Our STaff


  • James Laing

    lead pastor (on sabbatical)

    James serves as Lead Pastor and primary communicator on Sunday mornings. James came to Christ through the investment of a friend in high school, and he is passionate about leveraging the relationships we have with the 8-15 (or so) people we each connect with on a weekly basis. James has served at Christ First since 2010 in various roles, including Worship Leader and Groups Director. He and his wife, Shanna, enjoy living in the Covina area and keeping up with their three children.

  • Thiago Demendonca

    Associate worship pastor and Acting Lead Pastor

    Thiago gives leadership to all three worship services here at Christ First, mainly leading worship in the Modern Service, with an occasional Sunday in the Classic and Spanish services. Thiago has been at Christ First since 2014 and is proud to call this his church home. His love for modern worship music, his classical training, and his Spanish church upbringing equips him with what he needs to be an effective Worship Pastor for our entire church.

  • Marco Ramirez

    Spanish Pastor and Care Team Pastor

    Pastor Marco has been married to his wife, Maria, for 27 years. God has blessed them with two children--Isaiah, who is 25 years old, and Smyrna, who is 18. They are here to serve The Lord Jesus and our Spanish community. 

  • JENNIFER ENRIQUEZ

    Family and Groups Director

    Jennifer has called Christ First home since 2004. She served in a variety of roles before coming on staff: drama director, in youth ministries, and in the college/young adult group. Her desire is to see families grow together and thrive. Jennifer enjoys bringing family and friends together, which is why she believes in the power of groups. Life is better when it's shared. Jennifer and her husband, Bert, cherish time with their three grown children and son-in-law . 

  • cameron gillespie

    youth pastor

    Cameron has had the pleasure of calling Christ First his home since he was in preschool. His passion for working with students stems from the impact that the youth programs at Christ First played in his personal walk with God. He and his wife, Emily, have three canine children they currently enjoy raising. 

  • Jyl Ranabauer

    Business managER

    The title says Business Manager, but it's a fancy way to say, "Does it All"! If you have questions on giving, want Outreach information, or want to volunteer to work on special/creative projects, Jyl's the one to call. Jyl grew up at Christ First and knows just about everything there is to know about the church. She and her husband, Doug, have two awesome teenagers whom they love spending time with.

  • Amber Waddell

    Communications Director

    Born and raised in Texas, Amber and her son have called Christ First Covina home since 2017. She is passionate about clearly and effectively communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible. In a multi-generational church, this means taking care of everything from social media, the website and eNews, to bulletins and personal phone calls in order to make sure that the ministries and events at Christ First are known--so that Jesus can be known! 

  • Jennifer smith

    Preschool Director

    Jennifer has served in the field of Child Development for 25 years and is thankful for the opportunity to serve here at Christ First. She leads an amazing staff of teachers who put their hearts and souls into guiding children. Our preschool provides quality academic and spiritual growth for children ages 2-5. Please contact Jennifer if you have any questions or would like a tour of our Preschool

  • Tom Kreinbring

    ChanCel choir director

    Tom is passionate about leading the Chancel Choir at Christ First. He directs the weekly choral performances along with 3-4 Holiday musicals per year. He is a joy to be around and you can always hear him leading a joyful noise.

  • Brian Scrivens

    Outreach Ministry Team Leader

    Brian is passionate about local and international missions. He leads the Embrace Covina campaign and leverages local service opportunities to get our people outside the walls of the church. Brian also gives leadership to short-term mission trips and keeps our church family connected with missionaries on the foreign mission field.