STAFF

ELDER TEAM

Josh Combs

Lead Pastor + Location Pastor: Goodrich

Josh grew up at what is now our Waterford location and joined the staff in 2000. Since then he has held many roles over the years starting as a Janitor, then intern, Kids Pastor, Men’s Pastor, Location Pastor, and then Lead Pastor. He met his wife Jen in 2001, they married in 2002, and now have 5 kids. If Josh isn’t studying, reading, or writing, he is helping out on the family farm.

Jayson Combs

Reach + Locations Pastor + Location Pastor: Waterford

Jayson has a passion and call to ministry that has led him to serve families in the Waterford community for over 20 years. He took his first role in full time ministry in 2000. Jayson enjoys spending time on the golf course with his wife, Laura, and their son. He is a big fan of Detroit sports teams, and collector of vintage He-man action figures.  

Caleb Combs

Gathering Pastor + Location Pastor: Holly

Caleb has been on staff since 2008 and has served in many roles over the years. He loves his wife, Sierra, their three children, all things sports, games, and competition. He has a special passion for shoes, so ask him about his collection. Caleb’s life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 because it is a constant needed reminder to trust God for direction and guidance in all things. 

ryan story

Family Pastor + Location Pastor: Burton

Ryan has served at The River Church since 2010. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Study and a Master’s Degree in Family Ministry with a focus in leadership. Ryan enjoys reading and listening to books, and spending time with his wife and four children. He likes to spend time outdoors and is always looking for a new adventure. 

Roy Townsend

Growth Pastor

Roy first joined the staff in 1992 as he was attending university.  Roy currently serves as the Grow Pastor which supports growth communities, sermon series publishing, Recovery ministry, and the Pastors Academy.  Roy spends his free time with his wife, Brandy and his three children.  You will typically find Roy's family at a football, basketball, or volleyball game throughout the school year.  Above all, his desire is to love God's people through helping them grow in His Word.

Jill Osmon

Assistant to the Elder Team

Jill is the Assistant to the Elder Team at The River Church. Sensing a call to ministry and a passion for organization and logistics, she was blessed with the opportunity to serve on staff at The River Goodrich, formerly The Point. When not assisting, organizing, or planning, you can find Jill spending time with her family, friends, and specifically, her awesome niece Ada.

Locations TEAM

John Carter

Location Pastor: Flushing

John grew up in Japan as a missionary kid for 17 years. He loves spending time with his wife, Liz and their three daughters. John enjoys outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and camping. Pumpkin pie is his favorite dessert!

Caleb Combs

Gathering Pastor + Location Pastor: Holly

Caleb has been on staff since 2008 and has served in many roles over the years. He loves his wife, Sierra, their three children, all things sports, games, and competition. He has a special passion for shoes, so ask him about his collection. Caleb’s life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 because it is a constant needed reminder to trust God for direction and guidance in all things. 

Jayson Combs

Reach + Locations Pastor + Location Pastor: Waterford

Jayson has a passion and call to ministry that has led him to serve families in the Waterford community for over 20 years. He took his first role in full time ministry in 2000. Jayson enjoys spending time on the golf course with his wife, Laura, and their son. He is a big fan of Detroit sports teams, and collector of vintage He-man action figures.  

Josh Combs

Lead Pastor + Location Pastor: Goodrich

Josh grew up at what is now our Waterford location and joined the staff in 2000. Since then he has held many roles over the years starting as a Janitor, then intern, Kids Pastor, Men’s Pastor, Location Pastor, and then Lead Pastor. He met his wife Jen in 2001, they married in 2002, and now have 5 kids. If Josh isn’t studying, reading, or writing, he is helping out on the family farm.

Ben Kirkman

Location Pastor: Davison

Ben has served on staff since 2018. He is the Location Pastor at The River Davison. Ben loves spending time with his wife, Maggie and their five children. Together they enjoy running their family dairy farm.

