Meet Our Pastors

Lead Pastor
Al Toledo
Chrissy Toledo

Al and Chrissy Toledo were both born and raised in New York City.  Al, born of Cuban parents, was headed for a promising career as a professional baseball player when the Lord revealed Himself to him at the age of seventeen on a baseball field. After being drafted by a major league team and playing in college, Al began attending the Brooklyn Tabernacle, a short distance from the apartment where he grew up in. He sensed that God was calling him into ministry and left Brooklyn to attend Bible School in Rhode Island. While at Bible School, Al fell in love with Chrissy Cymbala, his longtime friend, who was serving on staff at the time leading the music ministry. They were married in 1992 and began serving in full time ministry together.

Chrissy, a pastor’s daughter, accepted the Lord at a very young age. She was blessed to grow up in that same inner-city church, the Brooklyn Tabernacle with people from all walks of life. Chrissy grew up loving her world. As a pre-teen, however, something began to happen in her heart, unbeknownst to her family and friends, that would set her down a road of turning her back on everyone she loved. Chrissy shares about the miracle that took place in her life in her book Girl In The Song.

Al and Chrissy have been happily married for nearly 30 years and have three adult children, and five grandchildren. In 2001, while on a trip to Chicago for a time of rest, God placed a seed of love in their hearts for the people of the city and in 2002 they took a great step of faith and planted the Chicago Tabernacle.

The Toledo’s feel privileged to have a front row seat to so many testimonies of God’s grace and power. It has been the gift that continues to energize their faith to live their lives in service to Him.

Executive Pastor
Tim Arthur
Esther Arthur

Pastor Tim was born and raised in Barbados where he was led to the Lord by his Chemistry teacher at 18 years old. Just after, he moved to the States to attend college, studying Geology at Brooklyn College, then went on to receive his Master of Social Work from New York University. He has since served as an administrator and pastor at churches in New York, namely the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Tennessee, Nigeria, and Barbados for over 22 years. Pastor Tim and his wife Esther met at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and were married in 1996. 

Born and raised in Nigeria, Pastor Tim’s wife, Esther, also moved to the United States to attend college, receiving her BS in International Business from Quinnipiac University, an LLB from the University of Buckingham, and an MA in African Studies from Yale University. It was during her time in Law school that one of Esther’s friends shared the Gospel with her, leading her to surrender her life to Christ. Esther has served in various ministries including the Brooklyn Tabernacle Prayer Band, launching Chi Alpha at the University of Memphis, and currently serves as one of the Continental Coordinators of Wailing Women Worldwide for the USA and Canada.

Together, Pastor Tim and Esther were blessed with their son Elim, and their mission is to walk humbly before God daily as they extend His love and mercy in service to others. Their desire is that others experience hope and joy in Him, to the honor and glory of His Name.

Associate Pastor
Edgar Rivas
Christie Rivas

Pastor Edgar Rivas was born and raised on the west side of Chicago. After being involved in gangs as a teenager, he decided to leave Chicago and serve his country in the US Marine Corps. After the incidents of 9/11, he served his country again by joining the Department of Homeland Security, serving for 12 years. In 2009 Edgar rededicated his heart to Christ and began a journey that led him to give up his career of federal service and answer the call of God to full-time ministry.

Christie also grew up in Chicago and committed her life to the Lord at the age of eight during a weeknight Bible study. She attended North Park University in Chicago and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has served the children of our church since 2010 and has a deep desire for children to fall in love with the house of God.

Pastor Edgar and Christie met at Chicago Tabernacle in 2012 and were married in 2013. They now have three young girls–Eliana, and twins, Ally and Gabby.

Associate Pastor
David Stephens
Susie Stephens

Pastor David is the son of a military chaplain, and grew up all over the world. Similarly, Susie was raised in Bosnia in a missionary family.

Pastor David was saved as a young boy, and felt a call to ministry in high school. While attending Moody Bible Institute, his brother invited him to the Chicago Tabernacle, where he began to serve and continue to grow in leadership. During this season of his life, Pastor David encountered God’s presence in a powerful way. Pastor David has a desire for all people to encounter God in this way, so they can see the supernatural power of God in their everyday lives. Susie also felt a call to ministry at a young age. She has a passion to see every child in Chicago be reached with the gospel and to see them become godly, powerful leaders in God’s Kingdom. Pastor David and Susie have three little ones of their own; Owen, Eden and Elliot. Both David and Susie have a heart to evangelize and their prayer is to see revival come to Chicago.

Associate Pastor
Jose R. Figueroa
Darcy Figueroa

Pastor Jose Figueroa grew up in Chicago. After following a self-destructive path in his early 20’s, he dedicated his life to Christ in 1999. Pastor Jose’s mission is to inspire others to love Jesus and live out the Gospel. Pastor Jose holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary. Darcy committed her life to Christ when she was a young girl. She was drawn towards a life of cross-cultural Christian service since her early teens and pursued training towards that end by graduating from Baptist Bible College of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Darcy enjoys utilizing her professional and ministry training to serve women and families at CT.

