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 9 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
As Connections Pastor, Janna oversees the Guest Services Team and Life Group ministry. She enjoys leading and developing teams and working with them to help others feel welcomed and find meaningful community. After college, Janna moved to Philly to work as a youth pastor in an inner-city church. During that time her heart for the city grew. She has her license as a professional counselor and a passion to bring hope and healing to those who feel lost and broken. A true outdoor girl, Janna loves gardening, camping, or simply relaxing on her porch swing.
Favorite food: Indian. Mexican. Greek. Seafood. COFFEE.
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Life motto/quote: “In every encounter we either give life or we drain it. There is no neutral exchange.” -Brennan Manning
Favorite sport: Hiking
Favorite movie/TV show: The Mission, including its haunting soundtrack.
Fun fact: I love good adventures that turn into great stories. One thing I’ve often found myself saying is, “Let’s do it, as long as no one gets hurt.” Monkeys in Malaysia, bathhouse in Morocco, swimming in Glacier all make for an enriched life.
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 “four beautiful, bright, bold, insanely loud kids”: Treeanna, Darrell, Destiny and Dean—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
Assistant to Pastor Brad
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 new 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 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 4 years in Rochester, NY studying photography. Tika grew up serving in various aspects of ministry, including children’s ministry where she still serves today. If she’s not wandering around the city taking pictures, Tika is at home with her 3 cats, Zeus (the cautious one), Ollie (the grouchy 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 but right now I have a small obsession with Riverdale.
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.)