Chris Holck grew up on a farm in Iowa and thought that would be his life. He majored in Agricultural Banking and Finance at Iowa State University (where he met future wife Kathleen; they married in 1978) and took a job in that field upon graduating. The next few years saw the couple pursuing careers (Kathleen worked in early child development and parental education) and starting their family. Then, before taking over the family farm, Chris spent a year fulfilling another dream – earning a certificate in Biblical Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. After a few years of farming, he felt pulled to full-time ministry and took a youth pastor position in Minneapolis, Minn. Simultaneously, he began pursuing an Master of Divinity from Bethel Seminary in nearby St. Paul, graduating in May 1990; the following month, he was ordained in the Evangelical Free (E-Free) Church of America.
From 1991 to 2002, Chris pastored at Faith E-Free Church in Austin, Minn., and then was called to lead a church in Spirit Lake, Iowa. While there, Chris noticed that churches in general seemed to lack understanding in how to best serve one segment of their congregations – older adults. Feeling a passion to change that dynamic, in 2008, he began contracting with the E-Free denomination as a consultant and speaker, traveling all over the country to help churches promote new ways of engaging and empowering their “Encore Generation.”
In 2010, Bill and Mary Ann Hicks of The Villages were interested in planting a church in their area, and called E-Free headquarters in Minneapolis. Chris and Bill met; then he and Kathleen agreed to visit Florida; and after much prayer and faith, they moved to The Villages in January 2012. Live Oaks Community Church held its first worship service just one month later. Chris believes his mission here is to share the Gospel, and at the same time, guide older adults to live a purposeful, balanced second half of life that honors God – to “play hard, pray hard, and finish well.”
In their free time, Chris and Kathleen enjoy sports, both watching and playing (golf and pickleball), dining out; and traveling – especially to see their three married children and six grandkids, or relax at their “other home” by Lake Okoboji, in Iowa.
James Armstrong became Executive Pastor for Live Oaks Community Church in July 2022. He brings a rich, diverse background in ministries around the world.
A decorated U.S. Air Force veteran, James served under four different presidents in ministry to airmen, sailors, and soldiers both at home and overseas in Operation Just Cause, as well in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He was an adjunct instructor and professor at colleges in Maryland and Texas, teaching courses ranging from Philosophy and Religion to Management and Criminal Justice. He also taught Military Strategic Studies at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and was pastor of The Hill Fellowship, the Academy’s largest worship service. James has served as both an associate and senior pastor at a dozen churches stateside and abroad; a trained crisis chaplain and counselor; and led dozens of marriage, youth, and single ministry retreats during the course of his 30-year ministry career. Committed to investing in the church on both a local and international level, in 2019 he founded Becoming Missional, an organization aimed at training and equipping leaders and churches primarily in developing nations. His heart and passion, he says, is “for serving God and His people, those living and serving around the globe.”
A military kid, James grew up in both the U.S. and Europe; he became a Christian as a teen at a Baptist camp in Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from East Texas Baptist University (where he met his wife, Wendy), as well as an Master of Divinity in Biblical Languages from Southwestern Seminary; a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership from George Fox University; and is completing a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Midwestern Theological Seminary. The Armstrongs have three grown children – Austin, Alysse, and Ashlea.
Woodridge Campus Pastor
Pastor Bob Page came to Live Oaks Community Church in January 2013 after serving 37 years in pastoral ministry in the Evangelical Free Church, most recently as senior pastor of a church in Crystal Lake, Ill. He has also served the denomination as a district superintendent in the states of Nebraska and Kansas. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in journalism, Bob had a storied career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporter and editor prior to answering the call to serve the Lord in ministry.
“Pastor Bob” holds both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministries degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His responsibilities include shepherding those among the congregation who primarily attend worship services at the Woodridge Campus; and serving as one of the church’s able contingent of preaching pastors.
In 2009, Bob was widowed when the Lord called home his beloved wife of 41 years, Linda. But six years later, on December 31, 2015, God opened a new door, and he was blessed in marriage to Vickie Hubbard, whom he had met through Live Oaks. Bob has three children (two daughters and a son), and five grandchildren who are scattered throughout the Midwest; he and Vickie visit them whenever opportunity allows. Since moving to The Villages, walking and playing golf have become his main recreational activities of choice, along with enjoying gatherings with Vickie’s family, many of whom live nearby.
