Our Lead Pastors

Sr. Pastor Michael Downs (right)


        Pastor Curt Evans, Marquette Heights Campus (center)


                Pastor Charlotte, BridgeKids

Michael Downs

Lead Pastor 


Pastor Michael and his family moved to Pekin in the summer of 2019. He's passionate about ministry and has been a lead pastor for 20 years. BridgeWay is his third church. Pastor Michael's wife, Jenn, is a grade school teacher at Peoria Christian School. She's passionate about speaking, writing, and teaching. Their three children, Max, Miley, and Makenna, are in high school.

Pastor Michael's heart's desire is to preach the Word of God while creating avenues that prompt and encourage the body of Christ to actively walk out their faith in Jesus as disciples in every area of life. He's been in ministry for 30 years and loves to know people’s stories, see lives transformed, and help people find their places and purposes in God’s bigger picture.  

He is the founder of SPARK Discipleship Ministries Process, which is used in several churches across the country to help create a church-wide discipleship culture. He and Jenn are also trained in marriage enrichment and enjoy leading weekend seminars for churches. Currently, Pastor Michael serves the NWIL District as the Director of Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries. 

Pastor Michael loves listening to podcasts, traveling, hiking, canoeing, ping pong, and spending time with family and friends. Originally from the Midwest, he's a fan of Kansas University basketball, the Kansas City Royals, and the Kansas City Chiefs. 

His favorite Scripture passages are John 10:10, Proverbs 3:5-6, Joshua 1:6, Romans 8:1-2, Romans 12, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 and the book of James. 


Curt Evans

Marquette Heights Campus Pastor and BridgeWay's Merge Youth Ministry Pastor  


Pastor Curt first felt the call of God on his life at about age of eleven. He grew up in a Catholic family and felt that becoming a Catholic priest was the direction he should go. After High School, he spent eighteen months at Cardinal Glennon Seminary in St. Louis Mo. "Through the years of seminary and learning more about Jesus from a Catholic perspective, I realized I didn't have a true relationship with my Creator. I asked Jesus to be the Holy Author of my life in the spring of 2006 and have been on an amazing faith journey ever since!"


In the summer of 2010, God rekindled the call of ministry in Pastor Curt's heart. "I love worship music so I thought that was the direction I was to go with ministry, but God, as always, was working and redirecting me in the service of His kingdom. It became apparent that He was calling me to the harvest and to be a church planter." Pastor Curt joined the Church Plant Residency Program at BridgeWay Community Church in Pekin in the spring of 2018. The plan was to develop a Mobile Music Outreach Church in Raleigh, N.C. as part of the Arrow Church plant that the Sapp family was embarking on that summer. "Then the worst thing happened; our Marquette Heights pastor, Chris Seis, suddenly lost his life. God redirected me once again and placed my gaze and back on our Marquette Heights community." 


Since Pastor Chris’s passing, Pastor Curt has been serving as Campus Pastor for BridgeWay's Marquette Heights campus. "I love that community! God is good, He is faithful and always at work!" In 2020, Pastor Curt enthusiastically embraced the role of Youth Pastor for our Merge Youth Ministry.


Pastor Curt and his wife, Brittany, have been married for twelve years and have three children, Lilly, Jack, and a baby girl soon coming, Leah! They are very excited to serve the Marquette Heights community. 

Charlotte More

BridgeKids' Children's Pastor


Pastor Charlotte was called to ministry at the age of 17. She found redemption, freedom, and healing through Jesus Christ in her own life and knew that God was calling her to help others find the same. She graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 2009 and moved back to Pekin, IL to begin ministry in her home community. In April 2018, Pastor Charlotte began focusing her love and joy on youth and children and today she is serving as BridgeWay's BridgeKids Pastor. Her desire is to see all people, young and aged, come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that brings healing and freedom from the inside out.

Singing worship to the Lord is one of Pastor Charlotte's greatest joys. She loves music, art, theater, and reading, and loves being outdoors, hiking. She also loves spending quality time with family and friends.

Pastor Charlotte's life verse is, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1 ESV). 

Volunteer Pastoral Team

Beth Reese

Discipleship Pastor

Chad Richmond

Men's Ministry Pastor 

Kate Philbee

Merge Youth Pastor 

Office Staff & Ministry Directors

Shirley Clark

Financial Director & Administrative Assistant  

Cheryl Cooper

Administrative Assistant 

Heather Schweigert

Cafe Director Pekin Campus 

Dixie Lee Sanders

Guest Services Director

Pekin Campus 


Adrienne Arnold

Food Pantry Director  

For immediate needs, contact Church Office

Jen Miller

Social Media Director  

Dave Schillinger

Ushers Director and Facility & Grounds Director

Pekin Campus  


Bradley Barnes

Ushers Directors and

Facility & Grounds Director

Marquette Heights  

Emily Swain

Worship Director

Marquette Heights  

We believe in training and walking alongside future leaders and those who simply wish to serve as a team member.

JOIN A MINISTRY TEAM by contacting a director.