James grew up in the Apostolic Church hearing about Jesus his whole life. As a church boy he knew all the right things to say, but that almost never translated into doing the right things. As a teenager at a church camp in Pennsylvania he would hear a word that would forever change his life; grace. From that moment on James has lived a life in love with God who saved him because of his great grace. James and his wife Julia live in Akron with their beautiful daughter Jada, and seek to live out the gospel in tangible ways in their neighborhood. James studied Youth and Education Ministries at Malone University and Theological Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Zac Kohl moved to Akron as a 5 year old and has never left. Growing up at a church on the east side, his heart began to break for the brokenness he saw every week; systemic injustice, kids without fathers, racism, and the list could go on. Since 2008 God has been structuring Zac’s life around the Middlebury neighborhood and the individuals who make up the community. God has given Zac a heart to see thriving communities with flourishing Individuals all over the city of Akron. Jeremiah 29:7 tells God’s people to, “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” He gets excited about Citizens Akron because he believes that local expressions of the Church is God’s “Plan A” as He redeems our world.
Zac graduated from the University of Akron with a BA in Marketing Management and is finishing his MA in Biblical Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Zac and his wife, Beth, along with their two boys Parker and Beckett, live in the Middlebury neighborhood.
Leah Cross was born and grew up in the Akron area and received her Bachelor of Arts in Youth/Educational Ministries from Malone University in Canton, Ohio in 2013. After graduation, God called her to relocate to Youngstown, Ohio where she lived for nearly four years serving in various pastoral roles at two different churches and an after-school ministry, working primarily in the areas of student ministry and discipleship ministry. She is currently earning her Master of Divinity at Ashland Theological Seminary. Leah’s philosophy of ministry makes her passionate to help people discover Jesus’ love and understand the way God has uniquely created them to take part in His ongoing narrative by pointing others to the truth of the gospel.
Leah is thrilled to have returned to her hometown as a part of Citizens Akron, and desires to see the city flooded with the hope of Jesus. On this journey with her is Leah’s family: her husband Nathaniel, their daughter Felicity, and their son Wesley. Both Leah and Nate look forward to all that God will continue to do in Akron, all for His glory.
Skyler Roberson grew up in a single-parent home in Massillon, OH, where he was first introduced to the church. It wasn’t until he was 17 that the Lord revealed to him His dream for Skyler’s life. He hasn’t looked back since.
Skyler loves his city (and Northeast Ohio) & seeks to see peoples’ hearts fixed on the beauty of Jesus. He hopes to show love and acceptance to all who feel the antithesis.
Skyler graduated from NewPointe Institute with a diploma in Biblical Studies.
Celebration Arts/Communications Pastor
Steve Yackey was born and raised in Akron, OH and graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance. Prior to Citizens Akron, he served on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for four years as a multiethnic undergraduate chapter planter and an arts chapter planter at the University of Cincinnati. One of his largest passions is to equip people to live out the mission of the gospel in their current context – especially in the arts world.
Since moving back to Akron with his wife Angelina, he has been pursuing God’s call to multiethnic ministry in Akron, and is passionate about equipping worship leaders/musicians to utilize multiethnic worship to welcome diverse people groups, while standing in solidarity and mutuality.
Ron Kent was born and raised in Cleveland, and has served in churches, non-profits, and para-church ministries of all demographics across NEO for the past 10 years. Immediately prior to moving to Akron with his wife (Ariel Kent) and son (Ronnie the 3rd), Ron and Ariel served at a ministry in Cleveland, OH called Lighthouse, Inc. Currently Ron holds his full-time job as the Ministry Director for South Akron Youth Mentorship, and is on staff with Citizens Akron as the Pastor of Youth Development, serving and equipping our church’s devoted youth workers throughout the Akron community. It is his life’s work to worship God and love man in all the ways Jesus has designed for us.