Chuck Lindsey

Location Pastor: Grand Blanc + Missions Pastor

Chuck attended Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murietta, CA where he graduated with a degree in Biblical Theology & Pastoral Ministry. He began serving in full time ministry in 1998 and has since blessed God’s Kingdom through a variety of roles. Chuck joined The River Church staff in 2016, where he has remained the Location Pastor at The River Grand Blanc. Chuck is married to his best friend, Oralia, and they have four incredible children. His hobbies include drawing, painting, wood work, leather work, blacksmithing, Calvin & Hobbes, (good) coffee, Crossfit and donuts.

Ryan Story

Family Pastor + Location Pastor: Burton

Ryan has served at The River Church since 2010. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Study and a Master’s Degree in Family Ministry with a focus in leadership. Ryan enjoys reading and listening to books, and spending time with his wife and four children. He likes to spend time outdoors and is always looking for a new adventure.

Josh Yates

Location Pastor: Lake Orion

Josh has graduated with multiple degrees from Corban University as well as Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has had the privilege of serving God’s Kingdom in a variety of roles for over 25 years. Josh’s current role is Location Pastor at The River Lake Orion where he serves alongside his wife, Jeannie and their two daughters. He loves Apples of all kinds, can you say tech geek, golf, legos, movies, Tottenham Hotspur, the San Francisco 49ERS and the Sacramento Kings, he grew up in California! 

Gather TEAM

Cameron Aldrich

Gathering Director: Lake Orion

Cameron has been leading worship in song for the past eight years. He has a passion for leading the church to fully worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, to experience and encounter the presence of God as a corporate body. Cameron is married to Raeann; together they have two young daughters, and a fur baby named Maya. He lives and breathes worship music, enjoys camping in the summer, and is an avid U-of-M and Detroit sports fan.

Noble Baird

Connections Pastor: Holly + Locations Security Pastor

Noble grew up in Holly, MI and has been a member of The River Church staff since 2014. He is married to the love of his life, Haley, and proud father of Archer. You can find Noble at the gym or enjoying time with his family. Aside from his passion for ministry, he loves rock and country music, guns and knives, tank tops, and playing drums!

Caleb Combs

Gathering Pastor + Location Pastor: Holly

Caleb has been on staff since 2008 and has served in many roles over the years. He loves his wife, Sierra, their three children, all things sports, games, and competition. He has a special passion for shoes, so ask him about his collection. Caleb’s life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 because it is a constant needed reminder to trust God for direction and guidance in all things. 

Leah Downs

Gathering Director: Davison

Leah grew up in Swartz Creek, Mi.  For many years she lived in Ohio with her family doing full time youth ministry alongside her husband.  However, music is her life long passion and she is thrilled to be a Gathering Director with The River Church.  In her free time, you can find Leah spending time with her husband and four kids, along with playing music in other various settings.

Michael Fox

Communication Director + Gathering Director: Holly

Michael grew up in Goodrich, MI and has served on staff since 2003. Michael has a passion for technology and supports the worship and production ministries at all of our locations. He loves spending time with his wife, Shawna and his 3 children. Aside from technology, Mike is a fan of riding trails on his quad and drinking Mountain Dew!

Chris Frezza

Worship Leader: Goodrich

Chris was born in the Chicago area and moved to Michigan in 2004. He first began serving in music ministry when he was 14 years old and his passion for biblically-rich, God honoring music continues in his role as Worship Leader at The River Goodrich. Chris loves spending time with his wife and 4 children as well as cooking, especially steaks!

Debbie GaBBara

Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

A desire to serve God and others brought Debbie to The River Church staff in 2014. Her days are busy working with Pastor Caleb and the Gathering team and supporting the Guest Services areas for all locations. She loves studying God’s Word with other ladies, spending time with her husband and their family and friends, and is always ready to go on a road trip.

lorena haber

Graphic Designer

Kendall Hine

Communications

Kendall is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing at Oakland University, and is using her education to manage our social media platforms. She has been loving the adventure God has her on. Although she is still learning the ropes, she loves getting to tie her passions together with the Gospel! Aside from work, she enjoys thrift shopping and is often seen with a coffee in her hand.

