leadership @ Life in the city


Val Sansing - Lead Pastor

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Val was appointed to be the planting pastor of Life in the City UMC in July 2014. Her work serving as a pastor in three United Methodist Churches since November 1999 has prepared her to take on this important role of leading the new faith community in reaching the growing population of downtown Austin. She recently moved to 78704, loves urban living, and hopes to contribute to the unique vibe that makes downtown Austin so special. Val is excited by all the interest the new church is generating and will be working to connect people to the abundant life and love God offers us so graciously.


Chansin Esparza - Associate Pastor

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Chansin Esparza serves as our Associate Pastor. She has a background in overseeing connection ministry, youth ministry, journalism, and managing a nonprofit office. She completed a Master of Divinity degree from Truett Seminary at Baylor in 2013, receiving the highest honors of her class. Some of her favorite things about church are LifeGroup discussions, celebrating holidays and milestones together, digging deep into Scripture, and having a family with whom to journey the ups and downs of life. Chansin loves making new friends. 


Sarajane Dailey - Artistic Director

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Life in the City Artistic Director, Sarajane Dailey, is a full time performer and has recently joined the faculty of the University of Texas Department of Theatre and Dance. She performs in a wide variety of genres from classical to pop with concerts at Carnegie Hall and the SXSW Music Festival, but her most rewarding work is with the Arts Team at Life in the City. She has two Grammy nominations with the amazing ensemble Conspirare, and her CD called Shelter is distributed internationally on the Naxos label. She is the proud wife of Austin Symphony Conductor, Peter Bay, and the mother to their beloved son Colin Bay. For more you can go to www.meladailey.com.


Jason Esparza - Pastor to 20s and 30s

Jason is from Sugar Land, Texas and graduated from the University of Houston. He has been working in the insurance industry for over 14 years. While working, he attended Truett Seminary at Baylor and graduated with a Master of Divinity in December 2015. He has a heart for connecting people to one another and to a deeper relationship with God. Jason plans to continue to serve Life In The City without pay in a bivocational role. He enjoys playing golf and participating in endurance sports. He completed his first Ironman triathlon in 2015. Jason and his wife, Chansin, have a miniature pinscher and one son named August.


Amy Wendland - Director of Media Tech

In her role as Director of Media Tech, Amy fills a variety of technical and church duties. She has expertise in social media, messaging and collaboration and church membership management. Amy has served in many church leadership roles as an adult group leader, lay speaker, and leadership training facilitator. Amy holds degrees in Theology and Business Management. She has been a professional IT leader for 20 years and currently serves the state of Texas as an IT Director. She and her husband Mark are excited to be a part of the ministries of Life in the City.


Adam Fambrough - Business Manager

Adam has been involved in the United Methodist Church for over 10 years. He served as the treasurer for the former Grace United Methodist Church. Adam has a degree in Finance from the University of Houston…go Coogs! Since graduation he has worked for the State of Texas in benefits administration with special focus on implementing new business processes.


Katie Apple - Campus Manager

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As Life in the City’s campus manager, Katie manages the physical needs of the campus as well as the revenue-generating uses of the property with the goal of making Life in the City financially self-sustainable. She also works closely with the music ministry in the area of music administration.

Katie has over 10 years of non-profit experience spanning the disciplines of fundraising, event planning and artistic personnel management. She has a heart for people and a mind for logical planning. When not at Life in the City, Katie teaches classes in music business development to aspiring record producers and audio engineers and is developing her new company, Wayfinder Artist Management.

Katie absolutely adores animals, especially her dog Maisy and cat Leo!