Pastor Bios

We think we have some of the best Pastors at ICC! They're a hardworking, fun-loving bunch of really great guys who love the Lord and serve us with dedication! We decided to interview each of our Pastors so that you can get to know them a bit better. You can read the questions we asked and their responses below.

Mike O'Connor

 
Q: What do you love most about living on Long Island?
A: I love the diversity of Long Islanders, all the various cultural influences, and of course the beaches!
 
Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?

A: 2 Corinthians 2:14- “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” This is actually not my life verse but is precious at this time because it reminds me of these truths:
• I can count on the Lord to lead me all the way.
• He is not about defeat and despair, but triumph.
• God chooses to manifest himself through me–and it’s sweet!

Q: Name one thing that the congregation would be surprised to learn about you.
A: I have two brothers, both of whom have thick heads of hair.
 
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
A. Seeing people come to Christ and grow in faith. There’s nothing like it!
 
Q: Pastoring is often a difficult job- what keeps you going?
A: I believe with all my heart that God called me to this. That is what keeps me going.
 
 

Pete Jansson

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I really enjoy fixing things and I love spending time outdoors.

Q: Tell us about your education.
A: I enjoyed growing up in rural Upstate New York. I attended The King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, NY. My Masters is from Adelphi University. The rest is God’s School of Experience!

Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?
A: Micah 6:8 “What does God require of us but to do good, love justice and walk humbly with your God.” It’s important to know what God wants of us, and that it’s a short list.

Q: Name one thing that the congregation would be surprised to learn about you.
A: I have a fear of heights. Standing up is as high as I like to go!

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A: My mom always told us to reach higher. Never stop learning or growing.

 
 
 
 

Andy Laub

Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?
A: Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” This verse shares all that we should be and become.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I’m a BIG Yankees fan, so I like to go to baseball games.

Q: What’s the first question you will ask God when you get to heaven?
A: Where’s the bathroom? What happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Why did you choose David to be king when you knew he was going to do all those bad things?

Q: Name one thing that the congregation would be surprised to learn about you.
A: I can read music and I can sing!

Q: Pastoring is often a difficult job- what keeps you going?
A: Diet Coke

Lee Hamblen

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
A: As the children’s Pastor, I love working with children and helping them realize how amazing God is and how much He loves them. Children can teach us so much about faith. It’s awesome to see them put their trust in Jesus and learn to follow Him.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your ministry?
A: We all start out separated from God by our sin. Sin always hurts us and the people around us. It’s hard to see the pain that kids and families go through because of that. I also struggle with being organized which is why i’m so thankful for the gifted organizers in our church family who help in the children’s ministry!

Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?
A: My go to favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:15. “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” God used this verse to call me out on living to please myself. I grew up going to church and somehow became blinded to my selfish motivations even while declaring Jesus was my Savior and Lord. I love this verse because it reminds me that Jesus has given me new life so that I would “live for Christ who died and was raised for me.”

Q: Where is your dream vacation destination? Of all the places in the world, why there?
A: I would love to visit Alaska some day and take in the majestic views in person. I’d also like to visit Zion National Park for the same reason. I love seeing the glory of God in His creation.

Q: Name one thing that the congregation would be surprised to learn about you.
A: I drove NYC garbage trucks as a night job before I became a pastor.

Seth Kirschner

Q: What do you love most about living on Long Island?
A: Long Island is home. I have visited North Carolina, Colorado, Alaska and as beautiful as those places are…there is no place like home!

Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?
A: Wow! It’s hard to pick just one; but the end of the day it’s all about Jesus and so I’m going with Romans 5:8 which gives us a beautiful picture of what the Gospel is when it says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love to hang with my family and all things sports. I like to attend sporting events but mostly watching the Yankees, Giants and Rangers on TV. Anytime I am with my family, especially my wife and kids doing whatever, I am a happy. I love road trips!

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
A: Seeing young people connect with God. In my office I have a handwritten note from someone anonymous that wrote, “You are making a huge impact on kids lives. Thanks for giving your life for what truly matters. It is not in vain.” That God would use me to impact anyones life is an honor. That is quite rewarding!

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A: I have been grateful for the many people who have given me godly counsel through the years. My youth pastor always drilled in me the biblical imperative to be faithful! Keep moving forward. Keep showing up. Keep on keeping on. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. That has been a rallying cry throughout my whole life.

 

Steve Bayne

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
A: So much of my job is rewarding- I get to minister to people through small groups, our special cafe nights, preaching and public speaking engagements!

Q: What is the most challenging part of your ministry?
A: It’s always heartbreaking to come to terms with the fact that some people are going to choose not to follow God and/or take direction from Him.

Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My awesome wife, Marlene, is my better half in every way. My sons, Steven and Chris, live on Long Island and my daughter, Rachel, lives in California. I also have 4 wonderful granddaughters!

Q: Pastoring is often a difficult job- what keeps you going?
A: The strength of the Lord and my wife’s encouragement.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A: Simple, but vital- Don’t let the enemy in!

Joe Garofalo

Q: What do you love most about living on Long Island?
A: The L.I.E. (only kidding). Actually, I love the fact that our Island has such a varied feel, not just in it geography but in its residents. The beauty of the North Shore, which is so different than the amazing beaches of the South Shore. The rural landscape as you head eastward only to wind up on either the North or South Forks- so different, yet equally as historic and beautiful.

Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?
A: Ephesians 3:20- Because it’s the culmination of the few verses just before (vv.16-19), which speaks of the marvelous results in the life of any believer who yields to and is strengthened by the Spirit. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Q: Tell us about your education.
A: I have a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
A: That’s easy– being able to witness the transformation that occurs as people first come to church as curious skeptics and see how Jesus changes their lives (and destinies)!

Q: What’s the first question you will ask God when you get to heaven?
A: Mosquitos–why? Seriously, I think I will be silent in the presence of the Almighty.

Josh Ryan

Q: If you could only pick one favorite Bible verse, which would you choose and why?
A: Joshua 1:9- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” First because I was named after this person of the Bible but mostly because I still I need a reminder that as I walk with the Lord he is always there with me.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job thus far?
A: Helping the body of Christ at ICC to have life changing encounters with God through worship and the Word. Also equipping and developing others to use their gifts for God’s glory.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your ministry?
A: Within music and expression there can be many personal preferences that can distract from what truly matters which is unity of the Spirit of God and acknowledging the greatness of God. Spiritual hunger is determined by the individual, not by those on stage.

Q: What’s the first question you will ask God when you get to heaven?
A: How can I join the worship team?

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
A: Don’t take for granted those who are older and have experience. Listen and learn from them.

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