Who We Are
Pioneers For Christ (or PFC, directed by its Core Ministry Team) was established in 1967, primarily to serve the youth and children of the Philadelphia metropolitan region. Although it initially began as a multi-ethnic ministry, ministering to churches (primarily the smaller churches that have under-developed youth groups and children's ministries) in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas, Pioneers For Christ now hopes to re-establish its embrace of the whole of the city beyond any single ethnic group or people class. Its current ministry consists of the following:
- A Counselor Training Program (CTP), consisting of application prior to admittance into the Program, 8-weeks of intense weekend training (at least 7-15 hours per weekend), small group meetings during the week (2-3 hours per week), fund-raising for ministry efforts, and team-building exercises. Each year, the Staff is composed of ~20-25 college students and young adults in the current age range of 19-40.
- A two-week Camp ministry: one week for children (100 maximum) ages 7-11 (Grades 2-7), and a second week (100 maximum) for youth roughly the ages of 12-18 Grades 8-12).
Historically, Pioneers For Christ (PFC) has had a presence among the youth, and a year-round presence in the city; much of the ministry has been reduced to focus on the primary ministries of leadership training and youth counseling. However, it has been widely acknowledged that the Lord may be calling, empowering, equipping, and preparing its leaders, on every level, to engage in new ministry opportunities - ultimately, to expand the scope of the Pioneers For Christ ministry.
We believe that the Core Values of a ministry are the inherent "DNA", the make-up of the ministry, fueling all of the ministry's decisions, activities, and impact. The following are the core values of our ministry:
To be Gospel-focused in thought, program, teaching, and in life.
This is the core value that drives and encompasses all core values; it is our paradigm for life. Our team firmly believes that the Gospel is the only true hope for restoration in a "fallen" world. We are given new life because Jesus' life was sacrificed in our place. We find acceptance in the Father, because Jesus, who had all the favor of the Father, was forsaken on the cross by the Father. When we trust in the Person and Work of Jesus, and trust that He received everything we deserved, so that we could receive everything that Jesus deserved, we are free from the penalty (the wages of sin is death), power (sin still wreaks havoc in our lives, but we can actually be free from it), and pollution (we are free from its guilt and debt) of sin. The Gospel-centered life is the only hope of social restoration (class-class, person-person relationships, since status no longer has power over us as it once used to), economic restoration (rich-poor relationships, since money no longer has power over us as it once did), environmental restoration (personal responsibility for living out the "reverse of the curse" of sin in the world around us), gender restoration (male-female relationships, since we are no longer driven to dominate other people), work restoration (work-rest relationships, since work no longer defines us), etc. This leads to a life of worship of the Father, humility before the cross, boldness in light of grace, and ministry to others in the community.
To be biblical counselors, in relationship and in self-counsel.
This is our paradigm for ministry. Our team firmly believes that any type of healing must begin at the heart-level. We act, speak, and think the way we do because of core values, beliefs, motivations, and drives that we cling to in our hearts. We must counsel ourselves, and minister to others, with the heart in mind. As sinners and sufferers, we must constantly engage with an active God, who is working dynamically in our hearts, to transform us, replacing our sinful "idols" with the Person and Work of Christ, so as to transform us into the likeness of His Son. This counsel is done actively in the Word of God, and steers free from legalism or liberalism so that our transformation is a lasting change that is organically attached to the Father's love.
To be team-based in community and close relationships.
Team-oriented ministry: We believe that the Gospel calls us to be in union with Christ, which naturally drives to be in union with the Body of Christ, the church. The Gospel calls us to be in community with one another. Some ministries are managed via top-down ("genius with a thousand helpers") approach; other ministries claim to be a "grass-roots" organization (bottom-up). We, believe in the power of a true, organic, inter-dependent team: as a team, we are not co-dependent, nor independent, personalities, we can express our individual gifts in connection with our life in the "body" so that works of service can be performed with excellence, passion, humility, love, and power. As a team, we submit to one another's decisions, trust one another's expertise, and succeed and fail together, trusting that the collective wisdom of many is always better than wisdom of one. This adds to greater confidence in making decisions, greater support, fuller wisdom, and a truer understanding of Jesus' work to sanctify His people through relationships.
To be innovators, in thought, program, teaching, and in life.
We believe that, through the Gospel, the Lord had restored Christians as "image-bearers". Thus, we do not labor because we must; we find joy and satisfaction in our act of "creation" themselves. Our work no longer defines us, since we do not labor to earn God's favor; as a result, there is tremendous freedom in taking creative risks, taking on creative challenges, and problem-solving. In addition, there is joy in knowing that our failures do not define us, either; we can live humbly and boldly to "create" in our work and "rest" in our work. As a result, our team is blessed with tremendous creative talent, to build, restore, and perform works of service in pleasant, surprising ways.
