OUR CHURCH TEAM
New Life is an elder led, staff driven church that is fully committed to making disciples of Jesus in our city and around the world.
Chris grew up as an MK (missionary kid) in South America, served as a missionary with his wife, Cheryl, in Southeast Asia and later as a pastor of missions and discipleship for nearly 8 years before coming to New Life in 2017. Chris and Cheryl are both graduates of Gardner-Webb University where they met and fell in love. Soon after graduating, they married and moved to Wake Forest, NC where Chris earned his Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Seminary.
Chris is passionate about seeing people learn to passionately love Jesus and others well–here in Asheville and around the globe. He's convinced that the local church is God's chosen vehicle to take the hope-filled and life-giving message of Jesus to our neighborhoods, city and world.
They have three lovely children and enjoy the great outdoors, exotic cuisines, good coffee and SEC football together as a family.
Mark is one of the “pioneers” who helped launch New Life in 1997. Originally from Florida where he completed degrees in Management (BSBA) and Psychology (M.Ed.), his life experiences include serving as an Army officer, commercial diver and General Contractor.
Married 42 years to Brenda, he has 2 grown children and 4 grandkids. Mark enjoys the ocean, surf fishing and conversations with people who have questions and curiosity about a life of faith. His great joy is engaging in 1:1 mentoring.
Jonathan grew up in North Carolina and after graduating Southwestern seminary served in Salt Lake City as a missionary with the North American Mission Board. During his time out west he served as a church planter, community pastor and non-profit director for 10 years before moving to Asheville.
He’s married to Christy and has two beautiful daughters named Taylor and Sydney. He has a passion for helping people work out a messy life and faith and in his free time enjoys hiking with his family and Shelby the wonder dog.
Mike is married to Angelica and together they have four beautiful children. Prior to joining the team at New Life, Mike served for seven years as a worship pastor in Las Vegas. Before entering full time ministry, Mike spent 10 years as Music Director for The Second City & worked in theatre as music director for countless musicals/workshops.
Mike’s CD, Songs For The Weary, is available on iTunes. In his free time, Mike likes to tend to his animals, build stuff, play with his kids, and kayak in the rain with his wife.
Kathi graduated from Asbury University with a BA in Psychology and Wheaton College with a MA in Clinical Psychology. She has experience in Community and Career Counseling as well as teaching both college students and preschoolers.
Kathi and her husband Steven live in Weaverville. The Walden Bunch includes Jacob, Emma, Patricia, Sam, Oliver and Audrey. (We are looking to hire a maid named "Alice" ;0) ! She counts it a privilege to get to partner with families in raising their children in the knowledge and love of Christ. And what a job to be a part of kids beginning a life long relationship with Jesus.
Rebekah grew up in Asheville always knowing she would become a school teacher. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in elementary education, that’s just what she did. Rebekah taught 3rd and 4th grades in Buncombe County for 11 years before being called to leave her job and homeschool her children. She is married to Tommy, and they have populated the children’s ministry at New Life with five children: Taylor, Carter, Hunter, Parker, and Foster. She enjoys homeschooling and watching the Denver Broncos. Rebekah and her family have been a part of New Life since 2009.
Stephanie was born and raised in Buncombe County and graduated from UNC-Asheville with a BS in Industrial Engineering Management, minoring in Mathematics. She worked in the corporate world for 16 years until being called to serve the Lord. She now splits her time between New Life Kids Church and Preschool Ministries, serving as New Life's Childcare Coordinator, volunteering and raising two children with her husband James.
She was first invited to New Life in 2009 and has made it her church home since. After being fed by many of our loving church members, she now feels privileged to be able to facilitate the spiritual growth of our future generations as part of the New Life staff. She has a passion for cleaning, organizing, watching movies and reading in what little spare time remains
Craig has volunteered and worked with youth ministries for 14 years. He has been married for five years to Rachel Walston. Craig and his wife have twin boys named Caiden and Caleb and a daughter, Coraline. They have a wonderful dog named Chewbarka. Craig’s passion in life is to share the gospel and provide a safe place for teenagers to grow in their relationship with God. He loves videogames, books (especially nerdy ones) and eating burritos.
Rachel was born and raised in Southern California. She moved to North Carolina in 2008 to attend Montreat College, where she graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in 2010. She started volunteering at New Life in 2009. Her passion is mentoring young people to have an authentic love for Jesus. She is married to Craig Walston with whom she has identical twin boys and a beautiful daughter. Rachel loves hiking, playing games with friends, and reading in her hammock.
Micah is originally from Maine & moved with his family to work at a group home in Lake Wauccamaw, North Carolina in 2009 before moving to Asheville in 2012. He has been playing in worship bands for 10 years and is pursuing a career in worship leading. He has a deep passion for music and leading youth to further their faith in Christ.
Rich Banis was reared in Chicago Heights, IL, where he and Barbara ministered to youth. They moved to Florida in 1974, ministering to senior adults for several years. He and Barbara have been married 48 years and have five grown children, eight grandchildren and three great grandsons.
They entered missionary service in 1980 serving in Suriname, South America with World team. They joined Helps International Ministries in 1983 returning to Suriname. They have also served in England, Cyprus, Nigeria, Spain and Bethlehem, Israel. We currently serve with International Christian Hospice. They became a part of the New Life Family in 2001. Rich feels privileged to be used by the Lord at New Life Community Church using his accounting skills.
Sheryl joined the staff of New Life Community Church in January of 2006. Sheryl brings with her many years of administrative experience. Sheryl and her husband Bryan moved to Asheville from Traverse City, Michigan in 2002 and have been members of New Life Community Church since 2003. They have been married 35 years and have two sons and one daughter-in-law; Scott, Morgen & grandchildren Greyson & Everly live in Denver, CO. Youngest son Keith lives in Okinawa, Japan. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, and spoiling their dog Zoey.