About us

Who We Are

We are a diverse and multiracial community of learners living and leading through 5 transformative values.

Our Approach to Spiritual Formation

In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him. We believe this is at the core of the spiritual formation journey. The process of Christ being formed in us is not easy. It is often painful and difficult to identify the gaps we’ve inherited from our past, and to allow God to restore those places deep inside of us that we thought were already healed. We want to normalize the discomfort that comes when following Christ. At the same time, we want to anticipate the wholeness and transformation that is possible as we offer ourselves to the way of his kingdom.

Our Core Beliefs

What we believe

We believe that only a deeply formed life in Christ can lead you and others to the transformative kind of life and ministry to which you are called.​

We believe that our lives and leadership ought to be sustained by cultivating and holding together a deeply rooted value system consisting of our 5 values.

We believe in allowing Christ to be formed in every aspect of our lives.

We believe that following Jesus requires us to take up our cross, through which our lives find ultimate meaning and transformation.

We believe that deep and lasting formation happens in community.

We believe that a life of true spiritual formation is found not in living things perfectly, but wrestling with them faithfully.

our team

In-House Leadership

Rich Villodas

Founder/Primary Teacher

Rich Villodas is the Brooklyn-born lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, a large, multiracial church with more than seventy-five countries represented in Elmhurst, Queens. He is also a key speaker for Emotionally Healthy Discipleship—a movement that has touched hundreds of thousands of people. Rich graduated with a BA in pastoral ministry and theology from Nyack College. He went on to complete his master of divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary. His award-winning book, The Deeply Formed Life, was released in September 2020. He and his wife, Rosie, have two beautiful children and reside in Queens.

Andres Valenzuela

Director

Andres Valenzuela was born in Quito, Ecuador and grew up in Kenya and Mexico. He holds a Master of Organizational Leadership from Nyack College. Andres has held various leadership positions at Nyack College over a span of 20 years and owns a wedding and family photography business in the NY metro area. He’s an avid traveler and a fanatic of all things futbol and tennis. He’s been married to Kim since 2009 and they have 2 fantastic girls, Ana Sofia and Neomi.

2021-2022 Teaching Team

Dr. Korie Little Edwards

Dr. Korie Little Edwards

Dr. Korie Little Edwards is Associate Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University. She is a leading scholar of race and religion in the United States and Past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, an international, interdisciplinary association (www.sssrweb.org). She has written several books and articles on multiracial religious organizations. These include The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches (author, Oxford University Press); Against All Odds: The Struggle for Racial Integration in Religious Organizations (co-author, New York University Press). Dr. Little Edwards’ current scholarship focuses on matters related to race and religious leadership. 

Steve Cuss

Steve Cuss

Steve is the author of Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs and the founder of www.capablelife.me, an online community helping you to function as a calm, aware, present human in the work place and home place. Since 2005, Steve has served as Lead Pastor of Discovery Christian Church in Broomfield, Colorado, an innovative and entrepreneurial church. He is also proud to be a strategic partner with Compassion International, Leadership Network, and Missio Alliance. 

Deborah Hirsch

Debra Hirsch

Deb Hirsch is a missional leader, speaker and author who has led churches in Australia and Los Angeles. She is one of the founders of Forge Mission Training Network and a founding board member of Missio Alliance. She is the author of Redeeming Sex; Naked Conversations about Sexuality and Spirituality and co-author (with Alan Hirsch) of Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship. Her current writing project is on the role of the senses in spirituality, discipleship and mission. She and her husband currently divide their time between New York City and Melbourne, Australia.

Greg Jao

Greg Jao

Greg Jao serves InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA as Executive Vice President for Communications and Mobilization. In this role, he leads InterVarsity’s communications team; partnerships with other ministries, churches, and networks; oversees the Urbana Student Missions Conference, and guides InterVarsity’s response to situations where the ministry’s presence is challenged by campus administrators. A second-generation Chinese American, he helped develop The Daniel Project, a leadership acceleration program for Asian American InterVarsity staff. He has served on the curricula teams for subsequent Daniel Projects serving African Americans, Latinos, and Fraternity/Sorority ministry staff. 

Begin your journey of
deep life and leadership formation!