Simon Guevara | Pastor
My wife Alicia and I have been Texas natives since 2008 when I was called to serve here. Before that we were both born and raised in Grand Rapids MI. Actually, my Texas roots are deep; my parents are from Laredo, where the family compound remains within eyeshot of the border.
Alicia (Hekman) and I were married in 2001 after a 10-month courtship. It’s true that from date #1 (which was a blind date) that we shared a call to serve the Lord together. Our first ministry is to the family God has entrusted to us—our five children ages 12 to 6 years old.
Before I get to the ministry part of my life, let me tell you about my faith…
One interesting thing about me is that I came to Christ later in life–It was actually on my 30th birthday and the change was dramatic. I can never say that I came to or accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord.
For me it was more that I surrendered my life to Christ.
Today I continue to strive to live out of a new life in Christ always growing and hopefully always as passionate as I was those first days. And I believe it is the conviction of my testimony that keeps me encouraging others to seek a transformational relationship in Christ.
I know firsthand the power of the gospel to literally change someone’s life. I am always grateful for His grace.
So, pastoral ministry is a second career for me. I graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2008. Before that I previously had a great career in broadcast television, where my main role was as a writer and producer for a local news channel. I really enjoyed that line work because I enjoy telling the daily news stories.
Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the power of story. This gives fuel to my passion for God’s Word. It’s been said of my teaching style that I try to report the text.
I try to bring the congregation with me into the space where God’s word is alive, real and relevant.
My typical teaching calendar has us alternating between biblical expository and thematic series. One other somewhat unique thing about me is that my experience in broadcasting gives me a heightened sense for promotion. I enjoy creating excitement around sermon series using creative graphics and headlines. I don’t think God’s Word has to be “sold” or “packaged” but I like to give people handles so that it’s not so intimidating either.
I count one of my highest and most humbling privileges, the joy of serving as a steward of God’s Word.
I’m also so grateful for the Lord calling me to him through the ministry of friends who took seriously their role in encouraging my walk in Christ. I am so grateful for the mentors that I have who pour truth into my life and who hold me accountable to my walk, faithful in my marriage and diligent in my call as a Pastor.
I’ve had some extraordinary experiences in my ministry career so far.
I served on the Lead Team of pastors for what was—at the time—America’s fastest growing church. Standing in front of over 10,000 gathered, I was rarely nervous, but what I was was insecure in my ability to handle God’s Word.
I left that community and completed my academic training before moving to Texas where I have served as a lead pastor at what is a much more intimate setting. I can honestly say that I look at the friends who gather with us on Sunday and I love them.
This past summer my transition to vocational ministry was completed, as I was ordained into the Evangelical Covenant Church. I have so much respect for their high standards for pastors and have been grateful for how I have grown with the encouragement of a diverse group of colleagues from around the world.
I love the art of relationship as the foundation of leadership.
Sometimes people ask me what my favorite part of my job is. I think they assume it’s the upfront teaching. While that part is great, I have to say that I love the conversations; I love working alongside a team dedicated to a shared vision and mission. I love sitting with people working through struggle and joy. I enjoy the hard spiritual counseling sessions. I enjoy when a brother or sister reaches out with a need or to ask for accountability.
I enjoy shepherding a group of friends on mission; seeing lives changed as we change lives.
When I’m not serving in the church or taking care of my family, I love playing tennis (singles, no doubles), suburban biking and (though to the lesser degree) running.
Sarah Raddi | Worship
Sarah Raddi has been the Worship Leader at Restoration since May of 2016. She was born and raised in New Jersey where she developed a love and passion for music and worship in her church. She started to sing, play guitar and write music at the age of 8 and by the age of 12 she was leading worship for her youth band.
As she got older she continued to pursue worship and in 2013 was given an opportunity to travel to Dallas for a week of worship training at Dive Worship School. The Lord spoke to her while she was there about moving south but she was not sure at that time what that exactly meant.
After her week in Dallas, she went back home to New Jersey and landed a job for a full time nanny position. As she continued to follow her music she worked as a nanny for two little girls. After working for this family for two years, they asked her to move with them to Austin, Texas because of a job relocation. Sarah happily said yes and moved to Austin in May of 2015.
In November of that year, she visited Restoration for the first time and was asked a couple weeks later to lead worship for the Christmas Eve service. She has since then been leading for Restoration and we are exceptionally grateful to be blessed by her passion for Christ and worship.
Nancy Brieger | Connections Minister
Hi, I’m Nancy: wife to James and mom to Emma, Grant, and Mara. My job here at Restoration is awesome because I am blessed to team up with great leaders to minister and share Jesus.
As our Connections Minister, Nancy’s passion to help acclimate new friends into the church community. Nancy also has a gift for relational evangelism; she has a very natural way of helping new friends discover the life-changing love of Christ!
Nancy conducts our discipleship path; navigating people through our Know, Live and Share groups and experiences. She loves making purposeful friendships happen at Restoration.
Nancy is also the Coordinator for Literacy Partners at Old Town Elementary, which is one of our key Local Share It Opportunities. She encourages a team of volunteers from our church and the community to help elementary students grow in their reading levels.
She is also a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.