Drs. David & Marlinda Ireland
David and Marlinda Ireland are the founding pastors of Christ Church. Under their leadership, Christ Church has grown from just six individuals to nearly 9,000, representing approximately 70 different nationalities. With two locations, the East Campus in Montclair and the West Campus in Rockaway, New Jersey, their mission is to Unite People to God and People to People.
David D. Ireland, Ph.D.
Dr. David Ireland is founder and senior pastor of Christ Church, a 9,000-member multisite congregation in North Jersey representing over 70 nationalities. Former diversity consultant to the National Basketball Association, Dr. Ireland leads chapel services for the New York Giants, New York Jets, and at the U.S. Pentagon. Ireland has traveled to more than 75 nations and built a reputation of teaching culturally relevant messages that inspire and empower his global audiences. He is a well-respected columnist contributing to such media outlets like Fox News, Huffington Post, and Patheos. Dr. Ireland is the author of over 20 books including Raising a Child Who Prays. Ireland has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows including The Dr. Phil Show, The CBS Evening News, The 700 Club, and Focus on the Family. Through his community development corporation, he offers a home for victims of domestic violence.
The Rev. Ireland holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering (Fairleigh Dickinson University), a graduate degree in civil engineering (Stevens Institute of Technology), a master’s degree in theology (Alliance Theological Seminary). He has an earned Ph.D. in organizational leadership (Regent University) and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ireland was recently appointed as a member of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Faith-Based Initiatives. He serves on the boards of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary and was an adjunct professor at Drew University. He and his wife, Dr. Marlinda Ireland, have been married since 1984 and have two adult daughters and a son-in-law.
Marlinda Ireland, D.Min.
Marlinda is a wife, a mother, Bible teacher, and a "creative." Through all of the joys and challenges that go along with her many life roles, the Father has etched on her soul the meaning of full-blown surrender. It’s out of this internal imprint that she does life. Marlinda is a teacher, the co-founder, worship pastor, and the women’s ministry director here at Christ Church.
Martin Sanders, D.Min.
The Founder and President of Global Leadership Inc. and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Alliance Theological Seminary, Dr. Martin Sanders has made a lifestyle out of investing in others. His years of experience as a successful professor, pastor, and consultant has translated into developing the leaders around him. Martin has the vision, passion, and skills to see development in leaders at both the local and global levels. He taught at Canadian Theological Seminary in Regina, Saskatchewan and over 25 years at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York.
Founded in 1995, Global Leadership Inc. is a nonprofit organization designed to develop and empower the next generation of Christian leaders for effective ministry around the world. Dr. Sanders has written a number of books, including It’s Time for a Change: Partnering with God for Authentic Life Transformation, How to Get the Family You’ve Always Wanted, and The Power of Mentoring: Shaping People Will Shape the World, and is a sought-after speaker around the world. Martin’s influence stretches from Wall Street to the Pentagon and over 50 countries. With remarkable insight, powerful communication skills, and the rare ability to be cross-culturally relevant, Martin has been developing leaders to become effective in communications and relational skills.
Martin and his late wife, Dianna, have four grown children who are spread out across America: a minister, a social worker, a writer, and a lawyer.
Leonard Sweet Ph.D.
Leonard Sweet is the author of over 60 books. His most recent are "The Bad Habits of Jesus" published by Tyndale and "Jesus Speaks" published by Tomas Nelson. He is an E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew; professor at George Fox University Seminary (Newburg/Portland, OR); and Visiting Distinguished Professor at Tabor College (Hillsboro, KS). Len has authored more than 1500 published sermons. His most recent project is the narratives-based, interactive preaching resource for pastors and disciples called https://preachthestory.com.
Len often appears on "Most Influential Christian" lists, and his Twitter and Facebook posts, as well as his Napkin Scribbles podcasts, are ranked as some of the most widely influential religious social media sites in the world. Len earned his Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, state conventions, pastors’ schools, and retreats. Len resides on Orcas Island (Eastsound) in the San Juan Islands off the cost of the state of Washington.
