Dr. Bryan Chapell
The Grace Church Team
Every staff member at Grace brings a passion for excellence to their work and a desire to see God's kingdom grow in Peoria and around the world.
Click HERE to see a list of our Session Elders and Diaconate members.
Dr. Bryan Chapell
Our Senior Pastor is Dr. Bryan Chapell. He came to us after spending 30 years at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis where he served as President and Chancellor from 1994 to 2013. Before his time at Covenant, he was a pastor in two churches. Pastor Bryan has written numerous best-selling books, including Christ-Centered Preaching, Christ-Centered Worship, Holiness by Grace, Praying Backwards, Each for the Other, and a children’s book, I’ll Love You Anyway and Always. Pastor Bryan provides grace-filled preaching and teaching, visionary leadership, discipleship of young leaders, serves as the face of Grace to the public, and extends Grace’s impact nationally and internationally through the media ministry and global outreach. Pastor Bryan is married to Kathy, a spiritual mother to many and a talented musician who plays flute and sings with Grace’s musicians. Bryan and Kathy, have four adult children, a growing number of grandchildren, and they enjoy the blessings of many friends, fishing and faith. Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Pastor Bryan to the family of Grace when he first came to us in 2013: “We do not presume to know what the future will hold, or what challenges may be ahead, but we do believe that this uniting of hearts was the first great marshaling of spiritual resources for the gospel mission that lies before us. As the Holy Spirit unites us in Christ's cause, we know that our lives are being welded together in great strength to do a great work. The work may be to hold faithful in the face of secular challenge, to show grace in the face of spiritual opposition, to multiply disciples for the Savior - or some combination of all of these. But, whether we are called to face trial, multiply hope or defend truth, when we face that calling as one body of Christ, He shall be glorified in us. Ultimately His glory is our goal and under the grace that is His banner we look forward to the days to come with you.”
Greg joined the staff team at Grace in the spring of 2009. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Greg first worked in industry and then served with the United States Air Force in South Carolina (where he met his wife Cecilia), Germany, and Hawaii.
He received his Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1998. After serving as a pastor in southern Illinois, he came to Grace to lead the ministry to children and families. In September 2011, Greg became the Executive Pastor.
Greg and Cecilia have four children: Breanna, Isaac, Joshua, and Rachel. Greg’s desire is for the church and family to partner in shepherding God’s people toward mature faith in Christ.
Greg’s life verse reminds him that we become what we behold: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Kerry joined the staff team at Grace in the summer of 2007. Raised in the western suburbs of Chicago, he received his training for ministry at Wheaton College Graduate School (M.A.) and Trinity Divinity School (M.Div.)
Before coming to Grace, Kerry served three churches in central Illinois over the last 20 years. He and his wife, Nancy (native of Tinley Park, IL) have seven children, Cassie Mahan (married), Nathan (recently married), Bethany, Victoria, Brittany, Andrew, and Andre. Kerry enjoys watching, playing, and coaching sports of all kinds.
He seeks to train believers of all ages to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. His desire is to make Christ known and equip believers to serve as mature disciples of Christ in the Lord’s vineyard.
A verse that has impacted his life is, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Pastor of Congregational Care
John has been part of the Grace team since the summer of 2015. He grew up in Miami, Florida where he stayed through his college years. He received his training for ministry at Reformed Theological Seminary (M.C.E.) and Erskine Theological Seminary (M. Div).
In his early years of ministry, John served as a Youth Director and as a Christian Education Director. He would go on to serve three churches in Florida as pastor.
He and his wife, Grace, have a daughter who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband. John's hobbies are guitar playing and fitness training.
John seeks in his ministry at Grace to have the heart of a compassionate servant who encourages those in the midst of trials. A verse that has profoundly impacted his life is, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
Executive Administrative Assistant
Karen joined the staff at Grace Presbyterian Church in October 2011. Before that time she was the Children’s Ministry Superintendent in charge of 3-year-olds through 6th Grade for 3 years. Karen graduated from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL with a B.S. in Deaf Studies: Teacher Education. She taught in District 150 for several years before having children.
