Staff & Leadership
Founder & Executive Pastor
Darren started West Ridge because he did not connect with mainstream churches. After walking away from his faith for several years, he knew the struggles that many people have with the church. His vision was to create a safe place for people to explore their faith at their own pace and know they would not be judged. West Ridge would become a place that is authentic and grace filled, which it has. Darren and his wife Shelby are both unpaid volunteers at West Ridge. When Darren is not serving, he is an owner in a Naperville based real estate development and investment firm.
Leadership Development Pastor
Greg and his wife Connie came to West Ridge in 2006 looking for a place to call their church home. Three years later, after serving and leading in various roles, the leadership team invited Greg to join the staff. Greg is one of our teaching pastors. He also helps people discover and develop their leadership potential as we live out our unique value of being a volunteer led church.
Michael Aukofer, Music & Center for the Arts Director
Michael came to work at West Ridge full-time in the summer of 2004. Michael oversees and works with our production teams (lighting, media, sound, music), our service programing and our Center for the Arts classes and teachers. Michael is trained and experienced as a musician, composer, arranger and teacher. He feels these past 12 years of work for West Ridge are just the beginning!
Katie Kovac, West Ridge Kids Early Childhood Coordinator
Katie is a former teacher and a mom to three kiddos. She has been married to her husband Jon for ten years and love being a part of West Ridge. She has always loved working with kids and love being a part of families growing in their relationships together and with God!
Jimena Plazola, West Ridge Kids Director & Finances
Jimena, her husband Rafael and their 5 children came to West Ridge in 2001 for the first time. Loved it and and got involved in the children’s ministry since 2005. Striving for spiritual growth and developing our children’s ministry’s volunteers is a meaningful and rewarding experience while serving our families.
Casandra Deliberto, West Ridge Kids Elementary Coordinator
Cassandra has attended West Ridge since the beginning. She loves watching children’s faith grow in West Ridge Kids and to witness that is amazing. She and her husband have been together for 10 years and they have two children which they are trying to keep up with.
Jared Hubbard, Student Ministry Director
Jared has served as Director of Youth Ministry since 2012; he has a passion for teaching students about Christ’s love in one of the most important times in their lives. Jared and his wife Jen have two kids and have been attending West Ridge since 2010. As Director of Youth Ministry, Jared works with 6th – 12th students.
Wally Marshall, Connection Pastor
Wally comes to West Ridge with over 30 years of Small group experience and a heart to connect people to authentic community. He and his wife Kaleen have a passion for building into leaders in the corporate, non-profit and church worlds. Wally and Kaleen have two grown sons and live in Algonquin.
West Ridge Leadership Team
Bob Bockus, IT
Looking for a more meaningful church experience, Bob and his wife Candy were involved in West Ridge right from the beginning. As one of the original members of the leadership team, Bob leads the group supporting the computing and networking environment. Bob loves that West Ridge provides volunteer opportunities to grow as individuals and as a church.
Lisa Wolenberg, Compassion Ministries
Lisa started to attend West Ridge in 2001 after moving to the Elgin area. Lisa has served in various capacities but her two favorite places to serve include West Ridge Kids and the Leadership Team responsible for our Compassion Ministries (Meals team, Prayer Team, Benevolence, Outreach, Cards Ministry, and PADS). Lisa, and her husband Matt, teenage daughter, Natalie and twin boys, Jacob and Joshua love West Ridge!
Danielle Zapchenk, Communications
Since 2007 Danielle, her husband Eric and their two littles have called West Ridge their home. She loves to be creative and allow graphics/ media to intertwine with different facets of West Ridge. Danielle oversees the Communications Team and has a passion for women’s ministry (Women of West Ridge) which she helps lead. She loves Caramel lattes, endless laughter and great analogies.
Craig Tower, Finance
Craig and his family first visited West Ridge in 2013, drawn by the music ministry and genuine approach to weekly messages. Craig’s career in finance led him to attend the Financial Peace University and involvement with the financial aspects of the Church. He joined the Leadership Team in 2014 where he works with the finance team in church financial oversight and the financial coaching ministry.
Jana Young, West Ridge Kids
Jana has been involved with West Ridge almost since its inception, and it has continued to be a consistent presence for over 15 years. West Ridge has always been instrumental in her growth and development. She also credits her family for their daily support, encouragement and inspiration. Her goal is to retire early enough to enjoy serving coffee at a diner, where she can continue the “many more conversations I need to have with people.”
Greg Bowman, Leadership Development
Darren Sloniger, Sunday Experience & Cafe