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The River of Life staff is here to serve you.
Our leadership team recognizes the authority of God, and realizes that we are shepherds who serve under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We desire to devote ourselves to prayer, to the ministry of the Word and the care of our congregation.. 

Apostle Leonard Cook

Apostle Leonard Cook, Founding Apostle

Senior Pastors Leonard and Dr. Janet Cook planted River of Life Christian Center in the heart of Elkhart, Indiana, in 1996. Married 45 years, the Cooks raised three daughters.
In 1980 Leonard accepted an ordination to the position of Elder and was licensed with the Indiana Ministerial Association. He later attended Indiana Christian University in South Bend and continues to expand his Christian education. As a third generation minister, Leonard possesses a strong mentoring and fathering anointing to position people in their call through guiding, teaching, and training.
Leonard remains involved in outreach to the inner city through prayer walking and prayer gatherings. His civic involvements have included Commissioner of the Elkhart Housing Authority, and he has served on several boards and committees in Elkhart and St. Joseph County. Like the apostles in the New Testament, he has helped oversee events in the church and city, serving as a dedicated Elder and Gatekeeper. Apostle Leonard is currently on sabbatical.
Dr Janet Cook

Dr. Janet Cook, Senior Pastor

Dr. Janet Cook is one of the leading Christian Counselors in our area. She graduated from Trinity Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Counseling. She completed her undergrad work and earned a MA in Christian Ministry at Indiana Christian University (ICU). Janet serves as the Dean of the River of Life School of Ministry as well as director of Healing Streams Counseling Ministry.
She is endorsed by The Institute of Motivational Living as a Certified Behavioral Consultant and is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor with the American Association of Christian Counselors. She hosted a radio program for several years named “Word of the Lord”. It aired on 103.1 FM weekdays from 12:00-12:15.
Together Pastors Leonard and Janet make up a powerful Apostolic-Prophetic team, demonstrating God’s will for husbands and wives to stand side-by-side and minister the Gospel.
Pastor Venessa Peterson


Pastor Venessa Peterson
Pastor Venessa is a member of the original team who planted River of Life in 1996.  She has served alongside Senior Pastor, Dr. Janet Cook for over 20 years.  Venessa is married to Jay Peterson and is the mother of three beautiful children.  
Pastor Venessa is a vital part of helping to oversee the ministries of our church.  She serves as Associate Pastor and oversees the Ministry of Helps Team, Highest Praise Music Department and the Student Ministries as well as any other responsibilities she is assigned.
Laura Manley
Laura Manley, Church Administrator
Laura Manley serves as Church Administrator and is the registrar for the River of Life School of Ministry. She began as a volunteer in the office in 2009 and was offered a staff position the next year. Laura earned her Bachelor in Business Administration in Finance in 1986 from the University of Houston. During that time, she met her husband, Richard, and they have been married 34 years.
Laura served extensively in the Superior Court and Mesa Municipal Court systems in Arizona from 1987 through 1999, when she and Richard moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Laura became the Administrative Secretary at Restoration Fellowship of Pagosa Springs. She and her husband led a Jewish Roots study group, and she served on the Cleansing Stream Retreat worship teams. She and Richard went on the mission field for three months in 2006, serving as administrators at Nido Del Aguila (Eagle’s Nest), a Christian orphanage in Solola, Guatemala. They moved to Elkhart in 2008 to be near family.


Laura is a member of the Supernatural Team at the River of Life, serving as a Restoring the Foundations Minister. She has earned her Associate of Arts in Christian Ministry at the River of Life School of Ministry. She is a teacher in the School of Ministry and in Abundant Life Groups at the church and currently serves on the team for Deeper Still of Northern Indiana, a ministry that conducts weekend healing retreats for both women and men who have experienced or participated in an abortion as the mother or father of a child.

Ron and Carole Denlinger
Sylvia Garza
Cheryl McIntosh
Jim and Carol Piekunka


Jerome McIntosh

Board Of Directors
Janet Cook
Aaron Denlinger
Ron Denlinger
James Duncan
Jerome McIntosh
Angela Moisenko
Gabe Moore
Venessa Peterson
Carol Piekunka
Connect With Us!
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