Responsible for leadership and oversight of Student Ministries, both Middle and High School, including teaching, preaching and counseling. Dedicated to equipping and affirming parents in their efforts to disciple their children.
Tony Viola, Pastor of Student Ministries
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up in a Catholic family, I attended not only a Catholic church but also an Evangelical Free Church. While being immersed in the activities of both, I gradually began to notice differences between the two churches and with my mom’s permission, decided to make the EFCA church my home. As a teenager in the youth ministry there, I put my faith in Christ at a Dare2Share conference. Since that time God has brought people into my life who have mentored, discipled, and led me in my walk with Christ. Their role in my life had a big influence on my decision to pursue full-time ministry and attend Moody Bible Institute (MBI).
While attending MBI and serving in ministry, my love for youth grew and I began to realize how crucial the middle and high school years are for students to be rooted in their faith. Those were, in fact, the years that everything changed for me. In May 2019 I graduated from MBI with a bachelors in Youth Ministry and Biblical Studies. As I have continued to serve youth, I can truly say they bring me so much joy. Being a youth pastor is my passion and calling, and to have a front row seat to witness all that God is doing in the lives of students is a great privilege. As I see it, the purpose that drives youth ministry and the work I hope to accomplish is founded on two fundamental principles: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Christ-followers are called to be disciples who make disciples. This is what I hope to see happen not only within youth ministry but also within the Church, community, and in the world.
In the summer of 2017, I married the love of my life, Cori Viola. We met at my home church, and for several years before dating, served on the leadership team together for the high school youth group. She is my best friend, and I love that I get to go on new adventures with her as my forever teammate. I am thankful to God every day for her.
My parents and two sisters continue to live in Chicago, IL. A few other significant things to know about me are that I am a huge sports guy. I love playing sports as well as watching them. I am also a big movie fan, and I love coffee, biking, and dates with Cori. The verse that has brought me great encouragement throughout my life is Colossians 1:16-17 which says, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” May you be reminded and encouraged today by the truth that Christ holds everything in His hands and that everything was created for Him and through Him.
Phone: 815 874-6806 Ext. 232