Vale Leadership Team

Our leadership team is comprised of elders and deacons. Their main function is primarily discerners and guardians of the organization. They are not expected to oversee specific projects or ministry areas in their capacity as board members. They function as overseers for the entire organization.

The board members evaluate the effectiveness and direction of the organization according to three criteria: 

1. The organization’s mission: To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. 
2. The organization’s resources. 
3. The organization’s doctrine.


Todd Berna, Leadership Team

Todd, and his wife of ten years, Susanna, have partnered with Vale Church since the summer of 2014. Serving and leading in church plays a major role in the Berna family. Todd met Susanna when she attended the singles small group he was leading in Dallas, Texas, and small groups have remained a priority for them since. 

In 2010, Todd transitioned from a marketing to a parenting professional, and is proud to be the full-time dad to Katy and Kenny. In his free time, and in his daydreams, Todd enjoys working out, riding motorcycles and surfing. 

Email Todd -

Richard Carter, Leadership Team

Richard started attending Vale Church in 1998 and was baptized just a year later. He then moved to Kentucky for a period of 14 years before moving back to Illinois and returned to Vale. Since then he has been involved with the Safety Team for almost two years and also serves every Tuesday morning with Vale's work crew. They do maintenance jobs around the church that keep Vale moving forward.

Richard is currently retired from the business world and enjoys the time he spends at Vale with staff and other volunteers.

"I believe that God is in control of my life and he has proven this to me so many times. I know He has moved me back to Vale to experience this growth and to be part of it. Being on the Leadership Team is a big responsibility that only God can guide me through."

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Paul Frizel, Leadership Team

Paul has attended Vale Church since 2011, and from his first visit has felt welcome and at home. He, with his best friend and wife Mackenzie, quickly got involved in small groups. Not knowing about them before, Paul saw the value and need for that intimate community to grow closer to God and each other. After attending their first small group for a few months, God placed him in leadership of the group, and has been leading small groups since. 

"I am excited to continue this journey that God has lead me on with the Leadership Team. I am also excited to see what God has in store for Vale church!"

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Jeff Gonzalez, Executive Pastor

Jeff has been in ministry for over 15 years. He is a pastor, teacher, coach, motivator, networker, and counselor; Jeff’s passion is helping people reach and exceed their potential, through a ministry of building and empowering an army to impact the kingdom.

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Stephen Hill, Leadership Team

Stephen and his wife Sarah started attending Vale Church in August of 2013, shortly after moving back to Bloomington. They were initially attracted to the church by the way Pastor Ted preached and taught the gospel each week. As they have become more involved in the church they have fallen in love with the mission and vision of the church. Stephen is also active on Sunday mornings volunteering at the Information Center while his wife serves with Vale Kids. Stephen also has a heart for missions and has served on the Missions Team since January 2015. They are both active in their small group as well!

Stephen is a Bloomington/Normal native. He keeps busy outside of church as a family physician at Bloomington Primary Care. He and his wife have two wonderful daughters Elizabeth and Hannah. Sarah is expecting their third child in June of 2016.

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Eric Hughes, Leadership Team

Eric joined Vale’s Leadership Team in January 2014. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Eastern Illinois University in 2001. Eric has toured North America as a professional trombonist and appeared on several recordings as a singer and keyboardist. Eric also owned a music instruction company and taught  5th-12th grade students music in Chicago, IL. He currently works as a Supervisor for State Farm. 

Eric is passionate about leadership and is excited to be serving at Vale. He is married to Sarah, who has a huge heart for God and also serves at Vale. Eric and Sarah have a daughter, Ava Madelyn, who likes singing and asking lots of questions.

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Rich Kiefer, Leadership Team

Rich and his wife, PK, found Vale in 2008 after moving from Massachusetts to be closer to grandchildren. They believe God moved them to Illinois to join a church where God could move and they could follow. Rich has been involved in Vale Groups since arriving, served for five years on the Leadership Team and is now focused on our ValeCare Network and building our prayer power.

Rich and PK have been married for 38 years and have kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids scattered far and wide.

“I’m humbled and feel privileged to serve Vale as a member of the Leadership Team.  What an awesome time to be part of God’s plan for Vale and our community.”

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Paul Krogmeier, Leadership Team

Paul has been attending Vale since 2006. In this time, he has served with Vale Students, production team, baptism team, and in Vale Group leadership. In 2013, Paul joined Vale's Leadership Team and feels blessed to be driving the vision of such a mighty church with such an amazing group of people. His favorite part about Vale Church is the welcoming environment it provides while still unapologetically proclaiming the truth of God's word and how to live it out in real life.

Paul has been married to his wonderful wife Kristen since 2009 and has two awesome and crazy boys: Case and Axel. He is a high school English teacher, so he enjoys reading and overanalyzing things. He also loves to spend his free time watching movies and being outdoors.

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Ted Max, Lead Pastor

Pastor Ted joined the staff of Vale in November 2006. As an equal member of the Leadership Team; Pastor Ted brings a unique perspective to our team. He is the bridge between the staff and the lay leadership team here at Vale. Pastor Ted has been serving as part of the Leadership Team since January 2011.

"I am blessed to serve on a team of such passionate individuals that are striving and believing for this to be the greatest season in the history of our church."

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Jim Rumps, Leadership Team

Jim has been attending Vale since 2005. Jim has helped with high school and junior high ministry as well as serving on the parking lot ministry since 2012. He is also a member of the Vale men’s group and a Sunday afternoon small group. Jim is married to Kellie, whom he describes as amazingly beautiful and patient. His two sons, Zachary and Drake, are active in the children’s services.
Jim works at Normal Community West High School as an English teacher and works for Beachbody on a part-time basis.

His favorite Bible verses are Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:31-39.
Email Jim -

Bryan Sheppard, Leadership Team

Bryan has been attending Vale since 2005. In this time Bryan has served five years on the Leadership Team, two years on the Human Resources Team, held a leadership position in both Children’s and Junior High Ministry, and now spends Sunday mornings telling Bible stories to the awesome kids of Vale for Early Childhood. 

Bryan currently works as a Manager at State Farm. He and his amazing wife Christine have been married since 2005 and he has been fortunate to serve God along side her while at Vale. They have been blessed with two great kids, Colton and Eliana.  

“It is extremely humbling to have been called to serve on the Leadership Team of Vale for a second time. I look forward to working along side the staff and the other leaders of Vale to help follow the path that God had laid out for us”  

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Jason Sunkel, Leadership Team

Jason and his wife, Carolyn, have attended Vale since November 2004. Over the years they have spent at Vale Jason has become more involved in ministry and currently serves on the safety team, leads a Vale Group, and serves in children’s ministry, alongside his wife, and enjoys seeing the kids’ excitement as they learn about Jesus. He has seen many changes over the time he has partnered with Vale and is excited to see what is next in Vale’s future, as well as very humbled to be a part of the Leadership Team.

Jason and his wonderful wife Carolyn have been married since 2003 and have two children, Joshua and Kaitlyn. Outside of church, Jason owns a plumbing service company and in his spare time enjoys martial arts, reading, and playing guitar.

Email Jason -