Ken relocated to Sarasota in 2011 to serve as Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church. Ken and Amy have two sons and a daughter: Noel, Ben and Molly. Ken enjoys gardening, exercise and discipling men thirsty for spiritual growth. Amy loves to read, play the violin, meet with people over good coffee (Starbucks), and manage the home front.
Steve is the Executive Pastor of Covenant Life Church where he oversees the development and implementation of the church's strategy to connect people to Christ, one another and to service. He has a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University where he wrote his dissertation on the commitment and satisfaction of volunteers in Christian ministry. His current projects include researching the strategic management of churches and the use of the Biblical offices of prophet, priest and king as a way to understand leadership in organizations today. Steve married the love of his life, Kim, in 2004 and they have four children, Jeremiah, Charis, Rachel, and Micah.
Scott Mawhinney - Pastor of Discipleship and Mission
Scott attended Dordt College from 1990-1994. After three years of teaching at Westminster Christian School, he spent three years as Middle School Director of Student Ministries at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church in Miami. After marrying Janna Levi, Scott completed his studies at Reformed Seminary in Orlando (2004). He and Janna have two beautiful boys, Michael and Levi and two adorable daughters, Gracie and Hope. He's been on staff here since July, 2006. Scott enjoys long walks on the beach, watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, and most importantly, being married to Janna and being a father to his precious children.
Bob and his wife, Juanita, have four children and four grandchildren. They presently care for Bob’s mom, Peggy, and live in Sarasota. Bob came to know Christ as His Savior while a senior in high school and was discipled while a student at Florida State University by Campus Crusade for Christ. He and Juanita, a registered nurse, where newlyweds when Bob furthered his studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio. The Dillards have enjoyed many ministry experiences including: missionary service in Colombia, South America and church planting in Louisiana, pastoral roles in Florida, Ohio and Maryland, as well as serving with D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian. Bob’s most recent ministry was as senior pastor of Inverness Presbyterian Church, Baltimore from 2003-2016 and then as Assistant at Providence Christian Church (PCA) Cape Coral, FL in 2017. Bob’s passion has been for preaching and teaching the gospel and he has experienced great joy in visitation, evangelism, and missions. Juanita is a retired RN and has a heart for women and children. She has taught and directed ministry for both in the local church and presbytery.
Chris Knaebel - Assistant Pastor & Church Planting Apprentice
Chris grew up in Maryland and moved to Sarasota in 2015. He has served churches in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida in a variety of roles before coming to Covenant Life. He holds degrees from Moody Bible Institute and Westminster Theological Seminary. Chris and his lovely wife Rebecca were married in 2006 and are blessed with two precious children: Elliot and Karis. The Knaebels enjoy savoring good coffee and music, doing life together where they live, work, and play, and connecting with those around them.
Amanda joined the Covenant Life Staff in February of 2017 as the Girls Discipleship Coordinator. Amanda worked as a Paramedical Esthetician till God called her into Youth Ministry in 2012 with Suncoast Youth For Christ. During that time Amanda developed and ran Bible clubs on Elementary and Middle School campuses (Kids Live & Girl Talk). Amanda enjoys working with youth of all ages, but has a special place in her heart for students in their Middle and High School years. Amanda and her husband Josh have two boys, Jahven and Jove. Amanda enjoys going to the beach, beading, restoring furniture, and spending time with family and friends.
Beth grew up in Illinois and moved to Sarasota to join our staff in 2007 to oversee our Women's Ministry! Nothing brings Beth greater joy then connecting women together, seeing God's Word transform women's lives, discipling women, and leading small groups! Before she began full-time ministry at Covenant Life, she worked in the corporate world for seven years. She has a Bachelor's degree in Speech Communications and a Masters degree in Educational Ministries from Wheaton College. In her free time, Beth loves spending time with her husband, Maurice Overholt (who oversees Worship Ministries), her two step-sons, and Jasmine Isabella (her adorable dog). She loves playing sports, listening to music, spending quality time with friends, reading and watching movies!
Blythe joined the staff of Covenant Life in August of 2014. She graduated from Berry College with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology and has an M.A. in Theological Studies and an M.A. in Educational Ministries from Covenant Theological Seminary. Blythe has worked full-time in various ministry capacities throughout her career including: serving as a missionary in Bulgaria for 3 years, working in Youth Ministry, Church Admistration, Women's Ministry and Children's Ministry. She is married to Jared and they have 2 daughters, Annie and Eden. Blythe is passionate about discipling the next generation to know, love, and live God's Word.
