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.
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 Presbyterian 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 graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Management and is studying to complete his pastoral degree at Reformed Theological Seminary. He works as a financial analyst for Mission Solutions Engineering, LLC in Moorestown, NJ and attends Metro Presbyterian Church (PCA), serving as the Director of Worship. Tim joined the staff in 2007 and currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
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 Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Philadelphia, PA and serves on the worship team there. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 where she received a BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Bora has been a camper since 1990 until she joined the staff in 2003. She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Christina (Xtina) Choi
Director of Christian Education, Camp2
Christina works as an Account Executive for Women's Accessories at Balenciaga in New York City. She received her BBA in the Design and Management program at Parsons The New School for Design. Christina is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA), serving as a Kindergarten volunteer at East Side's Children's Ministry. She graduated from Lower Moreland High School and currently resides in the Upper East Side of New York. 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 Presbyterian Church (PCA) 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 currently a graduate student at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. He graduated with a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University, but has since changed career paths to pursue a career teaching at the Middle School level with concentrations in Mathematics and Science. Donald currently attends Metro Presbyterian Church and serves in the children ministry. He has served on staff since 2010, and currently resides in South Jersey.
Director of Logistical Operations (Gofers)
Danny is an experienced management consultant specializing in business and technology transformation efforts across multiple industries and verticals. He also co-owns a real estate development and general contracting company based in the Philadelphia area. Currently, he attends Metro Presbyterian Church (PCA) in the East Falls area of Philadelphia. Danny graduated Brandeis University in 2002 with a dual-degree BA in Political Science and American Studies; he graduated Palmyra High School (NJ) in 1998. He was camper since 1985, and a counselor since 1995. He currently resides in the Philadelphia area with his wife, Cindy, who is also a part of the leadership team.
TECHNOLOGY AND MARKETING
Director of Technology (Three Benches Multimedia)
Ezra works at RBC Capital Markets. He received his BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, graduating with summa cum laude distinction. Ezra currently attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church. He has served on the staff since 2005, and currently resides in New York City.
Director of Visual Arts
Tina is graphic designer. She graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in East Asian Languages and Area studies. Tina currently attends Metro Presbyterian Church (PCA) and serves in children's ministry as well as, helps to coordinate design projects. She was a camper since 1995 and a counselor since 2006. She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Associate Director of Visual Arts
Elishah works as an associate designer for ready to wear wovens at Tory Burch in New York City. She recieved her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, minoring in Art History. Elishah currently attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church. She was raised in Wayne, PA for the majority of her childhood and graduated from Conestoga High School. Elishah has been a camper since 2002 and joined staff in 2008. She currently resides in Jersey City, NJ.
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 Presbyterian 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