BRAD BAKER - Founder
Brad is the college pastor at Saddleback Church and founder of CollegeMinistry.com. He is the proud father of four and considers the discipleship of his children his highest ministry priority. He met Jesus on a snowy January night in the suburbs of Denver back in 1983. Since then, God has led him on missional adventures that spanned the globe and took him to some 30 countries. With over 10 years of college ministry experience, Brad is passionate about assisting fellow college ministry leaders in building healthy ministries that reach and disciple. Brad enjoys writing, traveling, wrestling with his kids, and speaking to college students. He holds degrees in theology and a master’s in leadership. He loves to lead and learn in collaborative environments and is currently working to complete his first book.
Lisa Birle has been involved in Crave, the college ministry at Saddleback Church, for eight years and has been on staff at Saddleback for six. She committed her life to Christ as an undergrad at UC Irvine and feels blessed to be able to serve in a community that God used to change her life. Lisa is passionate about helping college students claim their identity in Christ, getting students connected with their church family, and encouraging them in their spiritual growth—things that people helped her with when she was in college. She’s also passionate about Starbucks, writing, and “real” books, and refuses to ever use a Kindle.
Ian DiOrio is the Young Adult’s pastor at Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton California, where he frequently teaches and preaches as well, and is known for his incredible ability to communicate God’s word to this generation. Ian has served as a Teaching Pastor at RockHarbor Church in Costa Mesa, as well frequently speaks at retreats, ministries and conferences throughout the country. Ian has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Hope International University, a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is currently completing a Doctoral degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Azusa Pacific University. Ian teaches at Hope International University as a part-time Professor of Theology and Ministry. A pastor, poet and professor, Ian has a passion for words and expressing Gods love through them. Ian is married to his beautiful wife Julia and is the proud father of three kids, Semeia, Asha, and Zion.
Tommy serves as the Membership Pastor at Saddleback Church. In this role, he oversees 28 ministries including baptism, CLASS, membership, food pantry, support groups, and counseling. He is also leading the charge to create the PEACE Center, an on-site building that will house everything related to PEACE including a medical clinic, the Saddleback Food Pantry, and the Justice and Trafficking Initiative program. Tommy and his wife Amy have been married for 10 years. They have three kids, Kaylie, Cassidy, and Caleb. Tommy loves to spend time with his family and feed his addiction to the game Angry Birds.
Stephen is a pastor with Calvary Baptist Church in State College, PA and a campus minister with CCO at Penn State University. He is the author of College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture, a book written to help college students and ministers recover the missional nature of college ministry. Steve is a native of the Philadelphia area. His interests include reaching college students, starting churches, innovation and entrepreneurship, and Penn State and Philly sports. He lives with his wife Jessica and their three children in Boalsburg, PA.
Ron Merrell has been in ministry for 15 years and is the College & Young Adults Pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, CA. He combines his love for people who feel broken or lost with his background in comedy writing to uncompromisingly communicate the Bible while hopefully making you smile. He contributed to Random Thoughts: A Devotional For Young Adults by Barbour Publishing and blogs occasionally at ronmerrell.com. He’s married to his best friend, Anna, and has two sons, Braddock and Brody.
Josh is the college pastor for the Rancho Capistrano campus of Saddleback Church. He loves God, his wife, his church family, and making the Bible feel exciting to people. Josh has written for GROUP magazine and Simply Youth Ministry, and has spoken for churches around the country, including the national Student Leadership Conference. He also just realized that – since he’s writing his own bio – he can say whatever he wants about himself. In his spare time Josh trains for the 2012 Olympic hammer toss and has nearly mastered the ancient art of shark whispering.
Aaron Stern pastored theMILL, the college/20-somethings ministry at New Life Church in Colorado Springs for eleven years. Aaron is now the founder and lead pastor at Mill City Church in Fort Collins, Colorado. He is a regular conference speaker and the author of What’s Your Secret?: freedom through confession, contributed to Thrive: do more than survive your faith and has been featured in Ministries Today, Boundless (Focus on the Family) and Neue (Relevant). Aaron loves unpacking the Scripture and challenging individuals to bend their lives around God. He likes triple tall, one pump mochas from Starbucks, Home Depot and getting the mail; he dislikes tomatoes, the NFL off-season and folding laundry. He graduated from Oral Roberts University with a degree in business and later finished a graduate degree in theology. Aaron and his wife Jossie have four boys.
Brandon is the college pastor at Pleasant Valley Church with H2O college ministries in Winona, MN. He is married to the love of his life and has two amazing children, the princess and the tank as he playfully calls them. Brandon has been working in college ministry for last 9 years and has been compelled that developing college students as leaders is imperative for the future of the local church. Brandon is passionate about preaching the Gospel, leadership development, social justice, and speaking to college students. He is currently working on finishing a leadership study/book called “mPulse”. He founded a social justice program called the “h2oproject” (www.theurgenth2oproject.com), which has dug 15 wells in the last 3 years in Liberia. He holds a degree in communication and is currently in the trenches of getting a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Transformational Leadership. Learn more about Brandon and his heart for college students by visiting his personal blog (www.brandonzieske.com).