Reverend Wilfredo De Jesús
Reverend Wilfredo "Choco" De Jesús is Senior Pastor of New Life Covenant Church, one of the fastest growing churches in Chicago. Under his leadership, New Life Covenant Church has grown from 120 to 17,000 and more than 130 ministries. De Jesús had also served as the Vice President of Social Justice for the nation’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which serves 18,000 churches and close to 15 million Christians. In April 2013, Rev. De Jesús was named TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.
He has been instrumental in the development of several community-based programs reaching the most disenfranchised--the broken hearted, poor, homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts, and gang members.
A graduate of Trinity University and North Park Theological Seminary, De Jesús is sought after as a motivational speaker at various church events, leadership conferences and assemblies throughout the nation and abroad. He resides in the Humboldt Park community of Chicago, with his wife Elizabeth and their three children.
Mitchell Torres, D. Min
Rev. Mitchell Torres is founder and lead pastor of Harvest Fields Community church in the Bronx. Born and raised in the inner city, Mitchell’s passion has always been to empower and engage those who have been marginalized by society. Following the call of God in the year 2000, he and his wife Sharlotte decided to leave their comfort zone and embarked on a God-driven mission to reveal God reach people and restore lives. In a little under nineteen years, Harvest Fields Community Church has grown to approximately eight hundred people and reach many throughout the Bronx and the world.
Mitchell has also received His Doctorate of Ministry from Alliance Theological Seminary in May 2018. Mitchell uses the creative arts in his sermons to enhance and proclaim the gospel message to those who are churched and unchurched. His desire is to allow the Holy Spirit to use his various illustrations to make the message stick and radically change lives.
Ryan Baitzel is a father to five kids, husband to his wife Rochelle and disciple of Jesus Christ. Ryan serves as the lead pastor of Emergence church, a church that planted in January of 2012 that has grown to over 2500 across 4 locations around North Jersey. The primary demographic of the church is 20-30 year olds. The church has multiplied through both multi sites as well as planting churches and sending out church planters in North Jersey. Ryan also serves as the area leader of Acts 29 New Jersey where he coaches and serves Acts 29 church plants in NJ.
Joshua Rodriguez, D.Min.
Joshua serves as the Lead Pastor at the Cityline Church, one of the fastest growing bilingual ministries in the Northeast of the United States. The Cityline Church is a congregation comprised of more than fifty ethnic groups. Pastor Joshua founded a private Christian School for grades K-8, as well as planted a Church in Gibraltar, Europe. His ministry philosophy entails empowering people through the restoration of their God-given identity, so that they positively impact every segment of society.
After enjoying a lucrative ten-year Wall Street career in Investment Management, Pastor Joshua resigned in 1996 to enter ministry full-time in order to improve the quality of life of the people of Hudson County and beyond. In 2006, Joshua was appointed as the first Hispanic Police Chaplain of the 177-year old Jersey City Police Department. Pastor Joshua has had the pleasure of serving on several Governors’ Transition Teams. He was a member of the Governor’s Hispanic Advisory Council for Policy Development, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the State of New Jersey. Governors, Senators, Congressmen, Assemblymen, Mayors and various organizations in the Greater New York area have recognized his leadership. Joshua is a Vice-President of NaLEC (The National Latino Evangelical Coalition), an advocacy group that focuses on improving the quality of life of all people by addressing key national and global issues such as poverty, immigration, and education. He is one of the co-founders of Jersey City Together, the leading and most influential community organization in Hudson County. Most recently, he was appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to serve as the Chair of the New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission for Relief.
Pastor Joshua holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from Nyack College, and graduated with honors from the Alliance Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He also has an earned Doctoral degree in Global Leadership from Nyack College. He is a dynamic and energetic speaker who has inspired and empowered people in many nations of the world. Joshua and his wife Paula have four children and live in New Jersey.
David Emanuel, Ph.D.
Dr. David Emanuel is Professor of Old Testament at Nyack College (Nyack, NY). He has and M.A. and Ph. D. at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as well as a M. Sc. from the University of London. He has published his dissertation on From Bards to Biblical Exegesis: A Close Reading and Intertextual Analysis of Selected Exodus Psalms. Additionally, he has written numerous articles on Hebrew grammar for the BibleMesh project, and provided the Hebrew audio recordings for the program. David is married to Emma, and has five children, all of whom were born in Israel.