Senior Pastor

Gene Appel

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Five ways to describe Gene:
Gifted communicator. Committed to Christ. Devoted to the Church. Lover of God’s Word. Passionate about reaching people for Christ.

What he’s good at:
A unique speaking style that combines Bible teaching, personal experience, provocative insight, and a lively sense of humor. It creates an informal setting where people of any age or ethnicity can figure out what’s next on their spiritual journey.


Where we found him:

He found us, as a 20-year-old college student who came from Illinois to serve as an intern at Eastside. Gene returned to Eastside as Senior Pastor in 2008, with a heart for Eastside to have an impact for Jesus in our local community and around the world. While Eastside started in a Fullerton living room 50 years ago, we’ve grown to a church of more than 4,000 people, families and kids meeting every weekend.

Other stuff he’s done along the way:
a. Co-authored the book How to Change Your Church Without Killing It.
b. Served as lead pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois.
c. Served for 18 years as senior pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, which grew from 450 to 8,000 in its weekly services.
d. Provided five years of award-winning commentary on the CBS television station in Chicago.

One other cool thing he does:
Shares what he’s learned, coaching pastors and church leaders around the world on leading through healthy change, so together we can all be even better at having an impact for Jesus in our local communities and around the world.

What he’s earned besides influence and respect:
His B.A. from Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois, and an honorary doctorate conferred by Hope International University in Fullerton, California.

His other passions:
His wife, Barbara, their daughters Alayna and Jenna, and son Jeremy. And fishing for Walleye on his favorite lake in Minnesota… in that order.

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