Pastor Jose and Darcy met at the Chicago Tabernacle when the church first opened its doors in 2002, and they were married at CT in 2004. After completing his seminary studies, Pastor Jose and Darcy moved to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where Pastor Jose co-pastored a church for the urban poor. They returned to Chicago in 2013, and Pastor Jose joined CT’s pastoral team in 2015. Along with serving the marriages of the church, Pastor Jose is passionate about outreach, community engagement, and local and global missions. He and Darcy have been blessed with two children, Isabel and Gabriel.

Campus Pastor Philadelphia Tabernacle
Josh Leblanc
Susie Leblanc

Pastor Josh grew up in the Midwest in the home of a pastor. After receiving a degree in Construction Management and Business from Ball State University, he moved to Chicago in 2007. Pastor Josh began a career in construction project management and started attending the church shortly after. During this time, his walk with the Lord deepened, and he began to sense a call to ministry. He joined the Chicago Tabernacle staff in 2011 and has served in various areas.

Susie came to Chicago in 2002 when her parents, Pastor Al and Chrissy Toledo, founded the Chicago Tabernacle. Susie felt a call to the ministry as a teenager and began serving at the church as an intern in 2008. She came on staff in 2009 and has been a part of the Creative Team since.

Pastor Josh and Susie are passionate about seeing people grow in their walk with the Lord and feel called to build and joyfully serve others to become what God has called them to be. They were married in the Spring of 2011 and had two sons: Wesley and James. In spring 2021, God began to prepare their hearts to take a step of faith into something new. During their first visit to Philadelphia, Pastor Josh and Susie walked down one of the significant downtown streets. They began to weep as God deposited in their hearts a deep burden to see the people grow and become. Since moving to the city in April 2022, they have fallen in love with the people and believe God wants to do great things in Philadelphia!

Associate Pastor
Jake Sparlin
Amanda Sparlin

Pastor Jake Sparlin was born and raised in Chicago. After attending Chicago Tabernacle in Spring 2007, he encountered God through The Story of Love and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Pastor Jake’s journey into the ministry began soon thereafter.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, Pastor Jake came on staff full-time in early 2008. He continued to serve in a variety of ways for the next several years, including Assistant to Pastor Toledo, Children’s Ministry Director, and Youth Pastor. Now Pastor Jake serves the church as Associate Pastor, and holds an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago.

Associate Pastor
Jovan Ramos
Amy Ramos

Pastor Jovan was born and raised in New York City and grew up going to church. It wasn’t until he was 14 years old that he truly surrendered his heart to the Lord and began a personal relationship with Jesus. He felt the call to ministry in his early twenties and began serving in the local church in greater capacities. 

Prior to entering full-time ministry, Pastor Jovan was a Special Education Teacher and Guidance Counselor in New York City. He received his BA at Lehman College in Mass Communication and went on to receive two MA in Special Education and Counseling from Hunter College and Alfred University. Pastor Jovan has served as a Worship Leader, Next Generation Pastor and Associate Pastor.

While attending his local church he met Amy, and they were married in July of 2010. Amy was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She grew up in the church, but had a life-changing experience with the Lord at 16 and fully surrendered her heart to the Lord. Amy has worked as a teacher and received a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Pastor Jovan and Amy joined Chicago Tabernacle in September of 2021. Their heart is to see people encounter the life-changing power of Jesus. They have been blessed with three children—Charlotte, Ben and Camryn. 

Associate Pastor
Mike Risher
Anne Risher

Pastor Mike was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He and his wife Anne were both saved in their mid-twenties and married in 1989. As new believers, they intentionally set out to pursue God together. Their first serving opportunities were collecting the offering at services and weeding a section of their church grounds weekly. In his desire to honor God with his marriage, Pastor Mike was mentored by their pastor and consumed every marriage book he could find until he grew in passion to see other couples have healthy marriages. He and Anne joined the marriage team at their church working with pre-marital couples and have continued until this day and now also serve couples that need a little help along the way.
Pastor Mike learned about Chicago Tabernacle in 2002 and was introduced to Pastor Toledo by a friend. Drawn to what God was doing at CT, he began to bring his family from the NW suburbs to services at CT until eventually they became members and have been serving ever since.
Their mission is to fan into flame the next generation and joyfully do that in a variety of ways. Pastor Mike meets with our staff in a soul care role and together he and Anne serve in our marriage ministry. Anne serves on the soul care team as well, meeting with women who are in need of encouragement and the power found in the Word of God. They are passionate about seeing God’s people set free, encouraged, equipped and propelled into the more that God has for them. Pastor Mike and Anne have two adult married children and one granddaughter.