Growing Young Adventists is delighted to have passionate speakers who are serving as point persons across the North American Division and beyond. In addition to their experience in youth/young adult ministry and passion for next generations, they have an in-depth understanding of Growing Young Adventists training. We’re glad to introduce our #GYA presenters to you:
Geraldo Alonso II, is the senior pastor of the Lynchburg Seventh-day Adventist Church in Virginia. He was born in San Antonio, TX. Geraldo lived there until he moved to Keene, TX to earn a Theology degree from Southwestern Adventist University. Since graduating in 2009, Geraldo has pastored churches in Muskogee, OK; Keene, TX; Lubbock, TX; and now Lynchburg, VA. Geraldo has a passion for discipling and working with youth and young adults believing that they need to be given the tools to lead today. Geraldo is married to the love of his life, Suzy, and they have two girls named Adey and Ella. As a family, they love spending time together outdoors experiencing new adventurers. Geraldo serves as a #GYA presenter with Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes territories in Virginia [Northern, Capital, South Central, Southwest, Tidewater, and Valley], DC/Maryland, and DC Metro Hispanic.
Andre Arrais is the pastor of the Corrales Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Mexico and also the Young Adult Director for the Texico Conference. Andre was born in Brazil, where he spent most of his life. His grandfather, father, mother and brother are also pastors. Before coming to the United States and getting his MDiv at Andrews University, Andre graduated in Law School at UNASP in the state of São Paulo, where he also felt called to pastoral ministry. Andre is married to Natalia, and they have two children together (Noah and Stella). Andre is a musician in his free time, a Sixers fan in game time and he loves the outdoors. Andre serves as a #GYA presenter for the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist which includes the territories of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico (except San Juan County), Oklahoma, and Texas.
Manny Arteaga is the founding pastor of Kalēo Seventh-day Adventist Church, a vibrant congregation in Southern California. He has a degree in Business Administration from La Sierra University, a Masters in Theological Studies from HMS Richards Divinity School, and is currently working on his Doctorate in Urban Ministry at Fuller Seminary. As passionate as he is about ministry, he considers his greatest accomplishment to be married to Keren, the girl of his dreams, and raising two beautiful girls: Sophia Xareni and Karissa Bella. Manny serves as a #GYA presenter with Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, that part of Kern County that lies south and east of the Tehachapi Mountains, and that part of Santa Barbara County that lies to the east of the 120th meridian.
Jason A. Bulgin is the founding pastor of The EDGE Worship Community, a spirited new congregation in the Pacific Northwest. He has a degree in Elementary Education from Oakwood University, a Masters in Christian Ministry/Church Planting and Evangelism from Liberty University, and is currently working on his PhD in Organizational Leadership. An innovator known for his non-traditional ministry approach, Pastor Jason loves painting vivid pictures of the Word of God without compromising the message. A family man above all, he is happily married to Jessica Bulgin, and together they share in the joy of raising three beautiful children: Jordyn, Janae, and Joseph. Jason serves as a #GYA presenter with the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Steve Case is the president of Involve Youth, where he seeks to energize young people in service. He grew up in the Adventist Church and has been involved in youth and young adult ministry for decades. He’s been a youth pastor, a seminary youth ministry professor, and a youth resource center director. Dr. Case also coordinates the Intergenerational Church cohort for the Andrews University Doctor of Ministry program. Steve serves as a #GYA point person for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists [NAD] which includes the territories of Bermuda, Canada, Guam, Micronesia, and the United States of America.
Jose Cortes, Jr., currently serves as Associate Director of the North American Division Ministerial Association and leads Evangelism, Church Planting, Global Mission, Church Growth, and Mission to the Cities for the Adventist Church in North America. Jose recognizes the importance of this task and continually asks the Holy Spirit for a double portion of love, vision, courage, grace, wisdom, power, and compassion to reach, retain, and reclaim others for Christ, along with the great team of about 5,000 pastors, leaders, and Volunteer Lay Pastors across the NAD. Pastor Jose holds a Master of Divinity (M.Div) from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Andrews University, and a B.A. in Theology from Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University. Jose serves as a #GYA presenter for the North American Division which includes the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and the islands of Guam and Micronesia.
David Craig is the Youth/Young Adult Ministries Director for the Arkansas Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He is happily married to spouse, Brittany, and enjoys playing sports, taking road trips, as well as playing the guitar. David serves as #GYA point person for the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist which includes the territories of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico (except San Juan County), Oklahoma, and Texas.
