welcome to the newland family!

We're thrilled to introduce you to our newest staff addition - Pastor Jay Newland! Pastor Jay will be serving as our Oakmont Campus Pastor beginning in August. We also welcome Candace, Jackson & Haven to the Riverside Family!

Below is a brief bio that will help you get to know them. Please be praying for them as they make the move to Pittsburgh to join us in helping others to find and follow Jesus. 

Their story

I was born and raised in the small town of Iola, Kansas. My parents divorced when I was very young. Remaining in Kansas, my mother and step-father raised me while visiting my father in the summers in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Though raised in a Christian home, I went my own way upon graduating from High School. For almost four years, I had several jobs, attended 3 colleges, and tried to join the military, living a prodigal existence. But God continued to pursue me.  I found myself “at the end of my rope” (Matthew 5:3, MSG) in March of 1997 on Highway 169 in Kansas. It was there that I cried out to God "I want to do it your way" and surrendered my life to Christ. My faith in God became real and I embraced Paul’s “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) way of living. Many prayers from family (especially my Grandparents who were retired ministers), friends, and missionaries brought me to that moment of surrender on a lonely Kansas highway. I will never forget how God transformed me, and I am forever thankful for His amazing grace.

Soon after I decided to follow Christ, God led me to Missouri State in Springfield, MO in the Fall of 1997. During my first semester, God directed my steps in two pivotal ways. First, I met my future wife Candace at church after she sat behind me on the third Sunday of the semester. She was on a golf scholarship at Evangel University and it was her first time visiting this church. Then, God connected me to Chi Alpha where I was discipled and began to serve in leadership. By the end of my first semester, I began sensing the call to full-time ministry.


Candace and I began dating in February of 1998, and then in July, I surprised her by driving to her hometown of Holdrege, Nebraska, and asked her to marry me. Thankfully she said yes, and we were married in June of 1999. Shortly after, I graduated Cum Laude from Missouri State and my wife graduated Summa Cum Laude from Evangel. 

For the next four years, my wife and I began our journey in ministry and worked on our graduate degrees. We launched out into ministry with a year of serving as youth pastors at Dale Street United Methodist. Then, God directed us to New Life Church where I served as Associate and Youth Pastor. Our time at New Life was valuable as Pastor Cal Swenson took me under his wing and allowed me to serve, influence, and preach in a church that was rapidly growing.


By 2003, I had graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Masters in Christian ministry at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Candace, who is gifted with a compassionate and servant heart, would soon graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Evangel University. Although we loved New Life, it also served as kindling for a fire that was brewing for church planting. A seed had been planted in us in 2000 that God had been watering. And after finishing my Masters, it became clear that a door was opening for us to plant a church in Omaha. 

In January of 2004, we moved to Omaha and started New Creation Church in our living room with five people. It was exciting to see the church take off, and the last five years were very fruitful as we doubled our missions giving, added lay and part-time staff, and God blessed us with growth. At the same time, three building searches and the transient nature of pastoring younger families and military had taken its toll on me as the leader. In March of 2015, the Lord clearly whispered to my heart that my time as “the leader” was ending. 


Exactly one week after receiving this prompting from the Holy Spirit, Pastor Troy Vandament, who had recruited me to Nebraska, called and told me that he felt prompted to ask me to be his Executive Pastor and later proposed our church join forces with Southridge since the space we were leasing had been sold to a new buyer who would no longer be offering it to the church. This resonated with me, leading me to pray and fast before proposing this scenario to my board, staff, and lay leaders. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and after presenting it to the congregation, the church voted to merge. 

Serving at Southridge for almost four years was a great experience of growth as a leader and we developed friendships that we will always cherish. Under the Lead Pastor’s direction, I was able to grow as a communicator, manage multiple staff members, and develop the mission’s teams. By the Fall of 2018, however, I began to feel in my heart that God was calling me away from Southridge. In September, I began discussions with Pastor Troy. Following a busy ministry season for the church, we both entered 21 days of prayer in January hoping for clarity. During this focused prayer, God nudged me to “step out of the boat and trust Him with the next steps.” As a result, we stepped out of Southridge in March, excited for whatever God would send us fueled by two scriptural promises heavy on my heart – the “infinitely more than we might ask or think” of Ephesians 3:20 and the “even greater things” that Jesus promised to do through us in John 14:12. 


The greater things God has in store is not just through me – but also through the great family God has given me. God has blessed me with an amazing wife in Candace, and I would not have made it this far in ministry without her. We have enjoyed 21 years of marriage together. She grew up in a small Nebraska town and was raised in an amazing Christian family. Candace is always looking out for the disconnected and loves serving in the local church. During the day, Candace is a gifted mental health therapist who assists countless people through Online therapy. She is also a Multi-Systemic Therapy Director with a private therapy company. As talented as she is as a therapist, Candace is an even better mother to our two kids Jackson (15) and Haven (9). Jackson is a talented drummer, a great friend, and an example to his classmates. And Haven is full of life and leadership. We consistently pray that God will shine the light of Christ through both of our children.


God has used this extended season of waiting to grow the faith of our family and give us much needed rest. Additionally, I have used this season to complete almost half of my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University and begin utilizing my gift of writing through published articles in Influence Magazine. Though these new streams of influence are exciting, nothing compares to the thrill of serving the local church. We are elated to join the team at Riverside and believe the best is yet to come! 

Jay's experience

Executive Pastor, Southridge Church, Papillion (Omaha) – 2015-2019

- Responsibilities: Staff oversight, Involvement, Finance, and Missions.
- Teaching: Sundays, Lead Teaching for 1st Wednesdays, and Growth Track.

Lead Pastor, New Creation Church, Omaha – 2004-2015

- Planted church with team we recruited.
- Developed leaders, small groups, family ministries and successfully ministered to Southwest Omaha for 11 years. 

- Church merged with Southridge in 2015.

Youth & Associate Pastor, New Life Church, Springfield, MO – 2001-2004

- Led Student Ministry and Student Small Groups. 

- Oversight for multiple team leaders.


- Ordained Assemblies of God Minister since 2007
- Presbyter in AG Nebraska District - 2009-2013


- Communication & Public Speaking: 20 years of public speaking experience. 

- Team Leadership: Oversaw multiple volunteer teams.
- Small Group Leadership: Experience leading multiple small groups.
- Staff Management: Supervised up to six staff members.

- Counseling: Experience in marital and crisis counseling. 

- Administrative: Experience in business administration and finance.

Community Involvement

- Nebraska Medicine Volunteer Chaplain — 2009-2010

- Omaha Police Chaplain — 2010-2015
- Royal Family Kids Camp Counselor — 2012-2013
- Nebraska Chi Alpha Campus Ministries Board — 2013-Present
- Licensed Foster Parent — 2014-2018

- Project Harmony Child Advocacy Center (Guest Speaker) — 2016-2019