Karen and her husband Todd have 4 children: Hannah, Aaron, Caleb, and Nathan. Karen has a passion to see children and pre-teens grow in their faith through meaningful worship and discipleship.
A favorite passage of hers is Psalm 78:1-7, “...but tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”
Director of Women's Ministries
Sarah Alkire joined the Grace staff in October 2012. She was born and raised in Peoria and has attended Grace since she was three years old. Sarah graduated from Bradley University in 2001 with a degree in elementary education. That same year she married her high school sweetheart Brett Alkire, and they have four children: Brock, Natalie, Bryce, and Brett. Sarah has a passion for women's ministry and desires to minister to women in all stages of life through encouragement, teaching, mentoring, and fellowship.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Director of Disciple-Making
Greg joined the Grace staff in 2001 as the youth director and has had a couple other roles and responsibilities sense then. He is currently The Director of Disciple-making. His personal mission is to make disciples and coach disciple-makers. Greg’s primary focus is on seeding a life-on-life disciple-making movement at Grace. He also partners with and coaches other staff and leaders of various ministries. Greg has a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary, as well as, a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry. He is married to Trinity who is a professional counselor and the mother of their four children. Greg enjoys time home with T and the kids, the Cardinals, and a solid game of ultimate. Greg is passionate about equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12) and enjoys watching God use them for His glory.
Director of Worship
A south Florida native, Kevin King joined the staff at Grace as the Director of Worship in June 2015. Amazed by the beauty of God, Kevin finds joy in turning the hearts of a congregation to the word of God through powerful melodies and solid text.
In all areas of worship Kevin desires that the Gospel be uplifted and made known. Kevin enjoys maturing the gifts of artists to offer them for God’s glory and incorporate that in worship, allowing unique individuals to aid in leading worship.
Kevin believes worship is a response to an eternal, relentlessly-pursuing God, so he desires to unite people in worship from different cultures, generations, and backgrounds, and have the mighty name of Jesus be praised and celebrated.
Kevin received his master's degree in music at the University of Texas at Austin. While studying in Austin, Kevin had the honor to lead worship under Pastor Randy Phillips from recording group Phillips, Craig, and Dean at LifeAustin Church. He then was the Director of Worship & Creative Arts at Pinewood Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Florida, from 2010 until 2015.
With a passion to advance God’s kingdom on earth, Kevin uses corporate worship as the outlet to inspire believers to action for God’s name, creating a culture that is for the city and for the nations.
Director of Youth Ministries
John joined the Grace Presbyterian staff full time in May 2006. Growing up, his family lived in Chile, Switzerland, and multiple places in the U.S. through his dad’s job at Caterpillar. They settled in Germantown Hills in 1994 and have attended Grace since then.
John later obtained a B.A. through the University of Illinois (2006) and a Masters in Biblical Studies through Moody Theological Seminary (2014). During his undergraduate years, he did two summer internships with the youth ministry at Grace and gained a strong heart for ministering to youth and pointing them to Jesus.
In 2009, John married Beth, who is a licensed clinical professional counselor at John R. Day Christian Psychological Associates. They have two young boys, Joel and Micah, and a little girl named Lucy. They love being parents and experiencing the joys and craziness of having three little kids who keep them on their toes. They love spending time outside, going for bike rides, and exploring nature.
Since his teens, John has striven to live a Proverbs 3:5-6 life: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Junior High and Young Adult Minister
Austin joined the Grace staff in 2016 as the ministry director for junior high and young adults. Originally from Chattanooga, Austin moved to Budapest, Hungary in 2006 and served as a missionary teacher, youth pastor, and worship director for 10 years. While in Budapest, he met his wife Hannah Branson and had their son Asher. Austin is passionate about equipping and empowering followers of Christ to use their unique gifts to love God, love others, and make disciples. Presently, he is pursuing a Masters in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. In his free time he enjoys disc golf, going on walks with his family, being with people, and playing music.
