Pastors & Staff


Lead Pastor/Founder

Lead Pastor and Founder of Word of Life Christian Church, Antonio J. McElroy was born in El Dorado, Arkansas on June 6, 1966. He accepted his call to ministry and was licensed to preach the gospel at Eastern Star Baptist Church in Gurdon, Arkansas under the leadership of Pastor Rufus Hatley in April 1987. He was commissioned as a United States Army Reserve 2nd LT in 1988 from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas with B.A. Degree in Biblical Languages and minor in Philosophy. He was ordained under the National Baptist Convention in November of 1994 at Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky by. Dr. F.Bruce Williams. He graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY December of 1994 with a Master of Divinity in Christian Education.

He entered on Active Duty in the United States Army in January of 1995 as an Army Chaplain and spent 20 years as Army Chaplain and retired in December 2014 with a total of 30 years of Military Service. He is war Veteran, disable veteran and Bronze Star Medal recipient.

Pastor McElroy believes a Christian is put on the earth to serve only the purposes of God. He believes everything a Christian does should be done to bring Glory to God. His greatest joy in life is to give to people and to help hurting people.

Pastor McElroy is an International PEACE Mission Coach for Kenya and North America Northeast Regional Director PEACE Coach Director Saddleback Christian Church, Orange County, California.

He is married to the former Debra Hollowell of Cleveland, OH for the last 32 years. He has 3 girls, Whitney Jackson (Woodbridge, Va), Christina (Nashville), and Semone (Nashville). He has one son, Antonio Jerome Jr. (Woodbridge, Va).

debra J mcElroy

First Lady

1st Lady Debra J. McElroy is a native of Cleveland, OH. She was licensed in ministry at New Salem Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio under the leadership of Dr. Keith Troy in early 80s. She is a prayer warrior and walks in the prophetic gift. She served alongside her husband in his long military career supporting Army Families and being a active member of Protestant Women of the Chapel.

She is passionate about her faith. She is a very successful Kingdom Entrepreneur in the Real Estate Business. She has won numerous awards in Real Estate and is consistently ranked as a top producer among her peers.

dr. leonard baldwin

Executive Pastor

Dr. Baldwin was born in Whiteville, NC, and raised in Washington, DC. He is a proud product of the Washington, DC public school system. He is a retired United States Army SGM and has served in multiple states and countries worldwide. His final assignment was as a Department of the Army’s logistical staff member located at the Pentagon in Washington DC.

He entered the ministry on June 19th, 1997, while a member of the Argonne Hills Gospel Service, Fort Meade, Md. His Ministerial experience includes serving on the staff of churches and religious organizations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

In addition to his Pastoral duties, Dr. Baldwin currently works as an Adjunct Professor for Grand Canyon University’s College of Theology. He also currently serves as a PEACE trainer both Nationally and Globally.

Educational experience includes a Biblical Counseling Diploma from Light University, Associate of Science degree in Education from Central Texas University, Bachelor of Science degree in Bible and Christian Ministry from Lancaster Bible College, Master of Science degree in Leadership from Central Michigan University, Master of Divinity degree in Counseling from Capital Bible Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry degree in Leadership from Liberty University.

He has been married for 40 years to his wife, Denise, and resides in Woodbridge, VA. They have two children, Denise Lashawn and Leonard Jr., and four grandchildren, Isaiah, Makayla, Darrin, and Jayla.

Conrad washington

Associate Pastor

Minister Conrad Washington serves as the Director, for the VA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP). In this capacity, he provides collaborative strategic leadership to develop and cultivate partnerships with faith-based, non-profit, and community organizations.  These partnerships assist to increase awareness and enrolment in VA programs and services for Veterans, their families, survivors, caregivers and other beneficiaries.

Minister Washington retired from the United States Marine Corps with 20 years of active-duty service to include a combat tour in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II (OIF-II).   Minister Washington was licensed as Minister at Word of Life Christian Church under Pastor Antonio J. McElroy. He received his MDiv in Pastoral Studies from Moody Theological Seminary, MA in Business Management from the University of Redlands and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Preston Ross

Worship Pastor

Preston Ross Jr. is a distinguished figure in the world of gospel music, leaving an indelible mark through his multifaceted musical journey. Serving as the music director for Garrett Davis' traveling gospel play from 1995 to 2001, he orchestrated a symphony of spiritual resonance. A skilled musician, Preston contributed his talents to the renowned NJ Mass Choir, enriching their harmonies with his musical prowess. His artistry also graced the Faith Tabernacle Mass Choir in their South Carolina live recording, capturing the essence of his soul-stirring contributions.

Venturing into the realm of church ministry, Preston became a revered Minister of Music in various churches across North Carolina, fostering a deep connection between worship and melody. Since 2014, he has served as the Worship Pastor at WLCC, guiding congregations through transformative and uplifting worship experiences.

Preston's rhythmic heartbeat reverberates as the drummer for Bill Gaither’s. His percussive talents added depth and energy to the Gaither’s iconic sound in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. He also was the drummer for one of their live recordings in Paducah Kentucky. Beyond the stage, he extends his musical influence as a gospel music producer, crafting resonant and timeless sounds that transcend genre boundaries.

ruby wilson

Director of Finance

Ruby Wilson has a background in finance where she has for many years applied her talents within the Federal Government.  Ruby serves as the Financial Director for Word of Life where she is entrusted with all financial related activities which she has done since the inception in 2014. 

fernando bowen, jr.

Media Director

Fernando Bowen is a dynamic individual whose journey weaves through the realms of business technology, and a profound commitment to community service. Born in Panama and raised in Alexandria, VA, Fernando embarked on his academic journey at Virginia Union University, where he honed his skills in Business Management. Following his time at Virginia Union University, Fernando sought to expand his horizons by delving into the world of technology. At the Computer Learning Center, he immersed himself in the intricacies of Computerized Business Systems with a focus on Network Administration.

Fernando's fusion of business acumen and technological proficiency found a meaningful outlet within the realm of his faith. Since the inception of his local church, he has been an integral part of the media team, he also lends his skills to other churches providing media services to help bring their message to the forefront. His innovative approach has played a pivotal role in enhancing the church's technological infrastructure.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Fernando is deeply passionate about two things: kids and sports. For over three decades, he has served as a dedicated baseball umpire, basketball, and football referee. His commitment extends beyond officiating, as he also takes on coaching responsibilities and provides skills training for the athletes. This enduring involvement reflects not only his love for the games but also his desire to mentor and inspire the next generation of athletes.

In 2015, Fernando's life took a transformative turn when he participated in discipleship training at his church. This experience ignited a deeper calling to serve and contribute to the spiritual growth of his community. Since then, he has been actively engaged in various ministries, bringing not only his technical skills but also a compassionate heart to the forefront of his service.


Dr. Darryl Hollowell

Peace Plan Mission Coach - Kenya

Minister Marsha Morris

Peace Plan Mission Coach

Kathleen Willis

Peace Plan Mission Coach

Myra McDonald

Peace Plan Mission Coach