Leadership Sojourners

Will Varner


After pastoring a church for seven years in Pennsylvania, Will came to The Master’s University in 1996 to teach Old Testament Studies as well as higher divisions of biblical languages. He also has directed the IBEX (Israel Bible Extension) program at TMU and has taken more than fifty trips to the land of Israel. In 1998, Will began serving as a shepherd for the Sojourners fellowship group. Since then, he has taught through the Old Testament four times and has led five groups from the Sojourners class to Israel and other European countries.

Dr. Varner earned his M.Div. and Th.M. from the Biblical Theological Seminary. Additionally, he received a master’s degree in Jewish studies from Dropsie College and holds a Doctorate in Education from Temple University. He has authored more than a dozen books, including The Chariot of Israel, Jacob’s Dozen, and Awake O Harp, as well as his recent book, Passionate about the Passion Week. Will and his wife, Helen, have two grown children and one with the Lord, as well as four grandchildren.

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.