James Pittman, Jr., Senior Pastor

James grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana.  After graduating high school, he left for Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University. While studying premed there, he realized there was a greater disease than that of the body — the disease of the soul. Toward the end of his sophomore year, he began to grow in his faith and learn the value of discipleship through the Navigators Ministry.

After graduating with a B.S. in Biology, James moved to the Chicago area in 1995 to attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He graduated from Trinity with a Masters of Divinity.  Since that time, James has devoted his whole being to Jesus Christ. He lives for and serves not only the Lord but His people.


Jack Zumwalt, Assistant Pastor

Jack grew up in a Christian military family which settled in Chicagoland. Homeschooled until High School, he later joined the USMC in 2002 and began undergraduate work at that time. He ultimately returned to Chicagoland, finished his undergraduate degree, and met his wife, Kathy in 2012 (God has blessed them with five children).

It was at that time that Jack recognized he was a Cultural Christian – professing Christ in word but denying Christ in action. Convicted of his sin and his need for mercy found only in Jesus Christ, Jack was radically saved. Equipped with a new heart, love for the Word of God, and love for His people, Jack began seminary in 2018 with The Master’s Seminary.

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Teri Paulson, Music Director & Discipleship 

Teri Paulson became a follower of Christ in the year 2000 after becoming convinced that Christianity is true and convicted about her own sin and need for God. Teri and her husband have been married since 1988 and have two children.  She has served as Music Director at New Hope since August of 2013, leading the congregation from the piano in a variety of musical genres ranging from hymns to contemporary worship songs. She has had many jobs in her life, but leading the music at New Hope is her favorite.  “I can’t think of anything or anyone better to sing about than our Lord. He changed my life,” she says.

Eric Jenkins, Deacon Board & Treasurer 

Although he grew up “in church”, Eric didn’t realize his need for Christ until his freshman year in choir at Illinois State University, where he was subsequently involved in discipleship through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. After graduation Eric involved himself with new members, teen and men’s ministry; vocationally Eric worked in several areas of corporate finance, retiring last year. He is married to Lisajoy, the love of his life and they have 6 children and 5 grandchildren.

Andrew Neumayer, Head Deacon

Chris Kobbs, Deacon Board

Steve Papale, Deacon in Training

After spending the majority of his career as an options trader, Steve is currently a real estate investor and small business owner. In the mid 90’s he realized that the trappings of this world did not satisfy, so he began a long and winding road of searching for something more, starting with the religion of his youth, Catholicism, and delving into Buddhism, New Age, and Scientology. In the early 2000’s he bought a Bible and started to read. He later joined a large Christian church. Only during a personally difficult period in the late 2000’s did he realize he was a cultural Christian, saying all the right things but living much like the world. It was during this time that he was born again and became a true follower of Jesus Christ. Since then, with the encouragement of mentors, he graduated from Bible college and spent 2 years in the Fellows Program at the C.S. Lewis Institute in Chicago. Steve is the father of 2 sons, Matt and Alec.

Ray Schwarz, Deacon Board

Ron Smith, Deacon in Training

May Kobbs, Financial Administrator 

Emily Lupu-Vieru, Church Office