In a word, to be an elder at Christ Presbyterian Church means to be a “Shepherd.” The elders at Christ Presbyterian are guys who truly love Christ and Christ’s people. They are teachers, leaders, and equippers of the church. If you’re looking for a church where the pastor does all the work, Christ Presbyterian is probably not the church for you. The elders are the first line which demonstrates Christ’s command for all of us to be ministers. They are peers with the pastor, making decisions together, leading together, pastoring together. Member families and individuals at Christ Presbyterian are assigned an elder/shepherd who keeps in regular contact. Our elders are a resource for you - to ask questions, to lend a listening ear, to offer advice when sought. It gives all of us at Christ Presbyterian a rich reservoir of people to call upon and depend on. The Ruling Elders of this church are chosen from qualified male members of the church, elected by the congregation, and ordained and installed by the Session.
Rev. Jon Nielson, Teaching Elder and Moderator
Pastor Jon accepted the call to be Spring Valley's (now Christ Presbyterian) Senior Pastor in 2017. Pastor Jon earned a BA in English literature at Wheaton College in 2005 and received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in 2010. He received his Doctor of Ministry from TEDS in 2017. He was ordained in the PCA (Chicago Metro Presbytery) in 2010. Jon and his wife, Jeanne, both grew up in the Chicago suburbs with Jon’s parents still living in Wheaton, and Jeanne’s parents still living in Arlington Heights.
From 2015 to 2017, Pastor Jon was the student ministry director at Princeton University for Christian Union. Before that, he was high school and college pastor at College Church in Wheaton for six years. From 2005 to 2009,he trained and served at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, where he assisted Pastor Oscar Leiva in planting a congregation on Chicago’s West side.
Jon is married to Jeanne, and they have four daughters: Adelyn, Averie, Emilie, and Lucy.
Kent Cochrum, Ruling Elder
Kent has been a member of Spring Valley (now Christ Presbyterian) since 2017 and an elder since 2019. He and his wife Cindy were drawn to CPC because of the strong biblical teaching and the deep relationships among the community of believers here.
Kent has lived in the Chicago area since moving from Austin, TX to attend college in the 1980's. He received a bachelors degree in music from Wheaton College and masters degree in music from Northwestern University.
As an elder, Kent enjoys studying God's Word with others. He serves on the music team, helps co-lead a community group, and occasionally teaches in the Adult Sunday school class.
"One of my greatest joys is joining with God's people as we serve the Lord, are transformed by His Word, and raise our voices together in response to His goodness."
Kent is married to Cindy and they have four adult children and three daughters-in-law. He works as a sales manager and residential mortgage originator at CIBM Bank in Wheaton, IL. When he's not working, Kent enjoys traveling, hiking with Cindy, and finding unique coffee shops.
Pablo Herrera, Ruling Elder
Pablo has been a member of Spring Valley (now Christ Presbyterian) since 2007 and an elder since 2009. When he came to an understanding of the Reformed Faith, he searched for a church that shared those beliefs and found CPC on the internet. He and his wife Angela stayed at CPC because of the sense of community and emphasis on expository preaching.
Pablo is from River Grove (a Chicago suburb). He and Angela were married in 2006, and have three children, Isabel, Stephen, and Olivia. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Trinity International University in 2007, and was licensed to preach in July of 2017 by the Chicago Metro Presbytery. He is currently pursing his Master’s degree through Reformed Theological Seminary. In his free time, Pablo enjoys weight training, martial arts, reading all sorts of genres, listening to good old thrash metal, movies, apologetics, and spending time with his wife and kids. He also loves food and cooking, especially Mexican food, pizza, and steak.
“As an elder it is my role to shepherd the flock. I do this by being in constant communication with those whom I have oversight and in discipleship. I regularly pray for the flock of God and make myself available to the needs of the people. I also love the opportunities to preach.”
Matt Roberts, Ruling Elder
Matt has been a member of Spring Valley (now Christ Presbyterian) since 2018. He and his wife Jodee were drawn to CPC due to the church being part of the PCA, the strong Biblical teaching and warm community of believers. Matt recently became an elder in 2021.
Matt and his family are transplants and relocated to the Chicago area from eastern PA (go Eagles!) in 2010. He received a bachelor's degree in Economics from Lafayette College and an MBA from Lehigh University.
Matt & Jodee have one son-inlaw, Caleb, three adult children (Rachel, Isaac, Elise) and an energetic middle schooler, Maddie.
"Jodee and I have been blessed by so many families at CPC. We have enjoyed serving in (Voyagers) youth ministry and hosting Community Group."
In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time with Jodee, reading, apologetics, most things outdoors, (hiking, biking) playing basketball, reading, coffee, and good New York style pizza. (Feel free to ask where to find the best NY Pizza in the Chicago suburbs!)
Gary Templin, Ruling Elder
Gary originally discovered Spring Valley Presbyterian (now Christ Presbyterian) via the PCA online Church Directory. He first visited CPC in 2007 and joined as an active member in 2008. He says that he fell in love with the church’s commitment to the Gospel, Biblical Understanding and Truth.
Gary is a graduate of Washington (DC) Bible College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Master's of Divinity. He has diverse ministry experiences, including Instructor in Communications and Doctrine at The Korean American Educational College in Chicago, Grief Share Program Leader, and currently Mentor with The C. S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program in Chicago.
His Elder Role responsibilities include: Oversight of Small Group Bible Study and Children’s Christian Education.
“True, effective and enduring discipleship making is all about relational investment around God’s Word in the spirit of accountability, which ultimately must begin with our own daily personal relationship with the Triune God.”
Gary is a lifetime resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is the “ultimate” Cubs fan, having attended least one game a year at Wrigley Field since 1965. He is founder and operator of Windy City Hitman Entertainment since 1989.
Kevin Todd, Ruling Elder and Clerk
Kevin came to Spring Valley (now Christ Presbyterian) in the summer of 2017 with his wife Brenda, and they soon both joined as members, as did their daughter, Grace. He became an elder in early 2019. Kevin is a transplant from Minnesota (which has "real winter") and married Brenda, a Wheaton native, 30+ years ago. They have three adult daughters (Jessie, Blythe, and Grace) of whom they are reasonably (and justifiably) proud. Kevin is a partner in the Chicago law firm of Hoogendoorn & Talbot.