One of the world’s most successful businessmen once said: “Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.” It is a biblical truth that all groups, to progress, must have leaders. Israel faltered because it had no leader, and Jesus viewed the multitudes as “sheep without a shepherd” (Judges 17:6; 21:25; Matthew 9:36).
It is also a biblical truth that effective leadership must come from people of the highest integrity, seen and respected by those who are led. As another writer puts it: “Leadership is not just about telling other people what to do. It is about inspiring them to do it.” The highest leaders of this church must exhibit the following qualities (abbreviated from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1):
- Respected by the congregation for selfless and continued service.
- Faithful as a spouse and parent and known to be respected by his family.
- Kind and hospitable toward others.
- Experienced and successful in exhibiting Christ in life.
- Knowledgeable in the Word of God and willing and able to teach it to others.
- Respected outside the church by community for integrity in life.
All the leaders of this church are chosen by the members of this church on the basis of the qualifications listed above.
The highest level of leadership in the Church is occupied by “Elders,” also known in Scripture as “Bishops” and “Shepherds.” These men are responsible for guiding the spiritual lives of all members of this congregation. This is their first and foremost responsibility. Secondarily, they are charged with formulating and administering church policies. In this church, all Elders serve on a voluntary basis.
Elders are assisted in the administration of the ministries and policies of this church by special servants known in the Bible as “Deacons.” Except for the requirement that they be willing and able to teach, all the qualifications listed above are also required of Deacons. All Deacons also serve on a voluntary basis.
Bill Kincaid has attended the Falls Church congregation since early childhood. He has served as an Elder since 1998. A lifetime enthusiast for congregational singing, Bill is passionate about preserving the church’s musical heritage. He and his wife Mary Ann have two sons and five grandchildren. Bill is retired from a career in the Federal Government and defense program analysis in the not-for-profit sector. Mary Ann served for many years as church secretary at Falls Church, following previous employment in public schools, psychiatric hospital care, and print journalism. Together, their volunteer interests in retirement include choral music and animal rescue.
Oliver McDaniel, who is from Washington, D.C., serves in the Department of Justice. His wife Janice, who is from Alabama, serves in the Attorney General’s Office for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Oliver and Janice have been Christians since 1985. They have two adult children, Catherine and Andrew. Oliver has served in leadership for a number of years and has served as an Elder since 2010. Both have been and remain active as teachers in our Bible School. Both also work closely with the Family Life and Greeter Ministries.
Hal Swetnam became an elder in April 2018. Prior to that, he served as deacon, focusing on youth education and local outreach efforts. The Swetnam family has been worshiping with the Falls Church congregation since 2006. Hal and his wife, Lisa, have one son, Sam, who loves traveling just as much as his parents. Lisa grew up in Italy, and Hal spent many early years in England and Singapore. The couple was married in 1991. Since 2001, Hal has been working with a local branding firm where he runs the brand strategy business.
Joseph Tucker is originally from Stanton, Tennessee. He married Calanthia in 1967, whom he met at Tennessee State University, in Nashville, and they have worshiped with the Falls Church congregation since 1968. They have two adult daughters, LaCanas Tucker and Tahirah Elliott. Tahirah and her husband Travis have two children, Arabelle and Caius Elliott. Joseph has served in the worship ministry for many years, taught classes, and has supervised in the education department. He owns a printing business and Calanthia is a retired educator who now is the Chairman of the Board of the Apple Federal Credit Union.
Habtu Zemech was born into a Muslim family and reared in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At 18 he became a Christian and became very active in the Church, later becoming the preacher for the Addis Ababa congregation. Earning his Associates degree in Bible and Missions in Kenya, he returned to Ethiopia and trained a number of preachers who currently work there. Habtu has been passionate about improving the lives of underprivileged and destitute children in Ethiopia and is the founder of “My Neighbors,” a nonprofit organized for that purpose. He and his wife Meaza were married in 1994. They have three grown children: two sons and a daughter.
Roberto Alvarez is originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala. A deacon since 1984, Roberto works with the Church supporting the Spanish Ministry in the Metropolitan area, focusing on the growth of the Iglesia de Cristo in Falls Church. He and his wife Blanca have been married for 32 years and met at a dinner hosted by her aunt. Roberto is an HVAC facility supervisor. He has a daughter and a stepson.
Ignacio Espinoza is part of the Iglesia de Cristo, the Spanish-speaking part of the Falls Church congregation. He was born in San Vicente, El Salvador, and completed high school there before moving to this country in 1992. He works as a plate maker in the printing industry, for Technograpics, Inc. He is married to the former Sandra Rodriguez, whose family are long-time members here. Sandra also was born in El Salvador, and they in fact met in middle school in that country. They have been married 11 years and have three children, Priscilla, 7; Ariana, 4; and Isaias, 6 months.
Saul Reyes also is a member of the Iglesia de Cristo. He was born and brought up in the town of Carolina, in the department (state) of San Miguel, El Salvador. He works for CORT Furniture Rental, where he refinishes furniture. His wife Guadalupe also is from El Salvador, but she grew up in San Vicente. They met at church and have been married ten years. He has three daughters, Dinora, Mariela and Margarita, and two sons, Jose and Luis.
Wilfredo Reyes is part of the Iglesia de Cristo and was installed as a deacon in 2013. He was born in Carolina, San Miguel, El Salvador. After coming to this country, he met and married his wife, Saira whom he met here at church. Wilfredo & Saira have three daughters and have been married since . Wilfredo also has a son who lives in El Salvador. He works as a driver for SuiteAmerica.
Jonah Shumate is originally from Northwest Arkansas. He has a B.A. in General Studies from Harding University and is employed by the US House of Representatives. He met his wife, Kelly, at college and they were married in 2002. They have 2 children. He was appointed as a deacon in 2013.
Kevin Thie has been a deacon since 2002. He grew up in this area, and he and his wife, Janet, met at Northeastern Christian College. They have been married 24 years, and have a son and a daughter. Kevin’s area of responsibility is Grounds, and he is an active board member for Camp WaMaVa. Kevin works for the Life Insurance Association for the Army and Air Force.
Born in Ann Arbor, MI, John Waterson grew up in Dallas, TX, from 4th grade through graduation. A graduate of the U. S. Navy Academy, he holds a B. S. in Electrical Engineering. He also holds an M. S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. A former submarine officer, John now works with the Boston Consulting Group, Bethesda, MD. He and his wife Casey met in high school, started dating during their senior year, and have been married 10 years. They have three sons, Hank, Will, and Sam.
Ken Yeatman is another unique person, in that he is a native of this area. Born in Washington, DC, he grew up in Temple Hills, MD. He has a B. S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an M. S. in Information Systems from George Mason University. He is a Principal Systems Engineer for the MITRE Corporation in McLean in the architecture and management of large scale data processing systems. His wife Lesya is from Chester, WV, and they met through a co-worker whose girlfriend was one of Lesya’s college roommates. Married 10 years, they have three sons, Connor, Rylan, and Cody.
Josh Byrd grew up in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has been the Youth Minister at Falls Church since December of 1996. He met his wife Lisa at Abilene Christian University and married in 1994. They have four children, two daughters and two sons.