Director of Facilities
Randy joined the Grace staff as Director of Facilities in February of 2015. He was raised in nearby Lewistown, where his parents and siblings still reside. He attended Western Illinois University, and after being led to the Lord by college roommates his senior year, was shortly thereafter challenged to give his life as an overseas tribal missionary/church planter. In pursuit of that ministry, he earned his BA of Intercultural Ministry through New Tribes Mission.
Along with his wife Carla of 28 years and 5 children: Spencer, Madalyn (Whitman) Anderson, Meredith, Morgan, and Mitchell, he served nearly 3 decades in full-time Missionary Service. During that time, Randy and his family served both in stateside ministry as Facility Manager and teaching staff at multiple missionary training facilities, and also in the country of Papua New Guinea with the Regional Leadership Teams, Field Board of Directors, and as tribal church planters. During that time, an added blessing was that Randy & Carla were able to serve alongside each of Carla’s 3 siblings and 12 nieces and nephews! They are eternally grateful for the great exposure to the needs of the world their family has been able to experience during our career which has been life changing and motivating. Spending time with family and friends, being outdoors in God’s creation, sports involvement on all levels, and working with his hands are special activities he enjoys.
Romans 5:8 has always been a capturing verse: “But God showed his great love to us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” With that great revelation, comes the great responsibility to make known the incredible love of God through Jesus Christ, so it is a special blessing to continue to serve in ministry through the local church who seek to make the name of Jesus Christ known throughout all the world!
Media Ministry & I.T. Director
Christopher Summers joined the Grace Presbyterian staff in September 2002 and directs the Media Ministry and Information Technology of the church. He produces and edits the television and radio broadcast of our Sunday morning worship service (Grace Alive!), our annual Grace Family Christmas concert, and numerous other ministry and testimony videos. He also has general oversight of the technical needs of the church, from sanctuary sound and lighting to computer technology.
Chris graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor's degree in Communications/TV Arts. He has been married to Amy since 1994, and they have three children: Jacqueline, Margaret, and James. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, play piano, and read.
Director of Hospitality and Assimilation
Jonathan joined the Grace staff as the Director of Hospitality and Assimilation in February 2015. Born and raised in New England, Jonathan's first taste of Illinois was while attending Trinity International University, where he graduated with a BA in Christian Ministries (2005).
Jonathan married his college sweetheart Katie, a Peoria and Grace Native, in 2006 and they have 2 children: David and Addison. Jonathan has served as a youth pastor in Wisconsin, a Program Director at Palomar Christian Conference Center (CA) and most recently as a counselor parent for troubled teens in Indiana. In all these roles one theme has been a common factor: Jonathan's desire to build, unite, and foster the Christian Community. Jonathan brings to Grace this love and a passion for community “so that we may work together for the truth.” (3 John 1:8)
Communications Specialist & Graphic Designer
Missions Administrative Assistant
Karen Cordes joined the Grace Presbyterian staff in March 2014 and works as the Administrative Assistant to the Missions Committee of the church. She organizes and coordinates the annual missions conference as well as the monthly needs of the 74 missionary families supported by Grace. Having grown up in Venezuela as a missionary kid, and then served as a missionary in Indonesia with her husband and children, she has a deep passion and heart for missions and the people that our Lord has chosen to serve Him in full time ministry as missionaries.
Karen graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies. She has been married to Brian since 1989, and they have three children: Zach (who is married to Jordan), Janelle (who is married to Wes Learned), and Brad.
Ellyn started working at Grace in the fall of 2015. Prior to joining the Grace staff she had the privilege of serving as an administrative assistant and marketing director for 10 years with a senior living community in Peoria. She loves children and has also had the opportunity to serve as children’s ministry director in two previous churches. Spending time and serving in ministry with her husband Jim is second only to spending time with Jesus. She is passionate about helping others experience a vibrant relationship with Jesus and His Presence in their lives daily. Ellyn is blessed with two sons, one daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. She treasures the joy they bring to her life.
Joel Van Ness
Buildings and Grounds Keeper
Interim Children's Ministry Director, VBS Director & KIDventure Coordinator
Julie was born and raised in the Peoria area and has attended Grace all of her life. Grace is where she accepted Christ, met her husband, got married, baptized her children, and even married off her daughter. Julie became the VBS Director in 2007 and the KIDventure Coordinator in 2015. She has also been a teacher in Kidz Klub since 2001 and was the Interim Director of Children’s Ministry in Fall 2008 to Spring 2009.
