Leadership

Leadership

Dale Oquist

Lead Pastor

Dale grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated with a degree in vocational ministry from North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now, after serving for nearly a decade as the lead pastor of Peoples Church, Dale’s passion for ministry has become known throughout the community.

He is known for his ability to teach the Bible in a fresh and practical way, engaging both those new to faith as well as experienced believers. Never one to stop learning, Dale earned his master’s degree from Northwest University in missional leadership, where he is an adjunct faculty member. He also serves on the board of trustees for Vanguard University.

Dale and his wife, Joni, have been married since 1986 and have three children: Lauren, DJ, and Dawson. In his spare time you’ll find Dale reading, detailing cars, golfing, or listening to jazz — but don’t be surprised if you spot Dale at a local Starbucks enjoying a cup of dark roast coffee.

Brad Liebe

Executive Pastor & COO

Brad grew up in Waupaca, Wisconsin and attended North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has served across the US and internationally in various ministry and corporate roles. He began his ministry as a Student Ministries pastor and then went on to plant and direct the first residential discipleship college in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was then hired as the Executive Pastor at a church in Florida, during his time there the church grew from 3,000 to 8,000. From there Brad served as the Senior Pastor of a church in his home state of Wisconsin. For the past six years he has served at Peoples Church in Fresno, CA as the Executive Pastor & COO. Brad and his wife, Jana have been married since 1991 and have three children, Karissa, Kourtney and Braxton.

Chuck Trogdon

Chief Financial Officer

Chuck has attended Peoples Church for over 20 years and has volunteered in a lay leadership capacity for several ministries at the church.

Chuck is currently the CEO / Partner of a very successful insurance services firm located in Fresno, California and has been in an executive leadership role for several nonprofits in the community.

Chuck has been a lifelong resident of Fresno where he resides with his wife and family.

Matt Perkins

Worship Arts Pastor

Matt has had a heart for ministry since an early age, and a unique voice that allows him to share the word of God through powerful worship. He joined the Peoples Church family in 2014 after serving as the worship arts pastor in Orlando, Florida.

In addition to local church ministry, Matt equips, connects, and develops leaders in worship ministry. In 2012, Matt launched his Leaders in Worship podcast that currently has subscribers in more than 40 countries.

While delivering a powerful message through music, Matt is also a published songwriter, and has worked with a variety of recording artists such as Martha Munizzi, BJ Putnam, Freddy Rodriguez, and William McDowell. He has also produced choirs and has performed with Josh Groban, Pat Boone, and Ray Charles.

Matt and his wife, Kari, have a beautifully blended family of two daughters and five sons.

Larry Powell

Community Connections Pastor

Struck with polio at the age of 15 months in 1949, Larry is an inspiration to everyone he meets. He wears a brace on his right leg but will often point to his head and say, “I don’t limp up here.”

He was a champion wrestler and coach, an avid golfer with a 5 handicap, a swimmer, and a gymnast. He believes the only things you can’t do are things you don’t attempt.

After 43 years in education, Larry retired as the superintendent of schools for Fresno County where he oversaw 35 school districts, 325 schools, and nearly 200,000 students. He also spent two years as the chairman of California’s Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team during the height of the financial crisis in California.

You can listen to Larry on his radio feature “Good News with Larry Powell” on iHeart Radio and PowerTalk 96.7, and on KSEE24 and CBS 47 as a political analyst. As if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, he and his wife Dot, a published author of children’s books, founded The Powell Project C3:23 to bring encouragement and hope to families and individuals who are struggling in life.

Larry has been recognized in California and his community as the ACSA Superintendent of the Year in Region 9, Distinguished Citizen by the Boy Scouts, the Horizon Award winner for his work in promoting the arts, Humanitarian of the Year, one of 20 Americans of the Year by Esquire Magazine in 2011, and was named Outstanding Alumni by the Kremen School of Education at Fresno State.

Matt Markarian

Logistics Pastor & Facilities Director

Born and raised in Fresno, Matt attended Peoples Church growing up and considers it a dream come true to serve as the Community Outreach Pastor. As a graduate of Fresno State with a degree in business management, he and his wife Vanessa owned and managed AOP Embroidery.

Together they ran a successful business for nearly 13 years and were fortunate enough to sell the business to answer the call to ministry. Looking back, Matt credits those years as preparation for God’s ultimate plan. Matt spent his first few years as the Junior High Pastor before transferring in to his current position.

Matt loves technology and soccer; if there is a new gadget he probably has it. If he is not with his family or fiddling with the latest Apple device, you can probably find him on the soccer field or in front of a TV watching his beloved Manchester United.

