Pastor John, a native of Miami, Florida, began to follow Christ as a teenager. When John’s family moved across town before his freshmen year in high school, they also changed church. For the first time he met young people his age who were excited about being Christians. They had a remarkable walk with the Lord and John wanted to know Christ the way that they knew him.
John married Christy Snyder in 1985, and they have three daughters, Kimberly, Katherine, and Betsy.
From 1984-1988 the Leonards served as church planters at The Redlands Community Church (PCA) in Homestead, where John was the assistant pastor. From 1988-1998 they served in France with Arab World Ministries and the Presbyterian Church in America, working with North African Muslim immigrants. From 1999 to the present John has taught practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
John holds a B.A. in Greek and Christian Education from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS (class of 1973), a M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS (1977), and a Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL (2006). His dissertation is entitled: Oasis: An Ethnography of a Muslim Convert Group in France. John is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.
John loves all kinds of sports and outdoor activities. He especially enjoys anything that has to do with water. He quips, “It does not make any difference if it is a lake or an ocean, or if I am on it or in it. It is all fun to me!”
When asked why he and Christy are committing to planting a church in the Mount Airy/Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, John replies, “We want to see all of the promises of God come true in a community of people. We want to be part of a church that is deeply committed to God, to one another, our neighborhoods, and the world.”