Maurice has served as the Director of Worship Ministries since October 2012, and is passionate about encouraging artists of all kinds to use their creative gifts in worship leadership. Maurice says it this way: "God’s image is reflected in each of us through the creative gifts he has given us, and church should be a safe place where artists can share those creative gifts in worship.” Maurice grew up in a pastor’s home and has been involved in worship leadership since his early teens. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Florida and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music, Maurice served in Worship Ministry leadership for over 10 years in Rochester, NY, before moving to Florida. Maurice loves spending time with his wife, Beth, who is also on staff at Covenant Life as the Director of Women’s Ministries, and his two boys, Isaac and Timothy. He also enjoys reading, writing, composing, and watching movies.
Amy was born and raised in Maryland and spent five years in England as a teenager. She attended James Madison University, where she played soccer and became involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. That led to a desire to do ministry. She received a Master's Degree in Christian Education from Wesley Theological Seminary and worked as a Director of Children and Youth Ministries at her home church in Maryland before moving to Florida in 2004. She has three grown children, Shannon (married in PA), Ty and Sara, and a granddaughter, Makayla.
Ed was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, graduating from Southeast Missouri State University. He worked in various aspects of Real Estate throughout his career. When Christ came into his life as a young man, Ed became deeply involved in Ministering in the Church as an Elder here at Covenant Life. He and his wife, Betty, have taught many Sunday school classes, and have held small Bible studies in their home for about 40 years.
Since retiring Ed has been involved in Missions, mostly with a missionary, Anchor Your Life, in South Africa. After his first trip to Africa, he gained a heart and soul for the lost and the least.
The Lord laid on his heart a few years ago a compassion and a love for our precious Senior Citizens. So he became the Senior Care Coordinator at Covenant Life in 2015, where he and his team visit people in assisted living homes, their own homes, and in hospitals when needed.
Ed loves to read, ride his bicycle, do leather work, dote on his 2 beautiful daughters, Cathy and Julie, and his five awesome grandchildren, and spend time with Betty, his amazing “bride” of 55 years.
Eric came on staff at Covenant Life in April of 2017 as the Director of Worship Technology. He graduated from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 2009 and has since worked as a freelance media designer, Media Director for LifePoint Church in Oviedo,FL, and as a producer at the University of Central Florida. Eric’s goal is to create an environment that facilitates the worship of God by his people. Eric likes to use a definition he was taught in high school for Godly worship: “Worship is focusing your mind's attention and your heart's affection on God.”
In 2002, Eric married his high school sweetheart Vicki. They are the proud parents of three beautiful and awesome children, Hannah, Eli, and Talia. Since moving to Sarasota they have found lots of time to spend together doing activities like kayaking, digging around at the beach, and just hanging out at the pool.
Lisa Carlson - Children's Ministry Assistant/Nursery Director
Lisa was born and raised in Rockland County, NY and moved to Florida in 1987. She graduated from Palm Beach Community College in 1992, and later studied criminal justice at Florida Atlantic University. She volunteered in children's ministries for many years as a Kindergarten Sunday School teacher, and then as a 2nd/3rd grade discipleship teacher at Covenant Life before joining the staff in October 2015. Lisa enjoys reading, watching action movies, and spending time with her husband Kevin and son Luke.
Nancy Wadlinger grew up in the Bronx and moved to Florida in 1995 and worked for Globe Communications, now American Media Inc. She was the Photo Editor for Mira! magazine, the Spanish tabloid of The Star magazine. She has been working at Covenant Life Church since 2006. Nancy and Steve met here at the church and were married in December 12, 2015. Between them, they have 3 children: Brianna, Steve's daughter, and Nancy's children Tyler and Serah.
Rocky Shiffner - Little Explorers Preschool Director
Rocky was raised in Northern Indiana and frequently vacationed in Sarasota with her family. After graduating from Purdue University with a BS in Environmental Health, she moved to sunny Sarasota. For many years, she worked in the Blood Bank Laboratory and then enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom. Later, she joined the Covenant Life Staff by working in the Children’s Ministry and as a VPK teacher at Little Explorers for 7 years before becoming our Director. Rocky enjoys crafting and spending time with her 2 daughters, Jessica and Hannah.