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.


  • Daniel Roach 

    Associate Pastor

    After being called to ministry at a young age, Daniel attended Manhattan Christian College in KS and spent the next ten years working in youth ministry. The majority of that time was in an Asian-American church in Southern California. He and his wife, Cassidy, served as missionaries in France for the Evangelical Covenant Church for two years where they supported ministry to artists in the city and led groups for Hillsong Paris. In 2014, while living in Oklahoma City, Daniel began working on a Master of Divinity and Master of Nonprofit Administration degrees from North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. During seminary Daniel worked for Apple and after graduation moved to Alexandria for the opening of Apple’s newest flagship store at Carnegie Library in DC. Cassidy serves as the Executive Director for Youth for Christ in the DMV. They love baseball and getting their kids, Cohen, Leighton, and Blythe, in nature while camping in their 1969 vintage Airstream. 

  • 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.


  • Kara Simpkins 

    Journey Kids 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.


  • 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 three kids, Sadie, Leila and Jack.


  • Robyn Ross 

    operations Director

    Robyn oversees the day-to-day management of our office and provides administration and operations support to the various ministry teams. She served in the Air Force for 11 years, which brought her to the DC area in 2018. Robyn has a BA degree in Political Science and MA degree in Intelligence Studies. Robyn transitioned from Active Duty to the Reserves, which allowed her to join the Journey Staff team after volunteering in Journey Kids for a few years. Robyn loves Harry Potter, her two lab/mix dogs, and hopes to do a triathlon someday. She and her husband live in Kingstowne with their son, Levi.

  • Elissa McGhee 

    JOURNEY TEENS ADMIN

    Elissa oversees the administrative responsibilities of Journey Teens and previously served as our Business Manager. 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, and son, Jack. 


  • Kathleen Ambroso 

    Outreach Director

    Kathleen coordinates our Outreach ministry. She oversees our local and global partnerships. She the director of our Summer Lunch Bunch program, handing out over 5,000 lunches to under resourced children in our community every summer. She is also the director of our non-profit, Love Nova, which is dedicated to facilitating ways for us to provide assistance to our neighbors in need in our local community. 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.

  • Jerusha bookhamer 

    next steps coordinator

    Jerusha is the Next Steps Coordinator, ensuring that first-time visitors and volunteers find a home with The Journey. She was born and raised in Washington State but has moved her family all over the world because of her husband’s military career. She and her family have attended The Journey since 2018 and was a volunteer of the guest services team until becoming a staff member. She is learning Italian and is always willing to tackle a creative project of any kind. Jerusha loves traveling with her husband and son.


  • SAMANTHA DEJESUS 

    SOCIAL WORKER

    Sam was born and raised in Washington State. She relocated to New York with her husband, Rich, and 2 girls, Lyla and Mia. During her 3 years in NY, she volunteered in the church helping the homeless and providing social services. She moved to VA a year and a half ago and recently graduated with her Masters in Social Work. Samantha works on the military installation as a Facility Director of a child development center and has volunteered for the church for about a year. Sam enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors on the deck with a fire, walking her dog and movie nights.