Our Ministry Leaders

It takes a lot of work to keep a ministry the size of Jesus Film Project running smoothly.
Here are the Jesus Film Project ministry leaders.

 

Erick Schenkel: Executive Director

Erick brings a range of experience to his role of executive director for Jesus Film®. Shortly after his graduation from Harvard College, Erick led a church-planting team that established a church and an elementary school in Massachusetts. While leading this church, Erick earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Harvard in the Study of Religion. During this time he and his wife, Elizabeth, developed a heart for unreached peoples.

After moving their family to Central Asia in 1996 to establish churches alongside Jesus Film teams, Erick also served as director of a non-profit organization specializing in education and development from 1999 until 2012. While in Central Asia, Erick started a Bible school and served as director of a movement of nationally-led churches. He then served for four years as strategy director for North Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia for Cru® and one year as Area Team Leader for Persian and Turkic countries. In 2012 Erick became the executive director of Jesus Film Project, succeeding Jim Green and founder Paul Eshleman.

Erick and Elizabeth, married for 42 years, have five grown children and three grandchildren. Erick enjoys running as a hobby.

Scott Pendleton: Chief of Staff

Scott is driven to see people from every ethnic and language group receive and follow Jesus. He played a central role in developing partnerships needed to increase the number of "JESUS" film versions from 300 to more than 1,500 languages today. He continues to fight to increase the ministry's effectiveness. Scott grew up on a farm in Kansas and attended Kansas State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in speech and theater education. He and his wife, Cindy, live in Orlando, FL, and have two sons—one serves with his wife as a missionary in East Asia, and the other works at Lockheed Martin in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Jacqueline Celum: Chief of Staff

Jacqueline, a staff member of Cru for 32 years, joined Jesus Film Project’s executive team after decades of ministry experience. She began in the campus ministry, which provided her strong basic ministry training. Over the years she spent time in seminary classes, started new ministries from scratch, lived and served in ministry overseas, led many short-term mission trips overseas—some to very closed countries—and helped launch the use of "Magdalena" in the United States.

Bill Wolfe: Global Partnership

A graduate of Michigan State University, Bill started his career in campus ministry in the US and in 1995 he took on leadership of Campus Crusade's global campus effort in international ministry. Enthusiastic about sharing the gospel with those who have not yet heard it in their own language, he desires to make the "JESUS" film accessible as far and wide and inexpensive as possible to all in the body of Christ. He and his wife of 42 years, Lana, have four sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandkids.

David Bradley: Director of Field Strategy

As the field director for Jesus Film Project, David leads a team who equips field ministries to strategically use the "JESUS" film and other resources for evangelism, discipleship and church planting. David grew up as a "missionary kid," and later earned a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and a master’s in Business Administration. Before joining Jesus Film Project in 1999, he worked for 11 years as a project manager for an access control company. David and his wife, Karen, have been married for 31 years and have four children.

Tom Meiner: Chief Operating Officer

Tom joined Jesus Film Project in 1997. Previously, he worked as a civilian engineer and project manager for the U.S. Navy. With Jesus Film Project, Tom served as the partnership coordinator for 14 years prior to taking the role of COO in 2010. He graduated from Michigan State University, class of ‘82, with a degree in Materials Engineering. He and his wife, Julie, have three grown children.

Matt Thiessen: Director of Development

God spoke to Matt at a Las Vegas Grateful Dead concert in 1993. Following that experience, Matt became a follower of Jesus, and his life was radically changed. He met his wife, Liz, at one of the Torchbearers Bible Schools in Austria and married her in 1995. They have two children, Levi and Lexi. Matt holds degrees from Colorado Christian University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He served in the campus ministry of Cru from 2000–2013 before taking on the role of director of development for Jesus Film Project in 2014. Matt desires to reach every person on earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has poured hours into the new case statement which will be used in all areas of Jesus Film Project to help change lives forever.

Kary Hagen: Director of Master Studio Department

Kary applied his background in digital electronics, engineering, and audio to Jesus Film Project when he started as an audio engineer in 1991. With a background in audio, motion picture technology, and video over the years—not to mention management and leadership since 1995—Kary began his current executive role in 2010. He worked as a postproduction supervisor on the movie "Magdalena" in 2006 and was heavily involved with the "JESUS" film restoration to HD. Kary married his wife, Maria, in 1987 and has three children.

Mike Peckham: Director of Film Production

Mike Peckham has served as the director of film production for Jesus Film Project since 2013. Prior to that Mike held various positions with Cru, leading media teams in Boston and Colorado before moving to Jesus Film Project in 2008 where he co-founded and led Broken Phonebooth Productions. He holds a B.S. in Film Production and was director of photography for the miniseries, "Rivka." Throughout his career, Mike has had films selected and screened at the Orlando Film Festival, San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, Gasparilla International Film Festival, and Central Florida Film Festival. Mike has been married 19 years to his wife, Cindy, and they have two boys, William and Harrison.

Josh Newell: Director of Marketing and Communications

Josh is passionate about communicating the love of Jesus. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Journalism and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Josh combines his passion and skills to amplify the message of Christ’s love across the globe. Josh began his career with Cru by producing new language versions of "JESUS," with his work taking him to 35 countries. He then moved from production work to distribution, helping to give leadership to 30 Cru Global Church Movements in the Middle East and North Africa. Along with his media-focused work, Josh helped initiate the leadership development program for Cru’s North Africa and Middle East ministries.

Gabe Handy: Director of Digital

Gabe has a passion for seeing how technology can open new doors for people to learn of Jesus' love for them. Before joining Jesus Film Project, Gabe earned his degree in Computer Science and worked for several years in the marketplace working with various technologies. Since then, he has helped modernize the ministry's digital technology offerings and continues to look for opportunities where technology can help accelerate the completion of the Great Commission. Gabe lives in Orlando with his wife Emily and their three children.

Brian Burchell: Director of Human Resources

Brian has served in various capacities with Cru since 1991 in campus ministry at the University of Southern California and Central Asia, in mission mobilization and leader development in Singapore, and in Jesus Film Project. He holds an M.A. in Intercultural Studies and is passionate about reaching the world’s unreached people groups—which motivates his love for Jesus Film Project. He has been married to Kim for 22 years, and together they have three children: Luke, Addie, and Brianna, with whom he enjoys playing soccer with when he isn’t on the tennis court or at the beach.

Partner with us!

There’s plenty of room on our team of passionate ministry experts for your church or organization. We’ve set an ambitious goal of reaching 5 billion unreached people by 2025, but we need your help. Your organization might be the the element that makes this goal a reality!