Meet Our Lead Pastors

Pastors Fred and Vannessa Michaux have been leading City Life here in the 757 since October of 2007. They have a diverse background that includes church planting, urban ministry, urban revitalization, corporate senior management, and pastoral ministry. This diversity gives them a breadth of experience that is vital for the complex demands of church leadership in our modern world. While Pastor Fred has always lived in central Virginia, Pastor Vannessa moved to Williamsburg with her family from northern New York in 1994. With their three children Derick, Ethan, and Claire, they lovingly serve the City Life Church family together!

Three words that best describe their approach to ministry are imagination, deference, and expectancy. If you have been around City Life for any amount of time, you know that we would much rather create something new than simply replicate what others are doing. Imagination and creativity are part of the “imago dei,” how we bear the image of God! Permission giving relationships are also a hallmark of their leadership. Too many churches are steered by a directive leader with little or no accountability. City Life is a safe place because a cornerstone of our leadership philosophy is deference to one another. And if there is one final word to describe the personality of our church because of their example…expectancy. They have a relentless belief in the goodness of God that is contagious!

Our Team

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

Justin and Stephanie White

Campus Pastor


After graduating from William & Mary in 2006, Pastor Justin became part of a church plant team that was launching a church in Newport News…City Life Church. Having newly recommitted his life to Christ through a college ministry on campus, Pastor Justin was looking for a sense of calling in life which he discovered quickly through this adventure of building a church. As with any church plant, everyone helps in every area of ministry! But he soon discovered that his love for creative arts, music, and reaching the next generation led to serving primarily with students. This is one of City Life’s greatest strengths, the longevity of so many of our leaders.

The pastoral calling on his life was undeniable. One of the central teachings at City Life is that every person has a calling. We cannot read texts like 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4 and not see that every person is created by God for an eternal purpose. Soon after Pastor Justin was married to Stephanie in 2010, the elders agreed together to extend an invitation to Justin to be the first Pastor of Student Ministries for City Life. He has been an integral part of our pastoral team since officially joining our staff in 2011!

Pastor Justin is a student of history, the arts, all things Christianity in both doctrine and practice, and popular culture.  He has always served faithfully whether it was in student ministries or as a campus pastor in Suffolk.  And we are all the more confident that he will excel again pastoring here in Newport News.  You will see him regularly in the preaching rotation, leading our ministry to families with special needs kids, directing our online church initiate, and coordinating all of missions both home and abroad.

Pastor Justin and Stephanie are a beautiful expression of the family of God. With their son Raj, they lead with excellence in pastoral care, Biblical teaching, community service, and discipleship!

Madeline Harris

Worship and Creative Arts
Madeline attended Christopher Newport University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theater, with Minors in Leadership & Religious Studies. Little did she know this would be the framework for her future position at The City Life Church! She joined the City Life family by way of her husband, Jemal, in 2020- and what a gift it has been. Prior to joining City Life, she has served as a worship leader in churches, college campuses, and prayer rooms in Hampton Roads. She has a passion for God’s people to encounter His intimate presence during worship and to see God’s heart for creativity blossom within the walls of the Church (and beyond!).
She and Jemal also serve as leaders for our College & Young Professionals Ministry. They are invested in the growth of our City Life community and especially enjoy hosting friends in their Hampton home. God’s people are never meant to live life alone- and the Harris family hopes to be ambassadors of that truth!

Our weekend worship experience is also one of our generational tethers…giving the next generation a voice in style and a presence through participation. From the band on stage to behind the scenes technology and service production, our youth are preparing our church to have a voice to generations to come!

Derick Michaux

Student Ministries Director


Derick has attended City Life since his family moved to Newport News in 2007, serving in various capacities through the years. Derick attended Revolution Church as a student during middle and high school. After he graduated high school, he stayed local while attending Virginia Peninsula Community College. During this time, he served on the RC leadership team and completed the Praxis internship program through City Life. He then finished his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Virginia Tech where he was heavily involved with the campus ministry CRU. And he met his beautiful fiance, Maya! After working in Arlington, VA for the year following graduation, he moved back to Newport News in the summer of 2023 to move into his current role.

Derick has a passion for seeing the next generation fall in love with Jesus! He recognizes and values being involved in a thriving youth ministry, ultimately pointing students to Jesus. His life is a product of it! He is excited to create that environment and see the impact it has on our city!

What Others Are Saying

  • 5
    At City Life my family and I have found a community that challenges us to continuously draw near to God.  This is a place where it is recognized that we are all imperfect and we are all on a journey to be refined by God's love.  I love the friendships that we have made and how this family of believers pour into one another and the community around us.
  • 5
    This church is so welcoming, and honest, it is a place to grow a family spiritually and love others walking alongside you. Childcare is top notch, background checks on all kid staff, come check out a Saturday night church if you haven't yet, it's a great experience.
  • 5
    If you're looking for community and want to work on your relationship with God and work on your growth in your personal life. This is the best place to be 😁🙌🏽 love it here.
  • 5
    City Life Church is an awesome non-denominational community with people from all walks of life. The church is family focused and teaches living a life of Christ not just showing up and going home.  Whether you're local to the area or military and just here for a few years you will feel right at home here. Or if you've never attended church this is a great place to start.
  • 5
    I started coming to City Life as a freshman in college. When looking for a church, I wanted to find a place that had challenging messages, intentional worship, and a diverse congregation.  City Life is a Christ centered community who has been there to support me as I graduated college and got married. Today City Life has become a home for my wife and I and is a large reason we decided to settle down in Newport News.