Southern Oaks Campus Pastor
Dr. Sam Benson and his wife Cheri have been in ministry for more than half a century. He began preaching the Gospel in 1967 and has served not only as a pastor and evangelist, but also as a missionary, traveling all over the world with the message of biblical truth. He and Cheri have led several congregations through major expansions, pastoring churches in Ohio, Minnesota, Washington, and other states. Today, as part of LOCC’s pastoral team since 2018, they are more excited about the future than ever before.
Sam’s inspired preaching stirs the hearts of his audiences to purposed-filled action. Cheri is an insightful teacher of Scripture, an entrepreneur, and a certified Life Coach. She is in demand as a women’s conference speaker and mentors both business and ministry professionals around the globe. Sam holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from North Central University in Minneapolis, and on January 21, 2001, at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., was awarded the Ecclesiastical Degree of Doctor of Divinity (DD) by the Mid-Atlantic Conference of the Methodist-Episcopal Church and the National Clergy Council.
Sam and Cheri met at college in Minnesota and married in June 1969. They have two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.
Holding both Master of Music and a Doctor of Arts degrees from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., as well as a B.A. from Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida, Steve Clarke has been leading worship in a variety of capacities since 1989. He became LOCC’s full-time Worship Pastor in March 2021.
Steve’s experience ranges all the way from conducting large choirs and full orchestras to leading music for retreats and other smaller worship venues. Having served in a variety of denominations, his bandwidth of musical styles is broad, incorporating traditional hymns and drawing from the last 50 years of praise music and current worship styles. “Coming to Live Oaks seems like the most generous way our Lord would favor me,” Steve says. “At Live Oaks I have sensed a deep love for Christ and a deep desire to pour every ounce of energy into seeing God’s kingdom flourish.”
Steve was born and raised in North Carolina; he and his wife Debbie met in college and have been married since 1988. They are the proud parents of six children – Rohman, Monee, Sophia, Whitney Morgan, Thatcher, and Allister. In his free time, Steve counts reading and attending his kids’ sports events as his favorite pastimes.
Tom Taylor joined the LOCC staff as full-time Care Pastor in February 2022. An accredited Bible counselor, Tom is a member of the Association of Christian Biblical Counselors and served on the development team for the Hope Denver Biblical Counseling Center. His ministry roles since becoming ordained in 1982 include 12 years pastoring a church in St. Augustine, Fla.; two years pastoring a church in Lakeland, Fla.; and a stint as a Christian educator teaching both computer and Bible classes to high school students.
As care pastor, Tom’s ministry focus includes visiting those who are ill; leading the prayer ministry; overseeing ministry for the care center and developing additional care center outreaches; and reaching out to those in the church who are shut-ins. Tom also co-teaches “Equipped to Care” classes, and he and his wife Pat serve as “The Grove Shepherds,” welcoming and ministering to the Live Oaks attendees who worship outdoors from their cars and golf carts each weekend.
Tom is a native Floridian; Pat moved to the state as a child, they’ve been married since August 1971. The couple moved to The Villages in 2020 after nearly two decades living near their daughter in Colorado. They both thrive on having a ministerial focus. “My heart is shepherding people,” Tom says, pointing to Isaiah 46:4 as his theme verse: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Jim Erb has always maintained a passion to “equip believers for works of service as together we fulfill the Great Commission.” He joined the LOCC staff as pastor of mobilization in January 2022, after serving 21 years as lead pastor of the Evangelical Free Church in Lena, Ill. Over the course of his ministry, Jim served in pastorates in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois; his travels have taken him to five continents and 23 countries to train, equip, and strengthen fellow Christ followers for outreach and discipleship. Along the way, he has trained pastors and leaders in the U.S., Kenya, India, and Southeast Asia; led ministry teams to the Philippines, Ecuador, and Honduras; and guided missionary teams in France, Thailand, and Indonesia.
“I eagerly anticipate mobilizing the people of Live Oaks so that people locally, nationally, and around the world may experience God’s wonderful grace in more vivid display,” Jim says. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and a Master of Divinity from Trinity International Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife Suzy have three grown children and four grandchildren, who live in Boone, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; and Grand Rapids, Mich. When he’s not mobilizing people for ministry, Jim enjoys bicycling, cheering on the Chicago Bears, and sampling coffees from around the world.
Atlanta, Ga., native Pat Brimer is often the first contact for anyone who calls or walks through the doors at the Woodridge Campus of Live Oaks Community Church during the week – she’s been the church receptionist since 2015.
