Pastors & Staff

Jeff & Darla Whitney

Lead Pastor 

My name is Jeff Whitney, and I have served as the Lead Pastor of the Apple Valley Church of the Nazarene since July, 2015.  I was born in Pasadena, CA and spent my childhood in Ontario, CA where my parents both worked in public education.  I remember sensing a call to ministry at 12 years of age.  From that young age, I always knew I would spend my life being a pastor.  It has not always been easy, but it has been so rewarding and fulfilling to see the changes that Jesus can make in all of us!  I went to college at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, ID, and later graduated from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.
    I have served in full-time ministry for close to 40 years.  My first assignment was as a Youth and Music Pastor in Greeley, CO and later, I served as a Music Pastor in Overland Park, KS while attending seminary.  You can see that music has been an important part of my life too – I play the trumpet and also enjoy singing in church and with my family. 
    I have served as the Lead Pastor in 3 congregations:  Oakland, CA; Yreka, CA; and now here in Apple Valley.  I would consider myself a life-long learner and have always enjoyed reading and doing all I can to grow and mature as a leader.  In addition to serving as a pastor, I am also involved now as a Life Coach, and am working to become certified with the International Coaching Federation.  I am especially enjoying coaching younger pastors as they face the challenges of ministry in these chaotic days.
      My wife, Darla, is a wonderfully creative pastor’s wife.  She enjoys Bible journaling and has a big heart for women’s ministry.  Our special needs daughter, Krista, still lives with us, but the rest of our 4 children are now out on their own.  We are also blessed to have 5 grandchildren who are the light of our lives.  I have had many different titles and roles in my lifetime, but there is nothing better than to have those little smiling faces look up at you as they call you, “Grandpa!”

Sergio & Aleida Hernandez

Hispanic Pastors

Rev. Sergio y Aleida Hernandez pastores llamados a servir a la comunidad
hispana con mas de 30 anos en la iglesia del Nazareno. Discipulando y
capacitando. Para proclamar el Señorío de Jesucristo, y participando con Dios en la edificacion de la iglesia y la extencion del reino de Cristo en la comunidad de Apple Valley California.

Rev. Sergio and Aleida Hernandez pastors called to serve the Hispanic
community, over 30 years in the Church of the Nazarene. Discipleship and
training to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and to participate with God in the building of the church and the extension of the kingdom of Christ in the
community of Apple Valley California.

jacob Alvarez

Next Generation Pastor & Worship Leader

Hi there, I'm Pastor Jake! I've been blessed to be a part of our AVNaz family since August of 2017, and I have the pleasure of working with our ministries for young people and with worship on Sunday mornings.

I've been a believer as long as I can remember and I was baptized when I was 12 years old, but it wasn't until my later years in high school that I finally started taking Jesus seriously. Looking back on it all, I realize that the Lord had been tugging me toward a life of ministry ever since I was a teenager, though it took me a while to answer that call. I spent a couple of years at Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho studying Criminal Justice and Military Science, convinced that was the path God intended for me to follow with my life. Those years were some of the most wonderful, difficult, and ultimately life-changing years of my life. It was during those years that the Holy Spirit helped me to finally understand that the trajectory I had chosen would take me further away from the life that He had been calling me to, so I returned home for a year to wait on God's instructions for my life. In the meantime, the Spirit was faithful to help me grow in knowledge, understanding, and zeal for the things of God.

Near the end of that year at home, I got a phone call from Pastor Jeff, who I had known from our time together at the Yreka Church of the Nazarene, offering me a chance to serve as the director of youth ministries. The Spirit must've seen that I was hungry to learn and to serve, and passed that message along to Pastor Jeff! Recognizing that this was the instruction I had been waiting for, I surrendered everything and experienced God's gracious gift of entire sanctification, knowing that I could only take up this life with His help.

Ever since then, I've been serving on the pastoral staff here at AVNaz and taking ministry and theology courses in pursuit of ordination in the Church of the Nazarene, and hopefully a degree in  Biblical Studies someday! I've loved being a part of our AVNaz family, running youth group events, leading worship, experimenting with ministries for emerging adults, and serving my brothers and sisters as we all seek the Kingdom of God. It is my privilege to be a leader in our shared journey to grow deep in the grace of Jesus Christ, taking part in the teaching and preaching of the Gospel. 

Frank Morley

Big bear Vintage Fellowship Chaplain

Kathy Jonas


Bio coming soon

Diane Sibole


Hi.  I am Diane Sibole and our part-time secretary and discipleship team leader.  I  love being a part of this church both as a member and as staff.  I help keep our church connected through our app and website along with needed church resources on Sunday morning.  I get to help plan fun activities and outings as a church.  I am also a part of our worship team and love leading others in worship of our Heavenly Father.   Connect with us through our site and allow us to minister to you.