JOURNEY STAFF


  • Chad Simpkins, Lead Pastor

    Chad grew up a pastor's kid in NC where he decided being a pastor wasn't something he wanted to do. After spending four years at Wake Forest University, he tried the world of selling insurance. Three years in the business world and being a pastor sounded pretty good to him. After two years at Milligan College, Chad has spent the last 20 years leading in churches in NJ, NC, and VA. He and his wife Kara, live in West Springfield with their three kids, Savana, Avery, & Jake.

    
Email: chad@thejourneynova.org





  • Gary MitCHell, Worship Pastor

    A multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years experience in music and ministry, Gary was called into ministry at an early age. With a major in Religious Studies and a minor in music performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gary has worked as a professional musician, performer, song writer, and music teacher, as well as a worship leader and youth minister. He also has a love for pop culture, with a YouTube channel devoted to blending music and ministry with comic books, movies, sci-fi, and all things "nerdy." He and his wife are new to the DMV, hailing from the Triangle area of North Carolina.

    Email: gary@thejourneynova.org



  • RYan McGhee, Teen Director

    Ryan is the Teen Director, focusing on students in middle and high school. Ryan currently works in the consulting industry with a Chemical Engineering degree, but his love for Jesus and passion for growth led him to his current pursuit of a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Ryan and his wife, Elissa, live in Kingstowne with their two kids, Sadie and Leila.

    Email: teens@thejourneynova.org






  • Sara Becker, Elementary director

    Sara is our Director of Elementary Childhood Development which focuses on K-6th grades, Sara is a South Dakota native with a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education and a Master’s in Social Work. She is currently working on her Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) requirements for full licensure. Although her formal education isn’t in ministry, she has been volunteering in children’s ministry for 10+ years. In her spare time, Sara enjoys reading, exercising, and movie nights with her family. She lives in Kingstowne with her husband, Nathan, and their three children, Emmett, Alex, and Juliette.
    Email: sara@thejourneynova.org  



  • Kara simpkins, early childhood director

    Kara grew up in Fairfax County and is excited to be living back in the community she calls “home.” She holds a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Psychology from Milligan College. Kara's work career began in the fitness industry but she soon moved into the world of investing in children. She is an experienced preschool teacher and also served as the children’s director at the NC church plant she and Chad planted. She has over 20 years of volunteer experience with children. In her free time, Kara enjoys working out, spending time with her three kids, and date nights with her hubby, Chad.

    
Email: kara@thejourneynova.org



  • jami bahmer, office manager

    Jami oversees the day-to-day management of our office, provides administrative support to Journey Kids, and leads our Guest Services teams. Jami is a former high school teacher with a BA degree in anthropology and a Master of Teaching degree in secondary social studies. Jami was born and raised in northern Illinois, but being a military spouse, has lived in many parts of the US. Her ministry experience includes being a Young Life leader throughout college and providing administrative support to a church camp. Jami lives in Springfield with her husband and two children.
    Email: office@thejourneynova.org




  • Elissa McGhee, Business Manager

    Elissa oversees the business operations and many financial aspects of the church. Elissa also has a heart for teenagers and is one of the leaders with Journey Teens. She grew up in Wisconsin and has a background in politics. She and her husband, Ryan, have lived in this area since 2010. They live in Kingstowne with their daughters, Sadie and Leila. 

    Email: elissa@thejourneynova.org






  • Kathleen Ambroso, Outreach DIRECTOR

    Kathleen coordinates our Outreach ministry. She oversees our local and global partnerships. She is also the director of our Summer Lunch Bunch program, handing out over 5,000 lunches to under resourced children in our community every summer. Kathleen previously was a social worker in DC and a foster parent through Alexandria. Kathleen and her husband, Mike, live in Alexandria with their children, James and Leah. They also have an adopted daughter, Colleen, who lives with her husband in Maryland. 

    Email: outreach@thejourneynova.org