Charles has served as the pastor since 1974. He preached his first sermon at the age of 14. At 15, he formed a small ministry team and began holding services in Chicago rescue missions. After graduating from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO, Charles came back to Chicago and led a dying 25- member congregation to become the Armitage we know today, a dynamic congregation comprised of over 40 nationalities. As the Senior Pastor, Charles sets the course for Armitage through his teaching, preaching, and leadership; directing the church in fulfilling our mission to proclaim the gospel, nurture disciples, and exalt Christ in the City. Charles and his wife, Georgia, have raised 5 children in what the Chicago Tribune called “the deadliest police beat in the country.”
Community Life Pastor
Jeremy came to faith in 1997 and has been serving at Armitage since 2002. He currently serves as the Community Life Pastor overseeing pastoral care, assimilation, grow groups, and our Global Partners. He has earned degrees from Crossroads Bible College and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Nerissa were married in 2005 and have four children: Micah, Josiah, Caris and Caleb. Like a good Midwesterner, Jeremy is known to cheer for the Chicago White Sox and the Indianapolis Colts. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, gardening and reading Christian books.
Spiritual Formation Pastor
Steve grew up in Chicago and got a taste of urban ministry by witnessing his dad’s street outreach in the 80’s. He made a profession of faith at a young age, but in his late teens and early adulthood pursued the life of a prodigal. Finally, he fully surrendered his life to Jesus in 1987 at the age of 21. He joined Armitage in 1991 and served for many years as a volunteer youth director, came on staff in 2001, and was ordained as a pastor in 2003. He received his degree in Bible & Theology from Moody Bible Institute in 2010. He has worn many hats during his tenure, including Sunday School teacher, Youth Pastor and Student Ministries Pastor. Currently, he serves as Spiritual Formation Pastor overseeing all Bible Study ministries, leadership development and the CAUSE Internship Program. He has been married to Sherry since 1998 and they have four children—Benjamin, Samuel, Anisa and Klaudia. He is a man of many hobbies, including playing guitar, gardening and the exploring the outdoors—all of which are only enhanced by a hot cup of Earl Grey tea.
Spanish Language Congregation Pastor
Leandro is the pastor of the Spanish Language Congregation. He was born and raised in Argentina. He came to Christ in a Bible Summer Camp organized by Word of Life in the year 2000. From that time on, he always felt the Lord was calling him to the ministry. He earned his bachelor and master degree in the field of Law at the National University of Cordoba. After practicing corporate law for two years, in 2013 the Lord confirmed him the calling to full-time ministry. He studied at Moody Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity. Pastor Leandro has been serving as a Minister since 2016 and was ordained at Armitage Baptist Church in May 2017 when he became the Pastor of the Spanish Language Congregation. He has been married to his wife Tamy, and they have a gorgeous baby girl (Francesca).
Angel L. Vega
Angel was born and raised in the heart of Chicago’s inner city. A 19-year veteran of children’s ministry, Angel has served with children since his salvation in 1996, beginning as Children’s Ministry Director at Armitage Baptist Church. Angel served at Armitage from 1996 to 2011, when he was called to the staff of Tower Grove Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, as the Children’s Director/Business Administrator. In 2014, the Lord called Angel back to Chicago to help care for his ailing parents. He now serves again on the Armitage Baptist Church staff as the Outreach and Engagement Director. Angel has spoken at Lifeway’s National Children’s Conference and children’s camps, and has been published in Children’s Ministry Magazine.
Worship Arts Minister
Leo Barros came to Christ in 1984. He began his studies in music at the age of seven. At the age of 12 Leo started his studies on the violin, and since then he has always been involved with music. Coming from a family of ministers, Leo has ever participated in the ministry of music in the church of his grandfather, developing his talents to the service of God. In 1999, he entered the Theological Seminary in Brazil graduating in Church Music. In 2004, Leo continued his studies at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, graduating in 2010. In 2011, he and his family moved to the USA for a master’s degree in music. After graduating from Campbellsville University, Leo moved to Fort Worth where he began his Ph.D. in Music. Leo Barros started his Ministry at Armitage Baptist Church in July 2017. Leo is married to Claudiane and has three children: Leticia, Daniel, and Lucas.
