Leadership Team | Avalon Church

Staff

Pastor Don Dodge

Pastor Don Dodge

Senior Pastor

Don and Rae Lynn Dodge are natives of Lakeland, Florida and glad to be back in the Central Florida area after leading churches in Wisconsin for many years. Don’s love of learning and passion for the Church of Jesus Christ bring a double dynamic to Avalon Church. Don, Rae Lynn, and daughters, Ali and Rylie, live in the Avalon Park community while adult daughter, Rene, and granddaughter, Alysa, reside a short drive away in Lakeland. Don has been serving as Senior Pastor since December 2017.
Pastor Jim Groves

Pastor Jim Groves

Pastor Emeritus

Jim and Debbie have been married since 1972 and have a son, Mike, who lives in Georgia and a daughter, Danielle, who along with her husband Jason are active members of Avalon Church. Jim and Debbie have been members of Avalon Church almost from its beginning. Jim retired from the active staff in February 2021.

Pastor William Nieto

Pastor William Nieto

Spanish Pastor

William is originally from New York but grew up in Ecuador. He has been serving the Lord since being baptized in 2001. He and his wife, Rosy, have been married since 1991 and have four children, the eldest serving in the US Air Force. Together they share a passion to serve the Spanish congregation and our Student Ministry in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all of our community. William is an avid photographer and loves soccer, coaching children’s soccer teams since 1990.

Mike Smith

Mike Smith

Worship Leader & Student Pastor

Mike and Susie have been married since 2009 and have four beautiful children. They moved to Orlando from Cleveland Ohio in 2013 and joined the Avalon Church family in January of 2019. Mike has been leading worship since his early teenage years, while also  committing himself to mentoring and discipleship of young people . Mike and Susie have been serving in church leadership since the beginning of their journey together. They both share a deep love for Jesus and a passion for seeing the Kingdom of God extended throughout the earth, especially through worship and ministry to students.  

Lisa Hernandez

Lisa Hernandez

Children's Ministry Director

Lisa has been married to David since 2002 and they have three wonderful children, Nathaniel, Noah and Lianne. They have been a part of Avalon church since 2009 and they love their church family. Lisa’s passion is working with children and has been teaching at a Christian preschool since 2008.  She also has worked for many years in event coordination. Lisa’s combined experience are sure to help create an environment that is God-centered, safe and fun for our children. She looks forward to plan events throughout the year to draw families together in our community and within our families here at Avalon Church

Elders

Dennis Sink

Elder

David Hernandez

Elder

Joe Chau

Joe Chau

Elder

Joe was born in Hong Kong, but was raised in Long Island (Stony Brook), NY. He became a Christian at a young age. And later attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he studied Computer Science. While working in Albany, NY, he volunteered with Campus Crusade at the University of Albany for 5 years. By God”s grace and to His glory alone, many of the students came to know Jesus personally, some of whom are now full-time missionaries. Joe met Jen (who was born in Taiwan, but raised in Brooklyn) and got married. Together they led a college/career group from their home. God grew their ministry in New York City and they were blessed to see some people come to know the Lord and others to walk more deeply in their faith. In 2004 God called Joe and Jen to leave their careers in the computer software industry and to serve Him fulltime with Campus Crusade for Christ (Rom 12:1-2). They now have four beautiful children. (Lydia, Priscilla, Nathan, Phinehas).  Joe and Jen spent 8 years building spiritual movements in the Pioneer Valley, centered on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and extending to Smith College, Mount Holyoke, and other area colleges reaching Post-moderns, Asian Americans, and Varsity Athletes. In 2014, God called Joe and Jen to join the executive team of the campus ministry of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade) as the Executive Directors of Operations. Joe and Jen are super excited for what God is doing in the Avalon/Waterford area and consider being a part of Avalon Church a wonderful blessing.

James Cowan

James Cowan

Elder

James and his wife, Carla, have been a part of Avalon Church since 2017. They have 5 children (Amara, Sydney, Rockford, Lincoln, and Rowyn). When James was 8 years old, God sought him through a local church’s children’s bus ministry to mobile home parks, and he came to Christ in 1990. James grew up in Flint, MI and met Carla while they attended Bob Jones University, where he received his degree in Political Science. After graduating college, James joined the Marine Corps as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense specialist and served in Iraq in 2006. James holds 3 Masters degrees (International Relations, Business Turnaround Management, and Financial Economics) and is a huge fan of the Detroit Lions, Detroit Red Wings, Michigan Wolverines, Boston Celtics, and Manchester United. When he’s not working, you can find him hanging out with friends somewhere in east Orlando, playing basketball or soccer with his kids, or serving somewhere at Avalon Church. James loves the Avalon community, and, in particular, the Avalon Church family. The mission of Avalon Church is to Go and Grow Together, and the part of that mission James is most excited about is doing it TOGETHER.

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