Our Current Church Elders

College Park Christian Church is an elder-led congregation. Currently, eight men serve our church as elders. Each man brings his unique personality and perspective, along with a passion for pointing others toward Christ.

Those currently serving are:  

  • Joshua Bland
  • Michael Escoubas
  • Cory Merriman

  • Dave Butler

    Dave Butler and his wife, Rita, have been members of College Park Christian Church for 30 years.  They have 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren.  They became familiar with College Park when they enrolled their son in the church’s pre-school,  Sharing Tree Pre-School.  The Director and the teachers were such a good Christian influence on their son that Dave and Rita decided to make College Park their church home.

    Dave currently serves as an elder, adult Sunday school teacher, and is the team leader for the Outreach/Shepherding Team.  He is Secretary of the Church Council.  He serves as a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and is a volunteer for Prairie State Legal Services.

    He enjoys organizing church events and serving as a fill-in preacher through the Lincoln Christian University Pulpit Supply program.

    One of Dave’s favorite Bible verses is Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

  • Mike Escoubas

    Michael Escoubas along with his wife Trudy (50 years) have served with College Park since 1975. Trudy was employed by the church as administrative assistant for 35 years before retiring in 2017. Michael is currently an elder and in past years has served as a deacon, team leader and Bible teacher. 

    Michael and Trudy have 3 grown children and 6 grandchildren (five grandsons, one granddaughter). They range in age from 21 to 2 ½ years. Michael is a published poet with many poems written in response to his faith in Christ. Philippians 4.13 is among his favorite Bible verses: I can do everything through Him who strengthens me.

  • Toby Gerdes

    Toby Gerdes has been associated with College Park since his college days and has been attending full time since 1979. He is married to Martha and they have two adult children and one grandson. Toby has been a Sunday School Teacher for all age groups, has served as a deacon over several teams and as an Elder. 

    What drew Toby and his wife to College Park was seeing the devotion of the church members to the command by Jesus to “love one another” and experiencing how you will “know they are Christians by their love.” Toby enjoys reading, studying and teaching the Bible and making it the basis for how to live. He also likes to do woodworking, cooking, and bicycling for fun. 

  • Doug Kelsey

    Doug Kelsey has been serving as an elder at College Park for several years. Doug’s responsibilities include serving on the church’s financial team; he is also a member of the church choir. Doug has been married to wife Lynn for over 35 years. They have two children. Besides keeping busy with service projects at church, Doug enjoys trail running, hiking, working outside in his yard, and exploring his family history. He also helps on the family farm as needed in southern Illinois. 

    Doug is a board member with Bring Good News International, a mission organization that is involved in several countries around the world; Doug has participated in several international mission trips. Doug’s favorite passage is Philippians 2:5-11.


    Cory Merriman and his wife Emily have three beautiful children, Emmett, Alana, and Daisy.  Cory has been involved with CPCC since meeting Emily in 2008, who has been attending here since childhood.  Cory has faithfully served in CPCC's Children's Ministry for over a decade and was at one time the Children's Ministry team leader.  Cory continues to serve our children in our AWANA program and occasionally as a Sunday school teacher when needed.  

    Cory has been following Christ since the age of 18 when he fully gave his heart to Jesus and asked Him to be his Lord.  Cory is passionate about sharing Jesus with both kids and adults and challenging them to grow as disciples of Jesus.  Cory's favorite bible passage is Galatians 5:22-25, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law..."

  • Scott Vogel

    Scott Vogel and his wife, Carrie, have been attending College Park Christian Church since shortly after their marriage in 2001. Scott currently serves as an elder and as chairman of the board here at CPCC and also as Men's Ministry lead. In addition, he chairs the Sharing Tree Preschool board. Scott regularly teaches Sunday School at the elementary level and is a regular volunteer with our AWANA program on Wednesday nights. He has previously enjoyed playing softball with the CPCC team and is a former youth group sponsor. 

    Scott has been an educator in Unit 5 for 19 years, first as a teacher at Sugar Creek Elementary and currently as principal at Towanda Elementary. Scott and Carrie have two children, Caleb (14) and Autumn (10). Scott recognizes that he continues to grow as an individual on his walk with Jesus, and is continually working to become more like him. 

    "Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He is the one who will keep you on track." --Proverbs 3:6


    Josh is currently the Team Leader of the Small Groups team at College Park.

    He is also in the Praise Band and plays on the College Park Softball Team. Josh was born here in Normal and grew up at College Park. He went to Bloomington High School and ISU. Josh has been married to Rachel Bland for over 15 years and they have three children: Madeline (8th grade), Ari (5th grade), and Elijah (2nd grade).