Pastor,  Staff & Elders

Mike Penza

Lead Pastor 

First things first: Since Mike was born and raised in Wisconsin he will forever remain a Green Bay Packers fan. Some of Mike’s hobbies include improving his disc golf game, running, drinking tea,  and as a total extrovert – being present with people as much as possible. Mike is married to Kaylyn and they have four beautiful daughters.

Mike thrives when he is teaching and preaching God’s Word, discipling God’s people, and equipping God's church to work together to fulfill its unique calling. He was a triple-major in college (English, Philosophy and Political Science) and completed seminary (M.Div.) and post-grad research (Th.M.) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Harvard. 

Nicole Baker

Office Manager 

Nicole grew up in the church as a child but didn't hear the gospel until she was an adult. She met her husband, Kyle, who is also a Chicago-land native, while away at school where Nicole got her degrees in the biological sciences. Nicole was married, baptized and has raised a family here at Gracepointe Church. She and her husband have a daughter and a son and feel blessed by the solid Christian teaching their entire family is receiving.

If you can't find Nicole in the office, be sure to check downstairs where she may be teaching or hanging out with our youth! In her free time,  Nicole loves exploring nature, participating in athletic contests, getting dirty working outside or using power tools to construct her latest home improvement project.

Kyle Baker 

Elder Chairman

Kyle has been attending Gracepointe Church for nearly 25 years. He lives in Vernon Hills with his wife Nicole and their two children. By day, he's an IT manager. By night, he is his kids' number one fan and, more importantly, source of transportation to various events. At Gracepointe, Kyle has been a member of the worship band for close to 15 years and have served on and off in other capacities, including providing IT support, serving a previous term as Elder and, most recently as a part of the pastoral search committee.

Andy Searle 


Andy has been attending and serving at Gracepointe and living in Mundelein since 1992. He is a graduate of Wheaton College where he met his wife, Jennifer. They have three adult children and one grandchild. Andy has taught Sunday school, led small groups,  and served as an elder and chairman of the board.

Jennifer and Andy love to travel and see new places. They especially love national parks and hope to visit many more in the future. Andy is a big sports fan and loves to cheer on the Bears, the Cubs, and, as a San Francisco Bay area native, he enjoys following the Golden State Warriors. Andy enjoys walking, biking, and being outside.

Steve Erl


Steve and his wife, Allison, live in Round Lake with their daughter. Steve is on the sales team at Learning Resources in Vernon Hills. After meeting Allison in 2009, Steve began attending Gracepointe with her and quickly fell in love with the church (and Allison).

Steve feels honored and humbled to serve and be a part of this congregation. Throughout his time at Gracepointe, he has run the sound board, led a class on church history, and he and Allison have led Financial Peace University. Steve enjoys the outdoors and spending time with extended family. During the winter months, he heartily cheers on the Chicago Bears!

Tim Jamison 


Tim has been a member of Gracepointe Church since moving to the area in 1985. He has been walking with the Lord since accepting Christ at the age of 17. Tim works as an inspection compliance manager for a life and security company in Lake Zurich.

He serves in the children’s ministry and on the First Impressions team. In his free time, Tim enjoys reading, biking, getting out in nature, and golfing.

José Marrero 


José and his wife, Heitza, grew up and married in Puerto Rico. In 2008, they moved to the Mundelein area and quickly decided to Gracepointe their church home. Shortly thereafter, both began serving as lead worshippers: José on drums and Heitza as a vocalist. Together, they are raising 2 sons. José works at an engineering consultant firm in downtown Chicago. He enjoys reading on the train, playing basketball, and cheering for all the local professional teams, except for the White Sox. Never the White Sox.

José is honored to be serving as an elder for the first time, and prays for direction from God through this new stage of his life.

Ken Stratman 


Ken and Celia  have been married since 1979 and have two adult children. Ken has served at Gracepointe Church over the years as an elder, worship leader, and as co-leader of Gracepointe Wildfolk.

He is the senior vice president of Custom Roofing Contracting. Ken enjoys golfing, bicycling, hiking, target shooting, and rock climbing.

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