Leadership: Genesis Core Team
Executive Director of Pioneers For Christ
Donny works as a marketing, strategy, and technology consultant for companies such as Reed Elsevier, Johnson & Johnson, and Radian. He is a church-planter in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and lead pastor for Metro Church in Philadelphia, PA. Donny completed his undergraduate education at Brandeis University (near Boston, MA), and graduated from Plymouth-Whitemarsh Senior High School. He currently resides in the Cheltenham area, and is married to Angela, also a member of the PFC Genesis Core Team.
Director of Worship Ministries
Tim grew up in Voorhees, NJ where he grew a love for music, worship leading, multimedia, and a fondness of Philadelphia sports. His passion is to see the gospel clearly and effectively communicated through the mediums of music and multimedia. At Camp, he enjoys leading worship, taking pictures, and editing videos. He currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, working as Financial Analyst and serving as an Associate Pastor at Metro Church (East Falls).
Associate Director of Worship, Worship Coordinator
Bora works as a Senior Manager for a healthcare technology company in Philadelphia called InstaMed. Bora currently attends Metro Church in Philadelphia, PA and serves on the worship team there. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and currently resides in Philadelphia, PA. Bora has been a camper since 1990 until she joined the staff in 2003.
Christina (Xtina) Choi
Director of Christian Education, Camp2
Christina works as an analyst at Sidecar, a tech startup in Philadelphia. She attends Metro Church and leads a community group. She graduated from Lower Moreland High School and currently resides in Chalfont, PA. Christina was a camper for 2 years since 2005 before joining the staff as a counselor in 2007.
Director of Christian Education, Camp1
Benica is a 2nd grade teacher working in the Cherry Hill School District. She currently attends Metro Church in Philadelphia, PA and serves in the children's ministry and leads a community group. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a MS Ed, and received her BA in both Biology and Psychology from Rutgers University. She has been a camper since she was a child, started serving on Staff in 1999, and is a member of the PFC Genesis Core Team. Benica resides in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Director of Administration
Donald is a middle school math and science certified teacher in the Philadelphia School District. He earned his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and a graduate degree at St. Joseph's University. Donald currently resides in New Jersey and attends Metro Church as serves a Children's Worship Leader as well as a Children's Ministry teacher. He has been a part of the PFC staff since 2010.
Director of Logistical Operations (Gofers)
Danny is an experienced management consultant and entrepreneur. He attends Metro in the East Falls area of Philadelphia. He was camper since 1985, a counselor since 1995, and now supports the operations team. He currently resides in the Philadelphia area with his wife, Cindy, and two children, Jayden and Micah.
TECHNOLOGY AND MARKETING
Director of Technology (Three Benches Multimedia)
Ezra grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he returned back to the east coast. He has served on the PFC staff since 2005. He currently resides in New York City with his wife Elishah, also a member of the PFC Genesis Core Team.
Director of Visual Arts
Tina is an upper elementary school teacher in the greater Philadelphia area with a love for design. She holds an M.S. Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Rutgers University. Tina joyfully attends Metro Church and serves in the children's ministry as well as the worship team. She has been a camper since 1995 and has served on staff since 2006.
Associate Director of Visual Arts
Elishah is a fashion designer in New York City. She received her B.F.A at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church-East Side and resides in Brooklyn with her husband, Ezra. Elishah has been serving on the staff since 2008.
Director of Finance
Kevin is an avid music listener and sports fan who works as a healthcare consultant. He currently resides in the greater Philadelphia area and attends Metro Church. Kevin was a camper for two years before joining the staff as a counselor in 2008.
Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation
Biblical Counseling is more than a mere "tool" for counseling; it is our paradigm for Gospel ministry and Christian Education.
We have developed various Gospel partnerships throughout the City of Philadelphia, to embrace the City for the sake of Gospel-Kingdom advancement.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Timothy Keller has had a profound impact on our ministry, providing Gospel-centered thought and insight throughout the years in his preaching and church planting ministry.
World Harvest Mission
The Gospel is our paradigm for life and faith, and Sonship and Gospel Transformation have been instrumental in our thinking, teaching, and ministry as a team.
CityNet Leadership Training Program
www.citynetphilly.org, and click "Leadership Training"
Develops Gospel-centered Urban Church Planters, providing them with six years of seminary experience, and preparing them for Gospel ministry as full-time, ordained pastors, elders, and deacons.
Presbyterian Church in America
Westminster Theological Seminary