance he gets!
Favorite food: Tacos. I could seriously eat them every day . . . for every meal . . . oh and coffee. Tacos and coffee.
Favorite book: Goliath Must Fall, by Louie Giglio
Life motto/quote: “Though our feelings come and go . . . God’s love for us does not.” - C.S Lewis
Favorite sport: Football, pick-up basketball, and ultimate Frisbee.
Favorite movie: Remember the Titans
Favorite TV show: The Office
Fun fact: I just really don’t like cake. Kinda over-rated . . . Huge Birthday cookie is where it’s at.
Pastoral Care Pastor
After 42 years of full time ministry, including 22 years as Lead Pastor of Calvary Temple, Pastor George now serves as City Life’s Pastoral Care Pastor. Pastor George grew up in South Philly and came to Christ as a teenager at Teen Challenge. He has been married to Ruth for 40 years; they have two adult children—both active in church ministry— and two grandchildren, who Pastor George says are the joy of his life. His greatest passion is to communicate God’s Word and lead others to transformation in Christ.
Favorite food: I connected with many cultures and enjoyed many cuisines during the ten years I spent living in New York City . . . Greek and Colombian foods are my favorites.
Favorite book: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim
Life Motto: “To know Him by the Spirit and by the Spirit to make Him known.”
Favorite sport: Baseball. I became a dedicated Yankees fan while living in New York, but I still root for the Phillies, too.
Favorite movie/TV show: Ben Hur
Fun fact: My first time sport fishing I caught a 140 pound striped marlin.
As Office Coordinator, Ruthy enjoys greeting visitors, answering phone calls and keeping the office running smoothly. She leads a life group and is also a Grow Track leader. She has been married to Pastor George for 40 years. Together, they planted a church in New York and pastored there for ten years prior to serving as pastors at Calvary Temple for 22 years. They have two adult children, Michael and Angela, and two grandchildren, Nicolas and Evie, who Ruthy says are her “pride and joy.” In her free time, Ruthy enjoys home decorating and training her new puppy, Judah.
Favorite food: I love trying food from all over the world, but I especially love Greek cuisine—my favorite dishes are grilled octopus and shrimp saganaki.
Favorite book: “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymbala
Life motto: “Everything in life should be a learning experience; let’s embrace it and move forward.”
Favorite sport: Basketball. I’m a Villanova and 76ers fan
Favorite movie/TV show: Rear Window and To Kill a Mockingbird are my favorite movies. As for TV: any show on HGTV that involves flipping houses.
Fun fact: When I find myself in a disastrous situation, I imagine I’m in an episode of the “I Love Ruthy” show. (Can you guess what era I grew up in?!)