In a word, to be an elder at Spring Valley means to be a “Shepherd.” The elders at Spring Valley are guys who truly love Christ and Christ’s people. They are teachers, leaders, and equippers of the church. If you’re looking for a church where the pastor does all the work, Spring Valley is probably not the church for you. The elders are the first line which demonstrates Christ’s command for all of us to be ministers. They are peers with the pastor, making decisions together, leading together, pastoring together. Member families and individuals at Spring Valley are assigned an elder/shepherd who keeps in regular contact. Our elders are a resource for you - to ask questions, to lend a listening ear, to offer advice when sought. It gives all of us at Spring Valley a rich reservoir of people to call upon and depend on. The Ruling Elders of this church are chosen from qualified male members of the church, elected by the congregation, and ordained and installed by the Session.
Rev. Jon Nielson, Teaching Elder and Moderator
Pastor Jon accepted the call to be Spring Valley's Senior Pastor in 2017. Pastor Jon earned a BA in English literature at Wheaton College in 2005 and received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in 2010. He expects to receive his Doctor of Ministry from TEDS this year. He was ordained in the PCA (Chicago Metro Presbytery) in 2010. Jon and his wife, Jeanne, both grew up in the Chicago suburbs with Jon’s parents still living in Wheaton, and Jeanne’s parents still living in Arlington Heights.
From 2015 to 2017, Pastor Jon was the student ministry director at Princeton University for Christian Union. Before that, he was high school and college pastor at College Church in Wheaton for six years. From 2005 to 2009, he was in residency training at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, where he became assistant pastor.
Jon is married to Jeanne, and they have four daughters: Adelyn, Averie, Emilie, and Lucy.
Ron Walkup, Ruling Elder and Clerk
Ron Walkup, has been a resident of the Chicago area his whole life. He came to faith in Jesus Christ in the mid 1990’s and has been a member at Spring Valley since 2000. He is married to Sonya, and they have two children, Anna and Noah. Ron is an electrical engineer by degree and writes software for electronics for his livelihood.
Ron has been an elder at Spring Valley since 2006. Ron speaking of his role as elder says, “I am grateful for the call to be an elder here and also humbled by the responsibility. 1 Peter 5:1-11 is the passage I should be looking to more and more and praying through as I continue this role. It stresses the need to be reliant upon God’s grace to lead God’s people willingly, and eagerly but not in a domineering way. Additionally, these verses call me to humility and prayer. And regarding prayer, it is very encouraging to know that the people of Spring Valley are regularly praying for me and the other elders. We cherish these prayers knowing God is using them to help us fulfill our calling.
Pablo Herrera, Ruling Elder
Pablo has been a member of Spring Valley since 2007 and an elder since 2009. When he came to an understanding of the Reformed Faith, he searched for a church that shared those beliefs and found Spring Valley on the internet. He and his wife Angela stayed at Spring Valley because of the sense of community and emphasis on expository preaching.
Pablo is from River Grove (a Chicago suburb). He and Angela were married in 2006, and have two children, Isabel and Stephen. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Trinity International University in 2007, and was licensed to preach in July of 2017 by the Chicago Metro Presbytery. He is currently pursing his Master’s degree through Reformed Theological Seminary. In his free time, Pablo enjoys weight training, martial arts, reading all sorts of genres, listening to good old thrash metal, movies, apologetics, and spending time with his wife and kids. He also loves food and cooking, especially Mexican food, pizza, and steak.
“As an elder it is my role to shepherd the flock. I do this by being in constant communication with those whom I have oversight and in discipleship. I regularly pray for the flock of God and make myself available to the needs of the people. I also love the opportunities to preach.”
Contact Pablo at pablo.herrera@springvalleypres
Gary Templin, Ruling Elder
Gary originally discovered Spring Valley Presbyterian via the PCA online Church Directory. He first visited Spring Valley in 2007 and joined as an active member in 2008. He says that he fell in love with the church’s commitment to the Gospel, Biblical Understanding and Truth.
Gary is a graduate of Washington (DC) Bible College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Master's of Divinity. He has diverse ministry experiences, including Instructor in Communications and Doctrine at The Korean American Educational College in Chicago, Grief Share Program Leader, and currently Mentor with The C. S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program in Chicago.
His Elder Role responsibilities include: Oversight of Small Group Bible Study and Children’s Christian Education.
“True, effective and enduring discipleship making is all about relational investment around God’s Word in the spirit of accountability, which ultimately must begin with our own daily personal relationship with the Triune God.”
Gary is a lifetime resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is the “ultimate” Cubs fan, having attended least one game a year at Wrigley Field since 1965. He is founder and operator of Windy City Hitman Entertainment since 1989.
Noah J. Toly, Ruling Elder
Noah has been a member of Spring Valley since 2007, and an elder since 2012. On finding Spring Valley, Noah says, "We used the PCA directory to find Spring Valley, and it was Spring Valley hospitality that made us stay."
Noah is originally from Southern California, and has been married to Becky since 1999. They have three children, Joe, Ben, and Rose. Noah is the Director of the Center for Urban Engagement and an Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Politics & International Relations at Wheaton College. In his free time, Noah enjoys fishing with his kids, golf, and photography.
“One of the most important and rewarding roles of the session is to oversee how all of the pieces that contribute to the spiritual life of the church are coming together to make a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”
In addition to serving as an elder, Noah occasionally teaches Adult Sunday School. He has also been involved with small groups and the Missions Committee.