Elders in General

Elders are called and qualified men who lead a local church by equipping it for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). The characteristics of these men are laid out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus.

Under the authority of Jesus, Elders lead the church (1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1–2), by teaching and preaching (1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9), elders teach and uphold sound doctrine (Acts 15:6; 1 Timothy 4:13;Titus 1:9), elders visit the sick and pray (James 5:14; Acts 6:4], elders lead from among, like shepherds (1 Peter 5:1–2).

Our Elders:


thomasBrent Thomas

While earning his MDiv from Southern Seminary, Brent also began his ministry career as a Youth Pastor, serving in rural Kentucky. After graduating, Brent served as Teaching Pastor in Glen Rose, TX for four years before being called home to AZ to plant Church of the Cross in 2008. By God’s grace, Church of the Cross grew into a healthy, gospel-centered church family on mission able to raise up its own leaders. In 2014, Brent and his wife Kristi adopted four children from the foster-care system, adding to their four biological children, becoming the Thomas 10. This significant transition led Brent and Kristi to pursue a sabbatical from ministry in 2015. After a much-needed period of rest and family time, Brent has been called to partner in planting a new church in the Gilbert area.


valerosSteve Valero

Prior to planting Ekklesia Communities in 2006, Steve served in a variety of ministry leadership roles, including serving as a Young Adults Pastor. While a student at Phoenix seminary, God called Steve to help get the church out of the building and focus on relational leadership. After serving with Ekklesia 8 years, Steve, his wife Christine and their two children decided to transition out of paid ministry, though they continued to equip others. Steve is excited about planting another gospel-centered church on mission in the Gilbert area.