Leadership

Elders

Joel Perrite (Founding Elder)

Joel and Kari’s roots spread deep into the piney woods of East Texas, Mississippi, Lufkin, TX, and Laurel, MS to be exact. They moved to Corpus Christi in 2010 so that Joel could serve as the Pastor for Students at Yorktown Baptist Church.  They took the beginning steps of the process to plant Emmaus Church in March of 2013.  In September of 2013 Emmaus Church began meeting as a core group at the South Texas School of Christian Studies and in the homes of those who felt called to join Joel and Kari in planting Emmaus. Joel and Kari are passionate about planting a church in Corpus Christi which glorifies God by treasuring Christ as a family of disciples on mission.  Joel and Kari have two children, a son and a daughter, Barnabas and Jonatha.

Bernardo Vargas (Pastoral Staff)

Bernardo was born in Mexico City, MX, and grew up in Houston, TX. Bernardo moved to Corpus Christi to attend college in 2009. He is married to Liddy Vargas and they have been living in Corpus for over 11 years. Throughout his time in Corpus, Bernardo has worked with youth and college students in the local church and parachurch organizations. Bernardo is passionate about philosophy, theology, the arts, and how they can point our affections toward Jesus. 

John Burkholder

John and his wife, Kristen, both grew up in liturgical church settings where their faith was molded and shaped in childhood - John grew up Catholic in Iowa, Kristen grew up Episcopalian in Texas. They were both impacted by parachurch organizations that deepened their faiths in their late teens and early 20’s (Kristen was involved in Young Life, John was involved with FCA). They met and married in Galveston, TX, in 1995, where John attended physical therapy school. They were members of a church that had a strong House Church ministry and found themselves heavily impacted by and eventually leading house churches. John and Kristen have four children: Hannah, Matthew, Thomas, and Rachel. Fast forward to 2013, and John and Kristen met Joel and Kari through a mutual friend. After meeting together over dinner at Jason’s Deli, John and Kristen knew that Emmaus is where God was leading them. John and Kristen have led house churches at Emmaus since 2014, and in 2016 John became an elder at Emmaus. Both John and Kristen’s passion involves meeting with others, whether it be one on one or in group settings, and allowing the Word of God and the Spirit of God to impact people’s lives opening our eyes to our great God who is at work all around us bringing new life, restoration, reconciliation, healing, and hope.

Deacons

Rebecca Quesada - Administration & Children's Ministry & CarePortal

Rebecca was born and raised in Corpus Christi. In March of 2010, she began serving as Joel’s administrative assistant for student ministry at Yorktown Baptist Church. Early on it was apparent to Rebecca the Lord would eventually move Joel from pastoring students to pastoring a church. Rebecca knew she would always support Joel and Kari wherever God would call them to lead in that role. So, being part of a group that would begin the church planting process for Emmaus in March of 2013 was an easy step of faith. It is a source of deep joy for Rebecca to serve the families of Emmaus and witness the gospel transforming lives, as well as this body of believers growing together in community and reaching outward to share the good news. Rebecca was confirmed as Deacon of Administration and Children’s Ministry in June of 2014. She is the proud mother of a son named Joseph.

Arlette Vargas - Cross-cultural Training & CarePortal

Arlette (Liddy) Vargas was born and raised in Houston, Texas but has gladly called Corpus Christi home since 2009. In 2010, Liddy surrendered her life to Christ and sought various ways to learn and grow in her new walk. Liddy has always had an interest in intercultural studies, as well as serving the vulnerable and marginalized in her local community. She served on the leadership team for a parachurch organization for four years, where her interest in cross-cultural ministry helped her to engage with international students and led her to serve internationally in the Middle East. As a deacon of Cross-Cultural Training & CarePortal, she has led teams to four countries and has helped to mobilize the church to serve local children and families in crisis through CarePortal within the Coastal Bend. Liddy is passionate about inviting others into Jesus' ministry, equipping others to effectively live out the command to love others as we love ourselves, and guiding others to serve in missional ways - internationally and locally. With a deep love and appreciation for the local Church, Liddy is very grateful to serve alongside her husband, Bernardo Vargas, at Emmaus Church.

Kellie Page - Single Women Ministy

Kellie was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Her parents baptized her as an infant and were active members of a local church.  Being raised by parents who served the church in many different capacities instilled the importance of community, family, and serving Jesus in her life.  She was divorced in 2007, which instilled even more of the importance of allowing the family she had developed through the community in Jesus Christ to help her and her three young children feel loved and supported.  She joined Emmaus church in 2015, and by the moving of the Holy Spirit, the pastoring of Joel and community of house church, she was baptized again in 2017.  Being a single woman, raising a family and working full time brings many different obstacles that only the Lord can guide you through and heal.  Kellie is passionate about serving single women at Emmaus and revealing to them their true identity in Christ alone and that God is their Heavenly Father, Husband, and best friend. 

Chris Eisenbach - Music & Technology

At an early age, Chris began leading worship at his local church in San Angelo, TX. In 2009, Chris and Joel became friends while traveling and leading worship at student camps across Texas. In 2010 Joel invited Chris to serve with him in the student ministry at Yorktown Baptist Church in Corpus Christi. As the idea and dream of planting Emmaus Church became apparent in 2013, Chris again found himself being led to serve with Joel and Kari in Corpus Christi. He met his wife, Presley, in their house church in 2015 and they were married in July of 2016. As a worship leader, Chris is passionate about leading songs that magnify the greatness of God in Christ Jesus. He seeks to combine the truth of God’s Word with music and thereby motivate the church to proclaim the Gospel, cherish the presence of God, and live for His glory.