Vanessa grew up in Cicero, but everything in her life took place in Chicago: church, school, family, her parent’s jobs, etc. She is a first-generation American along with her younger brother, children to their Mexican mother and Salvadorian father. Being raised in a Christian home, Vanessa was always in Christian circles. Most of her education was at Christian schools, and when she was not in school, she was at church. Thus, Vanessa came to know the Lord at an early age through Cicero Bible Church's Awana Bible Club. She grew up faithfully attending and serving New Jerusalem Baptist Church on Chicago’s northwest side. Once she started attending Moody Bible Institute in 2013, she started serving at Inner City Impact with their high school program. In 2014, she went to Phantom Ranch (a summer camp hosted by Armitage and other Chicago churches) as a counselor, and her students asked her to join them as they wanted to visit Armitage after the camp was over. She came to the Youth Bible Study and loved how her students were treated no differently than “every other church kid”. Since graduating Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Youth Ministry and Urban Ministry in 2017, Vanessa faithfully serves and is a member of Armitage. At the beginning of 2018, Vanessa became the Youth Director at Armitage, as well as a CAUSE resident, in which she still serves today. Vanessa loves four things: Jesus, teenagers, coffee (espresso drinks, really), and tacos.
Sue came to faith in Christ in July of 1974 after the man who sold her a bicycle invited her to the Billy Graham Foundation film Time to Run. She responded to the truth that “He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf so we could become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Sue has served as the Secretary/Receptionist/Administrative Assistant on and off since becoming a church member in 1984. She came to Chicago in 1983 to attend a 1-year Bible program at Moody Bible Institute, became connected with Armitage and after her year of study at Moody, decided to stay in Chicago. When asked by former members “Are you still there?” she affectionately responds “Yes, there’s glue on my chair.” It is a privilege to serve on a church staff where the priority is the salvation of the lost and the obedience and growth of believers.
Sue especially enjoys the reception duties associated with her position: processing phone calls, tending to appointments as well as an occasional visitor now and then. She also enjoys the variety of her work for Charles Lyons, Senior Pastor.
Lina is a resident of the Spanish language congregation and participant of the CAUSE program. She was born and raised in the north of Mexico. She came to Christ through the preaching of her father when she was 7 years old. Since an early age, God put in her heart the desire to prepare her to work in the ministry. She earned her bachelor degree in Missions on Rio Grande Bible College in Edinburg Texas. Lina Espinosa has been serving with the Armitage Family since January 2018 focusing on developing and coordinate grow groups in the Spanish congregation and being a part of the core group to implement summer day camp as a way to reach and serve our community.
Abishai is a CAUSE pastoral intern at Armitage Baptist Church. He was born in Hyderabad, India and was raised in New Delhi for 24 years, where he did his schooling and graduated with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering. He accepted Christ is 2008 and recognized that God was calling him to ministry in 2014. He came to Moody Theological Seminary in 2015, to be equipped for ministry and is currently pursuing his M.Div in Pastoral Studies. He has been serving as a pastoral intern at Armitage since August 2018. He is a member of the church and also has been serving on the worship team since October 2015. He loves exegeting the Bible, teaching, and studying Old Testament and Hebrew Literature for fun. He believes if he is able, he will never say no to a Bible teaching opportunity. He also loves music, coffee, watching sports, his friends, and his family.
Okumu is one of our Pastoral Interns in the CAUSE program here at Armitage. He started his one-year internship in June 2018. Okumu is married to Harriet; and, together, they have three beautiful children: Jezreel, Jael Alma, and Joy Hadassah. Okumu and Harriet both came from Uganda in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Okumu graduated from the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago with a BA in Pastoral Studies in 2019. Currently, he is a graduate student at the Moody Theological Seminary pursuing an MA in Ministry Leadership. Okumu became a believer in 1996 as a teen; and, since then, the Lord Jesus has been growing him in his faith. Okumu and Harriet are both former Compassion International Sponsored children from Uganda. He has enjoyed being in and serving in the CAUSE program over the past year. He has had numerous opportunities to lead in the Couples’ Bible Study class, to preach sermons in the Sunday Evening services, to officiate the Lord’s Supper, and to teach in the Men’s Bible Study class.
Okumu is passionate about preaching, teaching, and leading missions. He has led two students' mission trips from Moody to Uganda. Moreover, he looks forward to serving the Global Church in Africa. In his free time, he enjoys reading and spending time with his wife and children.