Dave Hudgens

Gathering Director: Grand Blanc

David serves as Gathering Director at The River Grand Blanc. He is a passionate worship leader with a desire to model and teach a whole-life style of worship within the personal walk of every believer. At home, Dave and his wife Nicki are raising their three children to love Jesus and all things Michigan. During the summer, you’ll find the Hudgens family splashing around in Lake Michigan.

Nate Ludwig

Gathering Director: Flushing

Nate has led worship in various venues throughout Genesee County for the past 20+ years. He has recently joined The River Church staff in 2022 as Gathering Director at The River Flushing. Nate enjoys spending time with his wife, Liz, their two children, and playing with his dogs. His job as well as his love for travel, adventure, and desire to learn about new people have led him to many different places around the world.

PHIL PIASECKI

Gathering Director: Waterford

Phil graduated from Oakland University with a bachelor's degree in Communication. He has been on staff in some capacity since 2011. His passion is for leading the church in worship through music and seeing people deepen their relationship with the Lord. Often found serving alongside him is his wife, Mary and their two kids. He enjoys relaxing with his family, playing sports, and watching movies.

ADELINE SANCHEZ

Worship Intern: Holly

Growing up in a musical family, Adeline was drawn to serve the Lord through music from an early age. As a worship intern at The River Church, she brings a contagious excitement on stage as she wholeheartedly sings to the Lord. When Adeline is not leading worship, she enjoys having the privilege to serve young families through babysitting and pouring into the lives of young children. 

FERDINAND SANDERS

Students & Worship Leader: Holly

Ferdinand joined the staff in 2020 as Gathering Director at The River Holly. He has always had a passion for people and music. In 2022, Ferd took on a dual role serving in Holly as the Gathering Director as well as Student Director. He loves playing and watching sports, and is optimistic that THIS IS OUR YEAR! when it comes to Detroit Lions Football.

SHAWNA JOHNSON

Communications

Shawna is a member of our Communication team here at The River Church. She enjoys brainstorming and coming up with new ideas and ways to communicate. Worshiping in song is one of Shawna’s favorite things, though admittedly she “has a voice only Jesus could love.” Shawna loves people and loves to laugh; send her all your favorite jokes! She adores her husband, Mike, and considers every day a new adventure with her children.

CATHY STORY

Worship Leader: Burton

Cathy has served at The River Church since 2013. She has volunteered on worship teams for the past 17 years. Cathy also enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children. She also likes to read, go on walks and bike rides with her family, and cook.  

josh thayer

Gathering Director: Goodrich

Josh has been on staff at The River since 2020. He’s a very passionate behind the scenes member of the team who loves helping people any way he can. He’s been married to his wife Emily since 2014 and together they have a beautiful daughter. He loves making people smile and feel at home.

Grow Team

Sierra Combs

Women's Director: Holly

Sierra grew up in Southern California and moved to Michigan for college in 2003. It is there where she met her husband, Caleb. They have been serving in ministry together since 2008, with her joining staff as the Director of Women’s Ministry at The River Holly in 2017. Sierra loves spending time with her 3 kids, playing games, and eating movie theater popcorn!

Justin Dean

Locations Recovery Director + Young Adults Director: Holly

Justin was born in Florida, and has lived in Minnesota, Illinois, and now Michigan. He graduated from The Moody Bible Institute with a major in Urban Ministry and has worked with recovering addicts since 2005. Justin loves seeing others be freed from sin by the life changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His hobbies include napping, playing video games, and board games with his wife Meg.

Randy Johnson

Education Pastor

Dr. Randy Johnson, often referred to as “Doc,” is the Education Pastor here at The River Church. He oversees and directs the Pastors Academy as well as the publishing ministry. Doc and his wife, Angela have been involved in ministry for over 40 years. They have two children and two grandchildren. Doc can regularly be heard sharing what has become one of our favorite sayings, “we are blessed to be a blessing!”