Pat’s estimable career began right out of high school when her shorthand teacher recommended her for a job at a local real estate company. She went on to hold many administrative assistant or executive secretary posts over the years – working for a state traffic court judge; for a professional business manager (whose clients included football superstar Fran Tarkington); in the corporate relations office of RJR Nabisco; and providing administrative support for eight regional sales managers (simultaneously) at Continental Baking Company for 10 years.
Pat and her husband Tom (who worked many years for the Coca-Cola Co. before retiring) moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2004 to take care of her ailing father; he passed away the following year. Since they had longtime friends in The Villages, Pat and Tom decided to relocate there. Pat worked for 11 years for three sales reps with The Villages before the position at LOCC beckoned. She and Tom were married in 1974 and have one adult daughter, Stacey.
Tami Fly is something of a Jack of all trades in her role as Executive Assistant. “I’m good with details and enjoy seeing the ‘big picture’ come together, be it for a special event or the overall vision for the church,” she notes. Tami and husband Dan (who was an air traffic controller for 31 years) hail from Ohio; church has always been a big part of both their lives – it’s where they first met. Married since October 1983, they have three daughters, one son, and six grandchildren. Tami was very active in the children’s programs and VBS at their church “up north,” and she and Dan also served as small group leaders as well as in music ministry (they’ve continued the latter pursuits at LOCC – she in choir; he as a drummer).
After her youngest child started kindergarten, Tami worked part-time for the local school district for 10 years, then God led her to become executive secretary for their church. In 2016, both she and Dan retired, and the following year they moved to The Villages. LOCC was the third church they visited, and that’s where they stayed. Once Pastor Chris learned of Tami’s past work experience, he recruited her for a part-time, short-term role in January 2019; later, she was asked to return for the long-term in her current position. She works from October through May – summers are “family time!”
Jonatan Hernandez-Roche & Alina Morera
Caribbean Missions Leader/Facility Maintenance
Jonatan Hernandez-Roche spent more than 25 years in leadership roles with the Los Pinos Nuevos (LPN) denomination in Cuba, and most recently served as a pastor, project manager, and international missionary with Reach Global’s Latin America and Caribbean Division. Jonatan and wife Alina refer to themselves as “bi-vocational” missionaries – not only is she a mechanical engineer, and he a pharmacist, but both are graduates of Los Pinos Nuevos Seminary. This dynamic duo has founded four churches, two large home groups, and a Christian training and leadership center.
Despite thriving in their careers, ministries, and family life, Jonatan and Alina made the painful decision to leave their homeland to seek medical treatment in Florida for their son, treatment that was unavailable in Cuba. Among the many challenges they faced in their new locale was the search for a church home. God led them to LOCC, Jonatan says, because they found it to be a healthy, Christ-centered church with a missional approach to ministry and a passion to extend the gospel globally.
Jonatan joined the staff in August 2019; Alina began assisting him in April 2021. The couple serve LOCC not only by maintaining the facilities at both the Woodridge and Southern Oaks campuses, but also coordinating mission outreach efforts throughout the Caribbean.
“Jonatan and Alina are a gift to our church,” says Pastor Chris Holck. “Their knowledge of Cuba and the broader context of the Caribbean and Latin America will assist us as we seek to extend our missional activity in those areas. Their humble spirits are demonstrated in that they want to help wherever they can.”
“We want to build a bridge between Live Oaks Church and other churches and ministries across the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean,” Jonatan says, “and to be useful and faithful servants to the Lord.”
Bill Lyon has been an integral part of Live Oaks’ leadership since its early days at The Waterfront Inn at Lake Sumter Landing; he joined the church staff in 2013. Bill’s technical background and customer service training made him the perfect candidate to coordinate all the busy activities among the many volunteer ministries taking place within the church.
Bill and his wife Karen have been involved in church plants as far back as 1987, during their days living in the Pacific Northwest. They relocated to Southern California in 1998 and were involved in the growth of another startup church there until they moved to The Villages in 2010.
A U.S. Army veteran, Bill was born in Chicago, and still harbors an affinity for the Windy City’s pro teams, the Cubs and the Bears; but he also roots for the Seattle Seahawks, stemming from more than 13 years in the Northwest. However, a dozen years residing in the San Diego area cemented the Chargers as his favorite team: his golf cart color scheme certainly attests to this! Bill also enjoys golf, and plays softball on the team from his Village of Sanibel neighborhood.