Benji Ferguson is the Youth Pastor for the Carmichael Seventh-day Adventist Church, Sacramento, California, and has almost two decades of “boots on the ground” youth ministry experience. His biggest ministry passions are developing student leaders and helping churches realize their intergenerational potential. He is the lucky husband of Stephanie who teaches Jr. High, and the proud father of Dylan, Holly and Liesl. Benji serves as #GYA point person for the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Johnston Island, Midway Islands, and various other islands of the Pacific.
Timothy Floyd is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has also discipled next generations as a Religion Teacher, Adventist Chaplain, and Youth Pastor since 2006. He and his wife, Teresa, are soon to be parents to a baby girl. Timothy serves as #GYA point person for the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and San Juan County in New Mexico.
Eric Jean-Baptiste is passionate about youth ministry. He began preaching at his local church at a very young age and has been working in youth ministry ever since. Sabbath School teacher, youth elder, student pastor, and Pathfinder/ Adventurer Director are some of the past experiences he has had in the church as a youth leader. He serves the Lake Region Conference as an Area Coordinator for Club Ministries and specializes in Drilling and Marching and Teen Leadership Training where mentorship is essential. You can usually find him in a church mentoring a young person to reach their full potential. Eric is currently working toward his theology degree at Andrews University to fulfill the call God has given him to be a pastor with a emphasis on youth ministry. He is married to Eda, a registered nurse and awesome ministry partner. They both are parents to Ezra their 3 year old son. Eric is a #GYA presenter with the Lake Union of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and a portion of Minnesota.
Marquis D. Johns is the lead pastor for the North Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church. Prior to receiving God’s call to ministry, he dropped out of school, spent time in jail, and sold drugs. He also became a chart-topping rap artist. But in 2002, through the power of prayer, the Holy Spirit spoke God’s call on Pastor Johns’ life, and he accepted God’s salvation and call to ministry. A native of South Central Los Angeles, California, he has a passion for evangelism and a desire to see synergy across generations. Pastor Johns graduated from Oakwood University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Church Leadership. He is married to Rhonda Billingy. Marquis serves as the #GYA point person for the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Joseph Khabbaz is the vice president for Spiritual Life and Chaplain at Southern Adventist University. Prior to moving to Southern he served as Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, MD. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Joseph was the Director of Tertiary and Young Adult Ministries for the South Queensland Conference. He also worked as a Chartered Accountant (CPA’s equivalent) before leaving the corporate world to study for his MDiv at the Andrews Theological Seminary and served as the point person for Public Campus Ministries in the Columbia Union Conference. He has been part of the FYI Ministry Innovation for Young Adults (MIYA) cohort and is currently completing his DMin at Fuller Theological Seminary. His passion is to ignite missional leaders and prepare young adults in the advancing of God’s Kingdom. Joseph serves as a #GYA presenter with the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Benjamin Lundquist is one of the leading voices for young adult ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church with over 20 years experience in the trenches. He currently serves as the Young Adult Ministries Director for the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He is passionate about inspiring young adults to become growing followers of Jesus and effective leaders for His cause. In recent years Benjamin has launched innovate ministry projects with both the Barna Group and Fuller Youth Institute. Benjamin frequently speaks on ministry and leadership, and serves as the #GYA point person for the North Pacific Union of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
Edward Marton is the Youth/Young Adult Ministries Director for the Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. He has served in the Ohio Conference as a pastor from 2001-2015. Edward holds a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Mentoring from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is happily married to Mariya, and together they have two children, Levi and Leyla. He enjoys sports, reading, and spending time with his family. Edward serves as a #GYA presenter with the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Filip Milosavljevic is the Young Adult Pastor at the Loma Linda University Church where he works with students @praxisministy and concurrently as associate speaker for Quiet Hour Ministries. A graduate of Andrews University’s Theology program and Theological Seminary, he currently is completing his doctorate this summer from Fuller Theological Seminary in the area of “Youth, Family and Culture” utilizing the Growing Young Adventists data for his dissertation dealing with Adventist congregations that thrive with young adults. Filip is married to Elena, who is a Radiology resident at the Loma Linda University Medical Center, and they have a sweet one year old daughter, Petra Rose. Filip serves as a #GYA presenter with Southeastern California Conference which includes the territory of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Guadalupe Montour is an Associate Pastor with the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. She attended Atlantic Union College graduating in 2005 with her degrees in Theology and Religion. She later moved on to serve as the Assistant Chaplain at her alma mater. She has had the privilege of sharing Jesus at various places throughout North and South America and had previously served at the Southern New England Conference in the Youth Department. She is married to Nick and has two amazing children, Ericka and Isabella. Guadalupe serves as #GYA presenter with the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and San Juan County in New Mexico.
