MEET Our STaff

  • James Laing

    lead pastor

    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

    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. Pastor Marco is the primary communicator in our Spanish Service every Sunday at 10:45am. He also leads our Care Ministry Prayer and Visitation Team, ministering to those in the hospital and homebound every week.

  • Christina Brantuk

    Children's ministry director and office manager

    Christina has a passion for kids and families, and a heart for helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus and each other. She also has a love for anything Disney. Christina and her husband, Jared have been married since 2012 and they have two young daughters. She received her Master’s degree at Fuller Seminary in Family Studies and has a significant background in Family Ministry including leading in Children’s Ministry and teaching family classes. Her desire is to partner with families and fellow leaders to disciple the next generation, and equip and connect them with resources to grow closer to God, each other and their community. 

  • Frankie Barron

    youth Director


  • 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.

  • 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 visit our preschool page if you have any questions or would like a tour of the school

  • John Miller

    Special projects pastor

    John wears many hats here at Christ First. Among other duties, he assists the Lead Pastor by keeping his path clear of nonessential tasks and decisions, recruits and trains project and event volunteers, and assists with pastoral ministry. John and his awesome wife, Paula, have attended Christ First for over 30 years, and they have amazing twin daughters, Stephanie and Amanda.

  • ellie bEi

    media ASSISTANT

    Ellie joins Christ First ministries after receiving her master's degrees in religious history and philosophical theology. A transplant from New York City, she recently relocated to Southern California and is overjoyed to be a part of the Christ First family. She is excited to serve her new home church as the media production assistant and in-house content editor.

  • 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.