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 Dillon - Lead Pastor
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 devoted to 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 Carlson - Executive Pastor
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 Jones - Connections Pastor
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 Watkins - Worship Pastor
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.
Rodney Howell - Local & Global Outreach Pastor
Rodney grew up in Florida and has enjoyed opportunities in business consulting, overseas ministry, and serving the local church. He is married to Keri and they have a son and daughter, Silas and Elise. They joined New Life in 2019 and are excited to join the mission of the church in Asheville and extending around the world!
Allen Ebert - Student Pastor
Allen grew up in Western North Carolina. He and his wife Leslie have two boys, Nixon (5), and Gavyn (15). Allen has served in children’s and student ministry for the past 7 years and just joined the New Life staff family. He is excited about serving middle and high school students and building relationships with families. Allen is passionate about relational discipleship and helping others grow in their love for Jesus and neighbor.
amber black - Kids Ministry Director
Amber was born and raised in this community. She is married to Brian and together they have four children. Amber, Brian, and the kiddos still at home enjoy traveling, playing games, watching movies, trying new foods, and attempting to tame their dog. They love serving together and having their lives open to people who need an ear to hear, a shoulder to lean on, a hug to hold them. Amber makes it a personal goal to remind every person she works with that they were created on purpose, with a purpose and for a purpose. She loves helping children and families connect the experiences of their lives with the presence of the God who created them and loves them!
Stephanie Guilfoyle - Kids Ministry Assistant
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
Sheryl Shaff - Administrative Assistant
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 41 years and have two sons. Scott, Morgen & grandchildren Greyson & Everly live in Denver, CO. Youngest son Keith, Morgan and granddaughter Raegan live in England. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, chasing chickens and spoiling their dog Ansley.
Emily criss - Emerging Leaders Program - youth
leslie mccreary - Finance Director
Leslie was born and raised in Buncombe County and loves having the views of the mountains in her sight every day! Leslie started her career working in non-profit accounting with a school foundation until asked to come work at a historic church in downtown Asheville; she never looked back. She has many years of church finance experience and loves being able to apply her talents in a church setting. She currently provides the accounting services to multiple churches and stays very busy and challenged!
She is married to her husband Larry, they have two sweet kids, Mattie Grace and Liam. Leslie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, eating good food and the beach! She is happy to be working with the staff and church family of New Life!
Peyton Buckner - Preschool Ministry Assistant
Peyton was born and raised in Asheville. She is currently in college studying to get her Associate of Arts. She enjoys quality time with her family and friends, photography, and trying new recipes. She has a heart for kids of all ages and is excited to join the New Life family!