Roy Townsend

Growth Pastor

Roy first joined the staff in 1992 as he was attending university.  Roy currently serves as the Grow Pastor which supports growth communities, sermon series publishing, Recovery ministry, and the Pastors Academy.  Roy spends his free time with his wife, Brandy and his three children.  You will typically find Roy's family at a football, basketball, or volleyball game throughout the school year.  Above all, his desire is to love God's people through helping them grow in His Word.  

Jeannie Yates

Assistant to the Growth Pastor

Jeannie serves on staff as the Assistant to the Growth Pastor. She has a passion for plugging 
people into Growth Communities and helping them grow in their walk with Christ. Jeannie attends The River Lake Orion where her husband, Josh, serves as Location Pastor. They have two daughters, and enjoy watching movies and playing games together. Her Oregonian background has given her a love for rainy days and strong coffee! 

Family Team

Patrick Bicknell

River Students Director (6th-12th Grade): Waterford

Patrick grew up in Waterford, MI and has served on staff since 2019. His passion is working with students and sharing the Gospel. Patrick loves hanging out with his son, his friends, and his family, watching Marvel movies, all things sports, and is a huge University of Michigan fan.

Stephen Billings

River Kids Director (K-5th Grade): Goodrich

Stephen is our gentle giant in the River Kids department at The River Goodrich. His heart to serve children and families developed through his time at Clarks Summit University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Bible. After graduation, Stephen went on to work with foster children before joining The River Church staff. Stephen loves to serve alongside his wife, Annie and their young son, who is sure to greet you with a smile! 

Caroline Roark

River Kids Director (Infant-5th Grade): Flushing

Caroline has gone to The River Church since 2014. She has served in our student ministry since 2018 and joined our staff in 2022! Caroline is currently getting her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. She loves coffee, and spending quality time with her friends. Siri has earned her number one friend spot as she sets reminders for everything! Caroline loves witnessing people dive into their personal relationships with the Lord and seeing His transformative power.

Elijah Edwards

River Kids + Students Director: Lake Orion

Elijah grew up in Pinckney, MI and attended Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, MI. His passion for working with kids and students has led him to serve as the River Kids and Students Director at The River Lake Orion. He loves writing, music, the outdoors, and rooting for the University of Michigan as well as all Detroit sports. He’s an encyclopedia for all things Transformers, Star Wars, and Anime among many other things too numerous to count. 

Brianna Breen

River Kids Director (Infant-5th Grade): Burton

Brianna grew up and accepted Christ attending The River Church! She has blessed our ministry with her passion for teaching children and gift of organization since she joined our staff in 2019. Bri loves to witness God moving in the hearts of those around her. She loves spending her free time with her husband, Dylan and her closest friends. She enjoys playing instruments, making things with her Cricut, shopping, organizing, and decorating, among many other hobbies! 

Mitchell Holmes

River Kids Director (K-5th Grade): Waterford

Mitchell has been a volunteer in our River Kids ministry for several years until he chose to pursue full-time ministry and became part of the staff in 2019. Mitchell is our River Kids Director at The River Waterford. He has a degree in criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University. Mitchell enjoys eating Chipotle, taking naps, and drinking chocolate milk.

Emilou Irwin

River Kids Director (Infant-PreK): Holly

Emilou has volunteered at The River Holly since 2014. Her passion to serve families and care for the little ones who join us in the Nursery and Pre-K classrooms led her to a role on staff beginning in 2019. In her free time, Emilou loves to travel and be with her family. 

James Mann

River Kids Director (K-5th Grade): Holly

James started as an intern at The River Church in 2014 and began working full-time in 2017. He is our River Kids Director at The River Holly. James received his bachelors in Elementary Education from Oakland University, M.Div in Biblical Studies from Moody Theological Seminary, and is in the process of getting his Ph.D. in Old Testament Biblical Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Outside of ministry, he loves music, the gym, and reading. 

