• Michael moved to Roanoke and launched Journey Church from scratch in the fall of 2000. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in pastoral care, and a doctoral degree in preaching and leadership. He previously has worked as a pastoral counselor, college professor, prison chaplain, cancer hospital chaplain, and psychiatric hospital chaplain. He has written articles for books and magazines, has toured performing dramatically, and provides personal and professional coaching for other pastors, executives, and doctoral students. Michael and his wife Debbie have two children, Allison and David. He enjoys canoeing, camping, swimming, watching movies, and spending time with friends.

  • James moved from Texas to serve as Co-Pastor of Journey Church in August of 2018.  He has a Master of Divinity degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Truett Seminary at Baylor University.  James served as a pastor in Texas for 12 years. He has published two books, served on a number of trustee boards, and has passionately led Christians in racial reconciliation.  James and his wife, Shannon, have two children: Emma and Jackson. The Hassell's enjoy spending time with friends and especially like cheering their kids in gymnastics, dance, and musicals.  They also cheer on the Chicago Cubs!

  • Melody Irby

    Pastor of Worship


    Melody has lived her whole life in the Roanoke Valley. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from Roanoke College with a concentration in voice and music composition. She’s a certified NK-12 music educator and taught music in Roanoke County Schools for 12 years before being called into full-time ministry. Melody has played in a variety of secular bands. That's how she met her husband, Wayne, and eventually became the very proud step-mom of Zack. Melody is excited that Journey Church is a place where creative minds are encouraged to use their artistic passion for the purpose of building up God’s kingdom.

  • Jill Simmons

    Associate Pastor


    Jill grew up in a small community in western North Carolina and moved to Roanoke in August 2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy and a master’s degree in pastoral care and counseling. Jill and her husband, Ashley Simmons, enlisted in the United States Army and served in Texas, Hawaii, and Georgia. They have two daughters, Laney and Taylor. Jill enjoys spending time with family, running, cycling, hiking, camping and swimming.

  • Jackie Taylor

    Pastoral Associate


    Jackie grew up in the Roanoke Valley. She holds an Associate of Science degree from Virginia Western Community College. She enjoys spending time with her husband, John, and children, Ryan and Charlotte. Some of her hobbies include running, dancing, and reading. She has attended Journey Church since 2010 and is very excited to be on staff! 

  • Shannon Dillard



    Shannon and her husband Bobby are both from Botetourt County and now live in Vinton with their daughter Abbey. Shannon graduated from Lord Botetourt High School and has a Paralegal Certificate from Virginia Western Community College. She enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her family. Shannon feels blessed to have found a church like Journey, is very excited to be part of the staff, and is honored to serve God and the people at Journey.