Joey Oh is a man whose life belongs to a wife who is better than he deserves, two daughters who bring joy to his every waking moment, and a God whose grace made the first two possible. The rest of his time is divided between serving as the Pastor of Administration for the Loma Linda University Church, playing whatever sports will have him, learning and teaching leadership, and rooting for the oft disappointing Washington Redskins. He holds degrees from Pacific Union College, Andrews University, and is currently working on his Doctor of Ministry in Leading Change from Fuller Theological Seminary. Joey serves as a #GYA presenter from Southeastern California Conference which includes the territory of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Jeff Parker lives in Melbourne where he is the Youth and Young Adult Director for the Australian Union Conference. He is passionate about seeing teens, youth and young adults discover Jesus and have a life that is filled with all the joy and fulfillment that He can bring to them. His real desire is to see the younger generations step up and find their place in God’s service within the church. Jeff recently hosted an Australia-wide Youth Engagement Summit which saw most of the key leaders of the church in Australia attend and make some important recommendations which included Growing Young. Jeff has been working with teens, youth and young adults in 3 different conferences as youth director and pastor over the last 23 years. He is married to Robyn, and has 16-year-old son Lleyton and 10 year old foster daughter Kaylani. He also has 3 married children and 5 grandchildren. Jeff serves as #GYA presenter with the Australian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which comprises all of Australia.
Ken Rogers is the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director for the Southern Union of Seventh-day Adventists. He is a seasoned youth and young adult warrior. His ministry experiences have helped to grow disciples at local churches, educational institutions as well as camp settings and spiritual retreats. His clear presentation of the Gospel and humorous storytelling endears him to audiences both young and old. Ken and his wife Cheryl reside in Georgia. They enjoy travel together, trying new foods, and being grandparents to four wonderful grandchildren! Ken serves as #GYA point person for the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
John M. Scott is the Youth/Young Adult/ACF Ministries Director for the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He’s a graduate of Oakwood University in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Ministerial Theology (1996). He’s also a graduate of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, furthering his studies in ministry (2001). He was ordained to gospel ministry in July 2002. Currently, he’s studying for a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University. Since 1997 Pastor Scott served as youth pastor, associate pastor and senior pastor of several churches in the Greater Toronto Area. John serves as #GYA point person for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada which includes Canada and French possessions of St. Pierre and Miquelo.
Shantel M. Smith is a native of Toronto, Canada, she attended Tyndale University College and Seminary and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. She then continued on to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University and graduated with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Biblical Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern History. Previously she’s served as Associate Pastor at the Emmanuel Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ashton, Maryland. She has also served as an Associate Chaplain at both Burman University in Alberta, Canada, and Pacific Union College in Northern California. Her favourite Bible text is Deuteronomy 30:15 “Today I place before you life and death, happiness and misery, prosperity and disaster. Choose Life!” Shantel serves as a #GYA presenter for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists [NAD] which includes the territories of Bermuda, Canada, Guam, Micronesia, and the United States of America.
Nick Snell is the Youth Pastor at the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church. He is excited about empowering discipleship, heartfelt worship, creativity, and family. He was born and raised around Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan; He met his wife, Deanne, in August 2008 in his hometown after both of them had finished their student missions experiences. Nick got his MDiv from Andrews University in 2016. Life changing experiences include: Adventist education, Benton Harbor Street ministries, colporteuring, task-force student missions, church planting, worship leading, and being married with three children whom he adores. Nick serves as a #GYA presenter with Southeastern California Conference which includes the territory of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Meshach Soli is the sole pastor of the South Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has worked in youth and young adult ministries for over 10 years. He is passionate about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping young people to be leaders in their generation. He is the proud father of five boys and is happily married to his high-school sweet heart Linda Soli. He received a BA in religious studies at La Sierra University in and is currently finishing his Masters in Pastoral Ministry at Andrews University Theological Seminary. Meshach serves as a #GYA presenter with Southeastern California Conference which includes the territory of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Renee Stepp is the Lead Pastor of the Williamsburg District in Virgina. She is grateful to lead three friendly and Christ-centered churches who are always experimenting with new and creative ways to draw close to Jesus and share His love. Renee worked for several years as a Social Worker with at-risk families before returning to the Seminary to pursue full-time ministry. She has also given several years of service in SDA academies, as both a Girl’s Dean, and then a Chaplain. She believes that God curated this precise combination of experiences to prepare her for seeing and reaching the hearts of young people through influential relationships, and empowering them to be the heroes our church needs. Renee loves to travel and has had the opportunity to share about her friend Jesus around the world. She combines her gifts as a singer, artist and writer to create a life of worship to her Creator God. Renee serves as a #GYA presenter with Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes territories in Virginia [Northern, Capital, South Central, Southwest, Tidewater, and Valley], DC/Maryland, and DC Metro Hispanic.
