Leadership Sojourners

Will Varner


It has been my great pleasure to serve with Bob King as co-pastor of the Sojourners fellowship group since 1998. I am also a professor at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, where my lovely wife, Helen, also worked as an administrative assistant until retiring. We have two grown children and one with the Lord and four beautiful grandchildren.

I grew up in South Carolina in a non-Christian home and came to the Lord at the age of 17. I went to college at Bob Jones University and then graduated from the Biblical Theological Seminary in 1972. I became a pastor in Pennsylvania for seven happy years. During that time, I picked up another masters degree and experienced my first trip to Israel – an experience that would leave an indelible mark on my ministry. I served for 17 years with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry in New Jersey while earning a third masters degree at Dropsie College and then a doctorate at Temple University in Philadelphia.

In 1996, I came to The Master’s University, where I teach Old Testament and Greek Exegesis and direct IBEX, our overseas campus in Israel. I have led more than 50 trips to the land of Israel, and I have had the privilege of leading two groups of Sojourners to that beautiful and strategic land.

I have an avid interest in the Civil War and have taken part in reenactments at a few of the battlefields. I also love Tolkien’s fiction and Daniel Silva's international espionage novels starring Gabriel Allon. But what I love most is traveling to England and other countries with Helen because she is so adventurous.

Joe Zhakevich

Pastor, Elder

Joe was born in Russia, but in 1990 his family immigrated to the U.S. and joined Grace Community Church soon after. In his pursuit of education, Joe earned a B.A. in English and Russian literature, an M.Div. in Bible, a Th.M. in Old Testament, and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible. In 2016, Joe became an associate professor of Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary, teaching Hebrew and Aramaic as well as exegesis courses, such as “The Messiah in the Old Testament.” At Grace Church, he serves in Foundation Bible study on Fridays and in the Sojourners fellowship group on Sunday mornings.