Familiarizing yourself with our values will help you understand culturally how we move at The Life!

The Gospel frees us, experiencing what Jesus has done & continues to do, takes all the pressure off

People need grace, perfect people don’t exist

Following Jesus is how we grow and change

We’re Family, no one is created to do life alone

Serving is our culture, we live lives that model generosity and compassion

Mission of shalom, seeing all of life restored, as it’s meant to be

Rachel Starzik

Admin Director

Rachel was just married in 2017 to Steven Starzik who has attended the Life since 2015. She is the amazing organizer that you would like to invite over to your house and let her just go crazy! In addition to giving direction to her team, she also serves as Pastor Eric’s personal administrative assistant while also working full-time.

She and her husband love the outdoors, being active and living a healthy lifestyle. Her husband owns two businesses but also serves on the media & graphic design teams at The Life.

James & Kristen Handtke

Vibe Tribe Directors

You know the saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person?” These two awesome people exemplify this statement. In addition to being in his third year of med school, James brings leadership and direction to our Vibe Tribe team. Also, Kristen is a crazy-talented interior designer, who we tap into for many creative projects. In addition to all of this, they also lead a life group.

James also loves road biking. He and Pastor Eric completed a century (100 miles) ride this summer.

Josh & Erin Avery

Family Ministry Directors

This newlywed couple was married just a year and a half ago. They immediately began making church a priority in their lives by serving and attending. Their leadership was evident and in the fall of 2017, they became the Directors of Family Ministry.

They both bring lots of experience to the table, but their kindness and leadership to our teaching teams have been phenomenal. They love and connect with our kids & families each week and ensure our students receive a quality Bible lesson that is relevant to their age and stage in life.

Erin is a physical therapist and works in Lisle and Josh works in business in downtown Chicago.

Eric Stone

Lead Pastor

Eric and Kristen Stone have been in ministry since 1998 serving in various roles from student pastor to leading missions work in the US and around the world.
They graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, Eric in Religious Studies/Theology and Kristen in Music Theory/Religious Studies.

Eric and Kristen met in college during a snow storm when Eric volunteered to change a flat tire on “some-girls” car… that car ended up being Kristen’s. They were married 3 years later in a beautiful outdoor wedding in downtown Indianapolis.

Eric serves as the lead Pastor and is an engaging communicator, leader, family man and friend. In addition to serving at The Life, He is also active throughout our cities and has served in various leadership capacities with Habitat for Humanity, Chicago Food Bank and serving the under resourced of our area.

Eric’s Hobbies: Partying with my family and  friends, reading or anything outdoors… Biking, kayaking, hiking… just get outside.

Kristen Stone

Creative Team Director

Kristen is passionate to create healthy marriages, families and partnering with parents in the moral and spiritual development of their children. In addition to serving in the Creative Team, she provides family and marriage resources at her blog Families That Stick.

She and Eric co-wrote an e-course on marriage that you can check out at

Eric and Kristen have two amazing kids, Israel Armani and Ariel Isabella, and one crazy dog, Sir Winston.

Michael Hawks

Elder and Productions Director

Michael loves all things related to theology and has a heart to serve the church in teaching as well as leading the weekly productions team. He has a bachelors degree in Theology and has served in ministry as a lead pastor before joining the team to help us start The Life. We are blessed by his heart for the gospel and love for people.

Todd Prinsen

Finance and Accounting

Nobody rocks a spreadsheet like Todd rocks a spreadsheet! Todd is a high capacity leader who uses his gifts of creating organizational structure and systems to serve the ministry at The Life.

Stephen Seitz

Groups Director

Stephen is a graduate of Wheaton College and began attending The Life in 2014. He is heading down the aisle in 2018 with Hope, his fiancee he met here at The Life. He leads our groups and gives direction to Outreach, Prayer and Life Groups.

He and Pastor Eric share a strange affinity for all things Jerry Seinfeld. He drinks gallons of water everyday and loves to be active. But, his greatest heart is for making a difference in Chicago for Jesus.

Jake and Naomi Bjerk

Lifeguard Directors

Jake & Naomi are native Illini. They met in college and were married shortly after they graduated. They moved to Chicago and began attending The Life. Naomi keeps Jake busy doing home projects while she is busy blogging, in her off-time at DIYBlooms

They have served on the leadership team at the Life for 4 years. They love to serve and give leadership to our Lifeguards, those who serve in various places within the church. They also give leadership to the Next Steps class and lead a Life Group.

Keith Perez

Worship Director

Keith has been serving at The Life for 4 years. He is an uber-talented musician that can play almost anything he picks up. We love how he leads our services in worship each week, with tons of passion. If you know Keith, you also know he is one of the kindest and humblest people you would ever meet. (Now you know he isn’t writing this, because he would never say this about himself! ;))

He also works for a sound company, running sound and lighting for major acts and conferences throughout the Chicago area.


Welcome to the Life!

What a joy it is to introduce you to our church! You’ll discover that our passion is to provide a place where people just like you can have a life-changing experience with God.
At The LIFE, our doors are wide open to people from all backgrounds, regardless of where they are from or where they are at, on their spiritual journey. We are a multi-cultural, multi-generational church where I’m sure you will feel welcomed. As a matter of fact, what people usually notice first about us is the life-giving nature of our church family. It’s like finding a real home.
Together, we’re striving to become the kind of church described in the Bible, where there’s relevant teaching, heart-felt worship, honest friendships,  prayer, and compassionate care for those in need. In short, we’d like to have the kind of contagious Christianity that can influence and encourage the entire community, one life at a time.
So, whether you’re a spiritual seeker who’s just starting to ask questions about God, or a committed Christian who wants to sink the roots of your faith even deeper, you can find a home here at The Life.
If the idea of showing up at ANY church seems daunting, don’t let that stop you. We have many guests each weekend. We’re not the type of church that singles people out. Instead, we just want you to fall in love with Jesus. Our goal is to remove the stigma of boring and judgmental religion and allow you to be changed by the gospel.
Come early, to grab a cup of coffee. If you have kids you can check them in at Life Kids, then head into the sanctuary to experience a passionate worship experience and a practical yet transformational message from God’s Word.
In the meantime, you’ll find everything you need right here to get connected to our church and experience our online resources.
Enjoy, and please contact us if you have any questions. You are the reason why we’re here.
God bless you,
Eric and Kristen Stone
Lead Pastor

Who We Are

To have unity of vision every idea, program, and goal is filtered through our purpose statement. “We exist to lead people to live life to the full, in Christ.”
 The Life is a life-giving, gospel-centered church. This website is deigned in a way that tells our story and how we fulfill our purpose. Discover more by reading about our values, then come this weekend and be one of the many guests who find a life-giving, gospel-centered church where they can feel at home.