Rev. Van Dickerson

Mentoring Minister

Pastor Michael Pilla

Senior Pastor

Meet Our Pastors

Pastor Michael Pilla

Senior Pastor

Pastor Michael Angelo Pilla

Senior Pastor

Pastor Van Dickerson

Mentoring Pastor


Pastor Norton Lawellin

Worship Pastor

After growing up in a drug infested neighborhood of Chicago, Pastor Van Dickerson, eventually relocated to Minneapolis where he found Jesus.  Van is a strong godly Christian man, a son, a father, a grandfather and a recovered addict. Van is a quiet man, but God has other plans and has brought him to a place where his old habits, can now help reach those lost souls caught in the web of addictions. It is with that purpose in mind that Van works at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, a faith based drug and alcohol treatment facility. God has transformed his life and now he wants to continue helping others as a pastor of JICF. Van says; "I have found that my life is so much richer when I have someone to share what I have learned."


As the Mentoring Pastor, Bible Study leader and also a speaker at Metro Hope Recovery Center, in Minneapolis, Van is committed to reaching out to those who are homeless, impoverished, mentally ill, and suffering from addictions. Van states;   "through outreach, mentoring, and counseling, we can assist others in the transformation of their lives. We are focusing on meeting people’s spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical needs at JICF."


Van is currently enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College where he is pursuing his AA degree in Addiction Counseling with a Human Service background.  After completion at MCTC, Van anticipates attending Metro State University to recieve his 4-year degree. For fun, Van is leading a Men's basketball group in the gym located at the Oliver Building; two Saturdays a month, while serving at Metro Hope Ministries, and as a recreational planner and with the MNTC Basketball League.


Van states with conviction; "I will continue my walk and continue sharing my testimony, to make a positive change in the lives of those that God has chosen to put in my path.  Praise God, and I look forward to meeting you soon at JICF."

Dale and Roberta are both retired and in the twilight years of ministry, and yet they are still going strong. They have been married for 50 years and love serving the Lord. Starting out in life Dales family, while hard working was poverty striken, but this taught young Dale how to survive. Roberta, the oldest of nine children, was raised in a preacher’s home.


Early in their marriage Dale and Roberta both knew that God had major plans for them in ministry. After having three children through fifteen years of marriage, Dale was striken with a debilitating cluster of headaches, but our faithful God healed Dale and shortly thereafter Dale and Roberta moved from Illinois to Minnesota, where Dale entered college in preparation of their future in ministry. Dale finished his studies with three Bachelor of Sceince degrees in: Pastoral Studies, Christian Education, and Psychology, while Roberta holds an AA degree in accounting.


During their journey with the Lord, they have experienced many trials and tribulations, including Dale being disabled, and family members becoming addicted to drugs. Through many years of experience, Dale and Roberta have worked with church based programs similar to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and they have also co-lead children’s churches.


Dale has been an education leader, Associate Pastor, teacher and Bible Study leader, a Men’s fellowship leader and mentor for men in recovery. Roberta has served as a teacher, Women’s Ministry leader, and volunteer at a women’s recovery program, while  working with the children. Through these experiences God given them empathy and compassion for the work they do at JICF.  Dale and Roberta both state; "We love serving the Lord, and hope that God will give us many more years to serve Him!"  

Pastor Norton Lawellin grew up in South Dakota where he was very fortunate to have been raised by godly parents that taught him that attending church and trusting in Jesus would have a very positive outcome on his life. But even though Norton attended church as a youth, it wasn’t until he attended a Bible Study in college that he made his own personal decision to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  


During college, their small Bible Study group visited the Navigators in Colorado Springs for basic Bible training, where they served as counselors for Billy Graham events.


Norton has always had a God given talent for music, which led his career path to the music industry and to his current role at JICF as Worship Pastor.  Norton has been a worship leader at several churches in the past, and also served on church councils for six years in several capacities: treasurer and President.


Norton as extensive training in church leadership, especially in the positions of Worship Arts and Christian Theology. This experience has proven valuable since he has joined Jesus in the City Fellowship in early 2012, and has since become an Ordained Minister.


Norton states; "I believe God is planning big things at JICF!" The JICF Worship Team consists of two permanent singers, a guitarist, a bass guitarist, a saxophone player, and our drummer who has been with JICF for 18 years. We have four other pastors who teach, mentor, and lead small groups and chapel services.


Norton says; "JICF is a Bible teaching church with sound theology. It's a pleasue and a privilige to serve with the staff at JICF and I look forward, with anticipation each day, of what God might bring to us!"

Pastor Retha grew up on the mean streets of Chicago and walked in the wilderness for 28 years, until a street evangelist led her to Christ.  Retha became a born again Christian on August 16, 1989 and has served the Lord everyday since.


Her love for the Lord has led her to work in many capacities, including street outreach, bible study leader, and mentor to women living in difficult circumstances. Retha has been instrumental in the founding of non-profits that serve at-risk families.


Retha has evangelized on the streets of Minneapolis (South and North sides) since 2000, earning her the ABBY award from Abbott Northwestern Hospital for her street outreach and community service in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods.  In 2010 Retha received the "Who's Who in the Community" award from Bethel University for her outreach and community service in North Minneapolis.  Through her evangelizing tenure, Retha has become a surrogate grandmother to more than 60 youth, young men and women in the Twin Cities area. Also she mentors women who have and are becoming transformed by the renewing of their minds through Jesus Christ.


Retha presided as Senior Pastor over Judah Rising house church in North Minneapolis from 2003 until 2008 when the church merged with Believer's In Christ where she served as Evangelist and Assistant Pastor.


Retha has been blessed with the spiritual gift of intercessory prayer and is a fervent prayer warrior. Her humble, yet tireless, service to the Lord is an asset to the greater Church.


Retha joined Jesus in the City Ministry as Associate Pastor of Family Ministry in March 2015.  We at Jesus In The City Fellowship are pleased to have Retha serving as our Associate Pastor of Family Ministry.

Pastors Dale & Roberta Rader

Serving & Mentoring Pastors

Pastor Retha Dowells

Pastor of  Familiy Ministries

Pastor Michael Angelo Pilla was an international award winning jewelry designer an goldsmith before being called to Urban Ministry. Pastor Michael grew up in St. Paul's Lower East Side, also known as "Little Italy." He came to Christ in August 1988.


He received his calling to Urban Ministry in 1992; but he was reluctant to leave the jewelry industry so abruptly. However, he surrendered to the Lord and this moment marked the beginning of Michael's journey into ministry, which led to him to attend Bible College/Seminary for preparation to fulfill the work, which God had called him to do.


As he was studying in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 58:6-14), God spoke to Michael and gave him the vision for "Jesus in the City Fellowship (JICF)." In the weeks that followed, the Lord revealed His broad vision to Michael: "bring healing to the inner city of Minneapolis."


Having completed his training in Ministry, Theology and Evangelism; Pastor Michael received Bachelors Degrees in Ministry, and Masters degrees in Biblical Theology and Christian Apologetics.


Pastor Michael has a passion for reaching the broken hearted and those who are not walking with Jesus Christ.


As Senior Pastor of JICF, the ministry continues to fulfill God's vision to bring Christ into the lives of families, men, and women in Minneapolis. Pastor Michael welcomes the opportunity to meet you and encourage you to develop a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have already invited Christ into your heart, then Pastor Michael and his staff can assist you, and the entire family, in strengthening your relationship with God.







Pastor Van Dickerson

Mentoring Pastor