He has coached soccer for the past 23 years at Fresno Christian High School where his son Jarrod is an alumnus. Getting to watch young men learn the values of competition on the field and then applying it to everyday life is one of his favorite things about coaching.

Joni Oquist

Women’s Ministries Director

Joni was raised in a pastor’s home in Fort Worth, Texas, but it wasn’t until her experience at a church youth camp that she realized she was destined for a life of vocational ministry.

She received her education from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and in 1986, married Dale Oquist. Joni has faithfully served in various areas of ministry including youth, young adults, and music, but her passion is getting to work with women as they discover who they are in Christ.

Joni has held women’s ministry positions in two previous churches in Wisconsin and Washington. She enjoys writing, teaching Bible studies, and developing leaders, and has become a pillar of support for women at Peoples Church.

She and Dale have three grown children and one daughter-in-love.  Joni never meets and stranger,  and takes every opportunity to break out in song or share a fun story with whomever will listen!

Karissa Liebe

Discipleship & Outreach Pastor

Karissa’s love and passion for the Church began at a young age since she was raised in a ministry family. On a mission trip in eighth grade, Karissa felt called to full-time ministry and has since been pursuing that call.
Karissa graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Discipleship Ministry at Lee University in Tennessee, where she also served as a Resident Director. After coming to Peoples Church in 2017, she received her master’s degree from Lee University in Marriage and Family Science.
Karissa loves integrating the discipleship skills she’s learned, both in ministry and Residential Life and Housing, as she serves here at Peoples Church.
Karissa strives to mobilize the Church as the tangible hands and feet of Jesus by providing a Christian’s first steps to knowing Jesus, tools for discipleship, and implementing the two in outreach and missions.
Karissa’s favorite things are reading with a cup of coffee and walks with her golden retriever, Chester. Karissa also loves to gather people around the table to share good food and conversation.

Jason Briesacher

Children’s Pastor

Jason had to go halfway around the world to find out he was supposed to be a children’s pastor. On a mission’s trip to Lithuania at age 15, Jason was called into ministry and hasn’t looked back.


As the children’s pastor, Jason oversees everything from babies to 6th graders and loves teaching and engaging with kids. Jason has a passion to help kids have fun as they learn about God’s Word. Jason has become a leader in children’s ministries, has written curriculum for families to use in their own home, and has also been a guest writer on many blogs. Earlier in his career, Jason had the opportunity to create an anti-bullying program that was delivered to thousands of students in Arizona.

Jason enjoys writing, teaching, and spending time with his family. In his spare time, Jason likes to play golf, racquetball, softball, watch movies, engineer audio, drink coffee, play board games and video games, listen to motivational speakers or pastors, and read books.

He is joined by his wonderful wife Kathryn as they raise their children, Ronin, Tobias, Jude, and Sadie.

Terry Townsend

Generations Pastor

Terry was raised in Peoples Church from the age of nine, so it truly is his home church. After graduating from Vanguard University in Southern California, where he met and married his wife Lila, he spent eight years as a youth pastor in Bakersfield and Santa Maria.

During those formative years, a passion for Global Outreach was building in his heart. In 1985, Terry and his family relocated to Indonesia as missionaries. They served five years pastoring with an international church in Jakarta, teaching in a ministerial training center and working with church planters across the country.

In 1992, after unexpectedly losing their Indonesian residence visa, they moved to Moscow, Russia, where they planted the International Christian Assembly. Terry also helped open Moscow Theological Seminary where he was responsible for teaching and mentoring future pastors.

Terry joined the staff of Peoples Church in 1998 to focus on planting churches and Global Outreach. He currently provides leadership to four local church plants, the newest being Peoples Church Southeast.

Evan Baird

Men’s Ministries & Young Couples Director

Evan was born and raised in the Central Valley and has a heart for seeing the faith community here flourish. He grew up farming and still loves any opportunity to spend time in the country.

He graduated from Fresno Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in History and after earning his master’s degree in educational leadership and spending a number of years teaching he has made the transition to church leadership here at Peoples Church. He has a passion for connecting and making meaningful relationships founded in faith.

He and his wife Ryane have attended Peoples Church since 2010 and love calling it home for their growing family. Evan loves spending any free time with Ryane and his kids, Reese and Easton, being active and outside. They love taking trips to the coast or the mountains and finding good food in new places.

Camelia Cross

Senior Care Pastor

Everything in Camelia’s life has been a platform to share new life through Jesus Christ. After graduating from Fresno State, Camelia taught first grade, a learning disabilities class, and later became the media specialist for the Fresno Unified School District. Although she had met many of her long-term goals, at the age of 30 she came to understand that true meaning, purpose, joy, and hope only comes through a relationship with Jesus.

