The Zillennial Experience: Faith, Justice, and Community
As younger Millennials and the first of Generation-Z are being ushered into adulthood [Zillennials], we are offering a panel discussion with young adults (YA) and YA leaders, influencers, and supporters. Our session makes room for exploration and engagement with YA culture. We will take a close look at what informs daily life for YA in the following areas: faith and spirituality, justice, community, and mental health and wellness. We will hear about the support YAs have and the support they need. We will also take a look at how the same areas of daily life and culture affect ministry leaders and supporters of YA.
Isaac Elizarraras is the Youth Leader at Iglesia Cristiana Biblica Eben-Ezer in Dallas, Texas and works with NBA’s Peer Learning & Wellness Groups as well as the Obra Hispana. His desire to serve was reignited at an NBA event for young adults in 2018. Since then, he has sought out different ways to serve where God can use him the most. He is the creator of “Advice You Didn’t Ask For,” a vlog where he shares his experiences and perspectives on life. As a young adult leader, Isaac takes advantage of opportunities to grow and support his peers.
Outside of ministry, Isaac finds joy in traveling and as a sneaker enthusiast, he is always eager to see where his feet may take him.
Alexa is currently a Disciples Divinity House Scholar at the University of Chicago Divinity School and will graduate from the M.Div program this spring. She is also in-care for ordination with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Illinois/Wisconsin region. Alexa first encountered the Disciples by way of her current church, Gilead Church Chicago, where she has been an active lay leader since 2018. This summer, Alexa and her husband, Jack, will move from Chicago to Lexington, Kentucky, where Jack will begin teaching at Transylvania University.
Rev. Jimmy Gawne
Rev. Jimmy Gawne has been an ordained Disciples minister since 2013. He has been working in youth and young adult ministry for 20 years and has served in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps since 2014. He is currently the chaplain on board USS Chosin in Seattle, Washington, and has previously served U.S. Marine Corps and Coast Guard units.
Rev. Gawne hails from Phoenix, Arizona, where he grew up and was ordained at Foothills Christian Church. His wife, Rev. Caitie Smith, is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and an associate clinical social worker in San Diego, California; they met while pursuing their M.Div degrees at Wake Forest University.
Alexis Tardy is a Minister and member of the National Benevolent Association Peer Learning and Wellness Group, La Lucha (The Struggle). Currently, Tardy works as an Organizing Associate with Children’s Defense Fund. Before returning to Indianapolis, Indiana in 2020, Alexis was the Program Director at Faith and For the Sake of All, where she organized trainings and workshops to end racial disparities in Saint Louis, Missouri. As a consultant for Urban Strategies, she’s also mentored youth and worked with families and community leaders in Ferguson, Missouri. Alexis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Womanist Preaching degree at Memphis Theological Seminary.
Rev. Rae Karim
Rev. Rae Karim is the Interim Young Adult Leadership Development Coordinator for NBA. She is a thought leader who pours lived experience into her work. She has served in various ministry capacities as Chapel Director at Christian Theological Seminary, and as a two-time history maker, as the first woman and person of color to pastor non-Black churches in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Honolulu, Hawaii. Rae is a dynamic speaker who empowers and transforms lives, committed to ensuring her work ignites courage on purpose for a purpose.
Rev. Virzola Law
Rev. Virzola Law is a Mission Specialist for NBA’s Young Adult Leadership Development program. She currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Northway Christian Church in Dallas, Texas. She is the first elected Black woman in more than 100 years to serve in this capacity in the congregation. Prior to being called to Northway, she served in various pastorates including Lindenwood Christian Church and Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church both in Memphis, Tennessee.
Before moving to Memphis, Virzola was Senior Pastor at Woodland Christian Church in Houston, Texas. She received her Master’s of Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas. She also worked on her master’s degree while attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and served as associate pastor at First Christian Church in Carrollton, Texas.
Virzola is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She enjoys a good book, traveling, lakes, oceans, and spending time with her friends and family. She is the proud mother of her young adult daughter, Jasmin Williams.