About Our Staff

Meet Shawn, Senior Pastor

My name is Shawn Cornett and I am the Senior Pastor here at Griffith First Christian. I am married to Shannon and we have a son named Jonathan. I am a graduate of Lincoln Christian College in Lincoln, Illinois and have done post-graduate work at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. I have been the pastor here with GFCC since May of 2007 and we love serving God here!

Other tidbits of info:

  • My wife Shannon is also a graduate of Lincoln Christian College. 
  • I am a huge football fan. I root for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers. 
  • I also root for the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Blackhawks. 
  • You can follow me on twitter. www.twitter.com/ShawnLCornett
  • I blog at The Lavished Pauper at shawncornett.wordpress.com.
  • You can friend me on Facebook at facebook.com/ShansMan.
  • I grew up in Crown Point, Indiana. 
  • I studied acting at Indiana State University before transferring to Lincoln in 1996.
  • I have been to Haiti on a short-term mission trip. 
  • My wife Shannon played college basketball and was VERY good. 
  • We got married on the day after Christmas in 1998. 
  • We have previously served congregations in Atwood, Illinois and Forest Lake, Minnesota. 
  • I was ordained in 1997 at Town and Country Christian Church in Crown Point, Indiana. 
  • My favorite book of the Bible changes from time to time, but it is usually Romans or 1 John. 
  • The first book I ever preached was Philippians. 
  • My favorite Disney character is Dug from "Up".

Shawn can be reached at shawncornett@gmail.com.

Meet Brandon, Associate Pastor

My name is Brandon Rukes, and I am the Associate Pastor here at GFCC. What does that look like? In a major part, my job breaks down into two main categories... worship & groups.

I consider myself to be more than just the guy on stage, but the lead worshiper. This is because I fully believe that it is my great opportunity and responsibility to bring people into God's presence on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning (or any other time we meet), and realize that I am merely a fellow brother in Christ, coming alongside you to worship.

I also consider myself to be more than just the groups director, but a fellow brother in Christ who is in the same boat as you are. I am currently leading a group on Wednesday mornings, and I attend two groups on Sunday afternoons & Wednesday evenings. I find it so important to get involved in a Connection Group because life transformation happens best when you're growing with friends together.

I look forward to chatting with you before or after a service, or sometime during the week to get to know you better. But in the meantime, here are a couple things to know about me:

  • I am married to a beautiful woman, Celina, who helps challenge me to always do better.
  • I have one beautiful daughter (Bella), and another daughter (Anna) on the way shortly!
  • I have lived in Griffith nearly all my life, and I have been attending GFCC since I was enrolled in the God, Me, & ABC Preschool.
  • I have two cats, Merlin & Sargent Fluff.
  • I graduated with a degree in Accounting & Finance.
  • My favorite Disney Character would have to be Genie from Aladdin. 

Brandon can be reached at brandon@gfcc.net.

Meet Mindy, Children's Director

My name is Mindy Sarlea, and I am a lifelong resident of Hammond. I have a husband named Jon and one daughter named Leilani. I graduated from Purdue University Calumet (now Northwest) in 2004. I teach middle school language arts in Hammond. I have worked in children's and youth ministry at the First Christian Church of Lansing, Impact Christian Church, and Connect Christian Camp and Retreat Center. I have been active at GFCC for about two years now, and I am looking forward to getting to know all of you.

Other facts about me:

  • I love dogs. You can always show me pictures and videos of your dogs.
  • My favorite vacation is a cruise. I am partial to cruising with Royal Caribbean International, and my favorite port is Curacao.
  • I drink my coffee black.
  • My favorite season is summer, followed by Christmas.
  • My favorite place to be is around a campfire singing worship songs.
  • I love watching old TV shows. Some of my favorites are The Golden Girls, Full House, and The Brady Bunch.
  • I cannot stand onions or mayonnaise.
  • My favorite Disney character is Baloo because he's so carefree.
  • My favorite book of the Bible is James.

Mindy can be reached at mindy@gfcc.net.

Meet Sarah, Communications & Office Manager

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Dillard. I was born and raised Catholic and it wasn't until July 2019 that I felt I needed to step away from Catholicism and try a different path. My path ended up leading me to GFCC. I love working as the Communications and Office Manager for GFCC because I feel like I am doing something worthwhile. I love my team and feel so grateful God blessed me with this amazing opportunity. Some fun facts about me:

  • I have been married for 13 years.
  • God blessed me with girl/boy twins (Audrey and Ethan) and a younger daughter (Ava). They are my world. 
  • I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, Writing, and Film. I went on to pursue my Master of Arts degree in English from Northern Arizona University and graduated in 2015. 
  • I'm originally from Southern Illinois. My family moved up to NWI once I graduated High School. Right after my husband and I got married, we took off to Arizona and lived there for six years. I miss the desert everyday. 
  • Our family loves baseball! We are the most loyal and devoted STL CARDINALS fans you will ever meet. 
  • My favorite Disney character is Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I admire her ability to see past what's on the outside and fall in love with someone who is beautiful from within. 

Sarah can be reached at sarah@gfcc.net.