Mark Tamaleaa is the associate pastor for young adult ministry at the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church, Overland Park, KS. He had previously served as the Youth & Young Adult Ministries Director for the Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and served 16 years as an educator and administrator. In a family of seven, he loves his role as husband and father; He aspires to be a follower of Jesus and a friend to man. Mark serves as #GYA presenter with the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and San Juan County in New Mexico.
Amy Turner is an Associate Youth Director in the Western Australian Conference of Seventh-day Adventists within the South Pacific Division. In this role she has a passion for building up, equipping and empowering the local church by helping to raise up young leaders within. She graduated Avondale College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Teaching majoring in Theology & Religion. Before having children, she was a school Chaplain in 2 different Adventist Schools in Queensland and then in Western Australia. She is married to Scott and has three beautiful boys, twins – Nate and Jai and Hudson. Amy serves as a #GYA presenter for Western Australian Conference, the geographically largest conference in the South Pacific region, spanning from Broome to Albany.
Alina van Rensburg is the Young Adult Ministry Director for the South Queensland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Australia. She has a passion for building up the local church and for inspiring, equipping and empowering a movement of young adult leaders. One of the initiatives Alina and her husband Martin have introduced in young adult ministry is #wethechurch. It is a call for 18-30+ year-olds to own their faith and their role in the church. She loves travelling, the beach and discovering new cafes with her husband, Martin. Alina serves as a #GYA presenter for South Queensland Conference in Australia, which includes that portion of Queensland situated south of a straight line parallel with the 22nd degree of South Latitude commencing from the coast at a point immediately south of St. Lawrence, and running due west between Winton and Muttaburra and north of Boulia to a point on the border of the Northern Territory.
Martin van Rensburg owns a Strategy & Marketing Consultancy in Brisbane Australia. His background is in marketing & communications and the last five years his focus has been on visioning, strategy, and branding. Martin is a local church elder and has a passion for raising up the next generation as Spirit-fllled disciple-makers. He has a heart for building up life groups, transforming church culture and multiplying leaders. He is married to Alina who is a pastor and serves as the Young Adults Director for the South Queensland Conference in Australia, which spans from Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton to Toowoomba, and of course Brisbane.
Justin Yang is the Senior Pastor of Atlanta Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church. He is a second generation Adventist minister with over 20 years of ministry experience from Korea, China, India, Philippines, Thailand, Laos and United States. He has served as a youth leader, teacher, chaplain, missionary, pastor and ministries director in various mission fields around the world. Justin is currently pastoring the first Korean church in North American Division to radically and completely delegate the church leadership to the next generation. He’s also the husband to the most beautiful woman in the world, Iris Yang and a happy father to his son Enoch who is almost 5 and his daughter who is the chubbiest (and cutest) 10 month old. Justin serves as #GYA presenter for the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
David Yeagley is the young adult and Camp ministries director for the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. David has spent his ministry advocating for youth, families and young adults. As a Camp director for the past 13 years young adult leadership development has been at the heart of his ministry. He is married to his wife Elizabeth and has two young adult sons. David serves as a #GYA presenter with the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which includes the territories of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
A. Allan Martin, PhD is the teaching pastor of Younger Generation Church [ygchurch.com], the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas [USA]. Recently, he served the North American Division, in partnership with the Barna Group, as the lead research facilitator for the Adventist Millennial Study. He continues as adjunct faculty for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, specializing in discipleship and young adult ministry. Dr. Martin serves as the #GYA point person for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists [NAD] which includes the territories of Bermuda, Canada, Guam, Micronesia, and the United States of America.