Katie Pettibone

River Kids Director (Infant-5th Grade): Grand Blanc

Katie grew up at The River Waterford, formerly Faith Baptist Church. She has always loved serving with kids which inspired her to get her bachelor's degree in science focused in Youth and Family Ministries. Katie has been blessed with the opportunity to serve as River Kids Director at The River Grand Blanc since 2021. She loves to hang with friends and family, listen to music, go on road trips, and read during her free time.

FERDINAND SANDERS

Students & Worship Leader: Holly

Ferdinand joined the staff in 2020 as Gathering Director at The River Holly. He has always had a passion for people and music. In 2022, Ferd took on a dual role serving in Holly as the Worship Leader as well as Student Director. He loves playing and watching sports, and is optimistic that THIS IS OUR YEAR! when it comes to Detroit Lions Football.

JAZMINE SERIO

River Kids Director (Infant-PreK): Goodrich

Jazmine was born in Michigan, spent much of her childhood in Connecticut and has since returned to the Mitten. She has volunteered in children's ministry since she was a teenager. Her passion for the Lord and teaching children about Christ has led her to serving on staff at The River Goodrich. Aside from gathering with the church, she loves dog sitting and going on walks with friends. 

Ryan Story

Family Pastor + Location Pastor: Burton

Ryan has served at The River Church since 2010. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Study and a Master’s Degree in Family Ministry with a focus in leadership. Ryan enjoys reading and listening to books, and spending time with his wife and four children. He likes to spend time outdoors and is always looking for a new adventure.

KEATON WASHBURN

River Students + Young Adults Director: Goodrich + Locations Student Director

Keaton graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a degree in Youth Ministry. His passion for teaching students has led him to his role on staff as River Students Director since 2019. He loves spending time with his wife, Haleigh, particularly adventuring in the outdoors, rooting for the University of Michigan, and Detroit Tigers!

KYLE WENDEL

River Students + Young Adults Director: Grand Blanc + Locations Young Adults Director

Kyle has served on staff since 2013. Though willing to serve wherever needed, his passion is for Student and Young Adult ministries. Student ministry has played a vital role in Kyle’s life and his desire is to be there for other students in the same way. He loves spending time with his wife, Jessica, and their two daughters. Some of Kyle’s other favorites include, eating pizza, anything Star Wars or sports related, hiking, and eating more pizza. 

KATRINA YOUNG

River Kids Director (Infant-PreK): Waterford + Assistant to the Reach Pastor

Katrina has served on staff since 2014. She serves families at The River Waterford as the River Kids Director for infant - 4 year old aged children as well as admin support for Pastor Jayson and the Waterford location. Katrina loves her job and feels blessed to serve the people of her community. Outside of ministry, she loves spending time with her family, especially her three grandchildren.  

Operations team

Donnie Flook

Operations

Donnie has been a member of the Operations team at The River Church since 2021. His behind the scenes role plays a big part in everything we do at The River Church. Donnie enjoys playing instruments and serving on the worship team, graphic design, and sports.

Larry Gabbara

Financial Bookkeeper

After working 45 years in retail, Larry retired in 2017. Knowing he never wanted to truly retire, when he was given the opportunity to work at The River Church as the Financial Bookkeeper, he started the very next day! Larry’s perfect day off is spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He loves the University of Michigan, and all Detroit sports, especially the Tigers!

Bill Kinney

Operations

Bill has worked at The River Church since 2016. He serves the church by maintaining and repairing all of the church's vehicles. When Bill is not serving he enjoys hunting, camping, and riding his motorcycle.

John Stone

Facilities Manager + Assistant Men's Director

John loves to see people putting their gifts and talents to work for the glory of Christ. John has 18+ years of experience as a mechanical contractor which enables him to help keep our buildings running and create a welcoming environment. His passion is walking with the men of the church as they seek to love God and grow in His Word. He enjoys time with his wife, Erika and their four kids, working on their farm, fixing things, and traveling.