Church Start

Michael Whitaker

Mike is the founding pastor of The Connection, a new faith community in the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon area of Illinois. He has helped churches begin new ventures throughout his time in ministry, and loves consulting with other pastors and congregations on how to start new things for new people. He'd talk to a coffee cup if it would listen, so feel free to give him a holler!  When he's not out meeting people, Mike enjoys spending time with his family and friends, making music, and watching his St. Louis Cardinals win.


Mission Outpost

Rocio Reyes Williams

Rocio  is the pastor at New Burnside and Taylor United Methodist Churches. She was born in Mexico City. She and her husband Russ have two amazing kids and a growing puppy! Rocio is  passionate about adding value to people around her and making people feel loved. She  started a new ministry,  “Churros y Chocolate,” whose focus is reaching Hispanic and Anglo families. She has created a place where Spanish speaking people can hear the word of God preached in their own language.  




Mission Outpost

Heather Robertson

Heather is the pastor of a small rural congregation with an aging membership. The building isn't overly friendly for young children. After baptizing three children for a local family, she decided to take the call to guide their faith development seriously. She figured out that 9 am on Sunday mornings in her current location was not the way to do it. Creating new space through a home church, complete with pizza, aptly named Pizza Church allowed two families not currently connected to faith communities to worship and reflect on God’s word, while also allowing her own young family space to grow in their faith. New places for new people does not have to be big or boisterous. Just real.