Bill and Karen have been married since August 1971; they have two sons, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren – all of whom reside in Texas.
Human Resources & Finance Assistant
Victoria Michaud’s background prepared her well for multi-tasking – and she does a lot of that at LOCC. Victoria holds a B.S. in Communications (with a Human Resources focus) from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. After college, she went to work in the banking field; in 2007, she left to work as the office manager for her church in Maple Grove, Minn. A year later, she became the business manager, her full-time job for more than 10 years, after which she stepped down “in order to keep my church, my church,” she explains.
Growing up in in Worthington, Minn., Victoria equated church and faith with “rules.” But then she saw “The Passion of the Christ” film in 2004. “It really pulled me to Jesus,” she says. She and husband Brian (he worked in engineering for 33 years) have been married since February 1996. Both came from large, blended families, and enjoy just being “the fun aunt and uncle” to their many nieces and nephews. After they both retired in 2019, they moved to The Villages. Hearing about LOCC from her sister, they visited, and while on a tour of Southern Oaks in October of that year, they met Pastor Chris Holck, who invited Victoria to volunteer in the church office. In January 2020 she came on staff, part-time. “This job is FUN,” she asserts. “I enjoy the variety and the people and feel blessed to serve.”
The sequence of events through which God brought Isaac Rojas to Live Oaks Community Church was serendipitous indeed. Back in 2014, the church posted an ad for a graphic artist on Craig’s List, then quickly removed it in favor of more conventional advertising routes. Isaac, trained in graphic design, happened to see that brief posting, however, and responded. “It had to be a ‘God thing,” he recalls. “Since I didn’t tend to frequent that site for work.”
Once Pastor Chris Holck learned that Isaac also had a background in technology, audio, and video production at churches in St. Augustine, Fla. (where he grew up), he asked him to help with the sound system. That soon evolved to overseeing all aspects of LOCC’s technical needs.
Isaac met his wife Cristin one night while bowling with friends. Just four months later, in December 2011, they had an outdoor wedding in her parents’ backyard. “I knew from the moment I saw her that I wanted to marry her!” he says. They now have two adorable daughters, Zoey and Chloe.
Cristin began helping Isaac in the tech department in 2020. A born organizer, she previously had served as assistant to the pastor at her church; and co-owned and managed a multi-site consignment store. Both Cristin and Isaac recall giving their hearts to the Lord at an early age; and church life was an integral part of their growing up.
In their free time, the couple enjoys being with family. “Anytime we can have a cookout or be with the grandparents is a great day in our books,” Cristin says. Isaac has a longstanding interest in theology and love of music (he used to play in worship bands); and both he and Cristin share a deep commitment to serving the church in any capacity. “I enjoy working with technology and using it for God’s kingdom,” Isaac notes. “What’s not to love about what we do?”
Scott and Kay Wible moved from Minnesota to The Villages in 2019 when Scott was invited to become Communications Director for Live Oaks Community Church. His job entails all types of communications within the church – weekly bulletins, church-wide email communiqués, website and phone app content, event and activity promotions, social media, advertising, and more. He works closely with pastors, elders, and staff to ensure an effective flow of information within and about LOCC.
In a career encompassing both communications and ministry, Scott was the managing editor for five different magazines in Kansas, Colorado, and Minnesota, and worked in advertising and as a freelance writer/editor. Additionally, he raised his own support to serve seven years on the staff with Youth for Christ/Campus Life International; was interim youth pastor at two different churches; taught in a private Christian school (grades 7-12); was writer and editor for his church’s communications team; and part-time director of adult ministries programs. He also was an editor, project manager, and content coordinator at two private, Christian universities – Bethel University in St. Paul and North Central University in Minneapolis.
Scott holds a B.S. in Journalism from Kansas State University, and an M.A. in Theological Studies from Bethel Seminary. With an extensive background in music and theater, he also has enjoyed serving on his churches’ worship and drama teams; and he and Kay have teamed up as adult Sunday school teachers, marriage mentors, and small group leaders.
Scott and Kay (who has a journalism degree from the University of Kansas) met in 1978 and were married in 1984. Whenever possible, they love traveling to Minnesota, Kansas, or Texas to visit their three grown daughters, sons-in-law, and eight “awesome grandkids.”