In 1980, she was invited to join the staff as Peoples Church’s first children’s ministries director. Later, Camelia became the editor and photojournalist for the Peoples Perspective newspaper, led Evangelism Explosion for a time, and now is the team leader for Peoples Church’s Congregational Care/Ministry to Seniors.

Since starting this ministry in 2014, she has focused on building caring relationships, discovering needs, and offering spiritual and emotional encouragement to seniors. Her commitment to ensuring our seniors are valued and cared for by the Peoples Church faith family and Jesus Christ has made a significant impact in the church.

marcus marshall

Student Ministry Pastor

Marcus grew up in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where he met the Lord during his junior year in high school in a radical way. Since then, he has had a passion to connect and reach the lost and help raise up the next generation. After moving from Washington, D.C., Marcus attended the Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, CA. The Lord then moved him to Tampa, Florida for five years to serve as an Outreach Pastor. In his free time he loves to play basketball, hang out with friends, and beat as many people as he can in board games.

 

Nathan Lowder

Associate Student Ministry Pastor

Nathan was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He graduated from Southwestern Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Leadership, as well as completed a ministry training program at Victory School of Leadership. After graduation, he was a part of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri for 3 months. Nathan has a heart to see a generation fall madly in love with Jesus and to see individuals within the local church awakened to global impact. Nathan enjoys playing sports, reading books, and being with friends. Nathan and his wife Darcy have been married since February of 2017.

Barbara Solis

Family Counseling Pastor

“Y’all come back” was a familiar expression in Barbara Solis’ childhood home. Barbara was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to parents that were born and raised in the South. The foundation of her southern charm is built on hospitality, family and morals: the fundamentals that were taught to her throughout her childhood.

Being one of five children, the house was always full. It was not unusual for Barbara’s dad to call home before dinner to say, “Add another plate to the table.” Those values continue to be a central focus for her and her husband Al. She and Al have a beautifully blended family of five children and six grandchildren.

Barbara has always had a love for children, which is why she focused on interdisciplinary child development throughout her high school and college years. At a turning point in Barbara’s life, she traveled with a group of college students from her church to 12 countries studying the political, economic, and religious structure of each country. Because of that trip, Barbara fully committed her life to Jesus.

Though her life has had its trials and tragedies, her love for God and family has remained constant. Whether she is directing the Fresno Christian Early Education, counseling individuals, gathering the family together, or opening her home for small groups, the cry of her heart is “Y’all come back!”

Tim Moore

Associate Outreach Pastor

As the son of a children’s pastor in Syracuse, New York, Tim grew up in church and accepted Jesus at six years old.

Tim married Alisha in 2003, and together they have four kids. Soon after the birth of their children, God began to work in his heart again. Feeling called to work in children’s ministry, Tim began volunteering at his local church and in 2014, he entered full-time vocational ministry in Surprise, Arizona. In 2016, Tim was led to Peoples Church where he shares the love of Jesus with people in our community through outreach.

He has a competitive spirit and loves sports of all types including softball, football, basketball, and golf. He is also just a few belts shy of his black belt in Taekwondo!

Morena Castro

Peoples Church en Español Pastor

Pastor Morena Castro was born in El Salvador and came to know Christ as a young woman in the Los Angeles area in 1995. She has been married for 35 years to Francisco Castro, has four children and four grandchildren. Her family joined our Spanish congregation in 2008 and she now serves as a Pastor for Peoples Church en Español. Morena also leads the Spanish Wednesday night Bible study, Women’s Ministry, hospital visitations, and in home visits to our home bound church members.

Jän Van Oosten

Assimilation Pastor

Jän was born in Reno, Nevada, but made his way to Fresno by way of Portland when he was in elementary school. After he graduated from Fresno State with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Art, Jän intended to teach at the secondary level but took a chance with a few friends to launch Valley Public Radio, KVPR-FM 89, an NPR affiliate station.

He worked as KVPR’s first general manager until he was recruited by Pastor Bufe Karraker of Northwest Church to serve as its business administrator. It wasn’t long before he was engaged in direct ministry and was led to the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, now seminary at Fresno Pacific University, graduating with a master’s degree in theology. Jän would eventually become the church planter for New Covenant Community Church in Fresno, under the direction of the Baptist General Conference.

Jän also has worked with the BGC in its innovative and highly effective approach to church planting in the United States and Europe. Jän retired in 2015.

Jän has been married to Virginia for more than 45 years, and together they have a daughter, Bethany, and three terrific granddaughters.