Learn a little bit about our leaders
The leaders at New City are passionate about intersecting the message of Christ with the people of Phoenix, using their time and talent in meaningful ways as they go about life beyond the church. From college professor to professional drummer, and mountain tamer to foster parent—our team believes in serving Jesus in all of life.
Brian Kruckenberg / Lead Pastor
Brian and Gina have been married for 15 years and have the privilege of raising three amazing kids: Faith, Elijah and Isabella. Valley residents since 2005, they love living in the heart of urban Phoenix. Brian can often be found at one of many great restaurants or coffee houses in downtown Phoenix. Brian has a passion to lead and teach the Scriptures well and has a heart to lead a church that intersects with the culture around it. A few of Brian’s favorite things: his wife (of course), his kiddos (duh), urban life, sports (all kinds) and espresso.
Before his life as a pastor, Brian graduated from law school in 1999 and worked for Stinson Morrison Hecker, LLP in Kansas City as an e-Commerce Attorney. Later he worked as Corporate Counsel for Sprint Corporation before leaving the full-time practice of law for the role of Family Pastor at his local church in Kansas City. Since making a career transition in 2004, Brian has earned a Doctorate in Ministry (D.Min.) from Bethel Seminary. Brian also holds bachelor and master’s degrees in Communication and teaches as an adjunct Professor at Phoenix College.
Chris Townley / Associate Pastor
Chris lives to communicate the love of Jesus in an engaging, authentic, and accessible way. His heart is for people of all ages see that following Him is rarely easy, but always worth it. Chris’s mission is to help students develop a way of life where they are transformed by Jesus and continue to engage the culture around them. Every now and then, you might even find Chris preaching and teaching around New City—he has a real penchant for bringing the stories of Scripture to life.
Chris grew up in the small university town of Bozeman, Montana where he met his best friend, Kate, who would later become his wife. From there, he went on to play college basketball, earn his degree in Elementary Education, and later his Master’s in Ministry Leadership. Before joining the team at New City, he served as a student ministries pastor and basketball coach for seven years. Outside of New City, you’ll find Chris and Kate exploring the mountains with their two dogs, perusing local coffee shops, or cruising the streets of Downtown Phoenix (wearing helmets, of course).
Tim Rahman / Director of Arts
Tim believes that our human capacity for art and creativity are God-given. Because of this, his mission is to reconcile the church with the arts community. Tim’s role is to help the artistic community of Phoenix flourish— whether that’s by curating the New City Studio gallery, building strategic partnerships with local non-profits, developing the artistic community of the church, or just encouraging artists to pursue excellence in their craft more than ever before.
As professional musician in Phoenix for nearly 15 years, music has played a big part in shaping who Tim is today. In fact, it was a mutual interest in music that brought him and his lovely wife of 9 years, Kristin, together. These days Tim and Kristin are busy raising their two awesome sons, staying active, and living life together around the urban core of Phoenix.
JJ Spreitzer / Director of Family Ministry
JJ wants to see the next generation choose Jesus everyday and experience the abundant life He came to give. She is originally from Kansas City, but has lived in Phoenix since 2001. Before joining the New City family, JJ worked in Children’s Ministry for 10 years at a large church in the Phoenix North Valley area. Prior to ministry she was an On-Air Personality for KMXV-Kansas City. She and her husband, Jeremy, have a little boy named Jackson.
Top 4 things to know about JJ: in 5th Grade she competed in the Math Olympiad (No medal but Got a Top 10 Patch!), she would like to visit all 4 M& M World stores in the same year, her favorite TV channels: ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, one day she’ll name a child ESPN (no, really)!
Mike Bhatti / Director of Connection
Mike’s heart is to introduce people to the greatest love of all—the Lord Jesus Christ—and to see them flourish in every aspect of life. His role at New City is to organize and support our volunteers, and help people mobilize in their faith. He believes that by creating a family of volunteerism at New City, people become a part of our church, and ultimately our community as a whole, in a much deeper way.
Mike is is married to the love of his life, Jessica. And the two of them are proud to call Tempe their home. Besides all that, he earned his B.S. in Christian Ministry with an influence in Counseling from Arizona Christian University and Moody Bible Institute. Mike has served the community of Phoenix for many years, working to provide for inner-city youth and the homeless. As well as his work as director of operations at PHOENIX/ONE, where he helped young professionals get plugged into churches all over the valley.
Nate Benner / Associate Pastor
Nate hopes to see the church be transformed by the message of Jesus in such a way that the city is impacted. He wants everyone to feel connected with the love of God and to the church. He earned a religious education degree in New York, and then went on to get his Master of Divinity here in Phoenix.
Nate has been married to his wife, Alyssa, for six years, and they call Midtown Phoenix home. They have a beagle who is afraid of everything. As semi-thrill seekers, they love to stay active and go mountain biking all over the state together. Nate played college soccer and he is a die-hard fan of the Cardinals, Suns, and D’backs. He pays (too much) attention to downtown development and the urban revitalization of Phoenix. At any time of the year, iced coffee is his drink of choice. It may or may not be an addiction.
Daireth Klein / Church Administrator
Daireth has a knack for helping everything run as smoothly as possible—she can manage schedules and coordinate events in her sleep. Her mission is to use the natural gifts God has given her to provide administrative support to the staff so that they can focus their time and energy on serving our community and bringing the message of Jesus to the places that we live, work, study, and play.
Daireth has been happily married to Matt for nearly a decade. Together, they have 4 daughters—Katy, Maddy, Irelynn, and Tatum—and are currently fostering a precious 1 year old little girl. If you want to strike up a conversation with Daireth, college football and basketball are sure-fire topics to get her going. Especially anything related to the OSU Cowboys, as they will always hold a special place in her heart.
Jina Olbinski / Executive Assistant
Jina is passionate about serving the church and her community through administrative support, authentic relationships, and plenty of good-natured laughter. She is the proud wife of a talented photographer, Mike, and a happily exhausted mom of three adorably active kids, Lyla, Eli, and Asher. These four, as well as her strong love for God, define her day-to-day life.
Jina serves the church by managing the little details that others often overlook, and making sure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. She is a lover of words, coffee, friendship, and good television. (Okay, and maybe a little sub-par TV, too).
Oye Waddell / South Phoenix Ministries
Oye’s passion is to see people develop into what God has called them to be and to witness the Gospel impact every aspect of life. He and his lovely wife, Crys, have been married for 11 years and have a spirited family of four children: Chariot, Clover, Crescent, and Oye Jr. (affectionately known as O2).
Oye grew up in Los Angeles and has used his inner-city experience to develop a long track record in urban ministry, education, and entrepreneurship. He attended the University of Washington on full athletic scholarship in football, and completed two master’s degrees, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Education from Arizona State University. Oye serves as Executive Director of a ministry designed to mentor and grow budding entrepreneurs, Hustle PHX, which he founded in January 2013.