Julie attended Covenant College where she received her Teaching Certificate in 1992. She married her high school sweetheart, Stephen, and they have 3 children: Kara (and Philip), Timothy, and Jonathan.
While she accepted Christ as her personal Savior at age 6 in Sunday school at Grace, it wasn’t until Summer Camp her sophomore year that Julie felt God calling her for more of her life. There, she rededicated her life to Christ and has been striving to live fully for Him ever since.
Julie has been a part of Children’s Ministry her entire life, first as a child and then as a teacher. She loves children and longs for every child to know Jesus personally. The best sound to her ears is when a child is singing or talking about Jesus.
Special Needs Coordinator
Katie Welch began working as the Special Needs Coordinator here at Grace in January of 2016. Katie was born and raised in Peoria and grew up here at Grace. Katie graduated from Trinity International University in 2005 with a degree in elementary education. She currently teaches at Von Steuben Middle School in Peoria. Katie is married to Jonathan Welch, the Director of Hospitality and Assimilation here at Grace, and they have two children.
Wednesday Night Pre-School Coordinator
Jamie grew up in rural Princeville, Illinois where she currently resides. She has attended church since infancy and is no stranger to children’s ministry. Before her work at Grace, she taught self-defense to children of all ages. Her hobbies include: scuba diving, expanding her knowledge of the legal world, babysitting, cooking, and traveling. Jamie is the coordinator of Infants through Pre-school aged children on Wednesday evenings. She focuses on presenting the Gospel in age appropriate ways and creating a program that helps the children want to come to church, while providing the children with special memories in a safe environment. The ultimate goal of her job is instill faith in each child that will last a lifetime. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Sunday Morning Superintendent
Elizabeth joined the Grace Pres staff in September 2015. She was born and raised in the Dunlap area. She graduated the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Early Childhood education with minors in East Asian history and art. Her master's program was in Extension education with a focus on experiential learning. Elizabeth is happily married to Bryan. They have 4 children; 1 in college at Bradley University, and 3 homeschooling. They live on a small family farm with sheep, llamas, chickens, an occasional cow, a whole lot of singing, music, and laughter around the kitchen table. Elizabeth loves connecting with parents and children on Sunday mornings. Psalm 46
Director of Campus Outreach College Ministries
Mike grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering. He is married to Stacey and they have two children, Knox and Katie-Beth. Mike enjoys playing with the family, playing basketball, hunting, and college football.
Mike is the Director of the Campus Outreach College Ministry. In Matthew 9, Jesus told His disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. The vision of Campus Outreach is "Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World," which grows out of a conviction that laborers continue to be the need today.
Campus Outreach endeavors to develop college students into mature laborers through evangelism, life-on-life discipleship, discipleship groups, large group events, and International as well as domestic Summer Projects.
If you would like to know more about the Campus Outreach ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact Mike.
Chris grew up in Manchester, Tennessee, and graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering. He is married to Hannah and they have three children: Marigrace, Heath, and Jacob. Chris enjoys being with his family, carpentry, gardening, hunting, and fishing. Chris helps resource and manage administrative and technological needs for the Campus Outreach Central Illinois Ministry as well as ministers to students at Bradley University. The vision of Campus Outreach is "Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World". Campus Outreach endeavors to develop college students into mature laborers through evangelism, life-on-life discipleship, discipleship groups, large group events, and International as well as domestic Summer Projects.
Jana serves as a resource staff member for Campus Outreach, the college ministry of Grace. Her role involves furthering the vision of 'building laborers on the campus for the lost world' by providing administrative support for campus staff and logistics for retreats, conferences, and training programs for students. In addition to her time in the office Jana is involved in the life-on-life discipleship of women at Bradley University. Jana grew up in Northeast Tennessee and graduated from Tennessee Tech with a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering. She enjoys running, reading, sewing, and college football. A favorite passage of her's is Colossians 3:1-3: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.