thien Doan

Lead Pastor


Favorite Verse: I have a lot of favorites, but right now Romans 8:18

My family came to America in 1975 snd you will know me as the oldest "2nd generation" Vietnamese person. I was raised in Da Hood of LA where I explored Catholicism and Buddhism before becoming Christian. Growing up, I nearly dropped out of high school and passed with an amazing GPA of 1.6. However, I now have 2 college degrees & will receive my doctorate in 2017.

I married my wife, Kerry, in 1999 and yes, we honored Prince and partied like it was 1999. We have 3 children- Stephen, Emily, & Elizabeth. Together we have lived in 9 different places during our marriage and now currently live in Fountain Valley.

A few fun facts about me: I cried when Magic Johnson retired and I'm a HUGE Lakers fan. I'm a movie & comic book nerd and I guarantee you I will beat you in any movie trivia or Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon. I also love to read book, particularly thrillers & business.

Why do I love Citylights?

Citylights is my family. Its a place where all people are welcomed, accepted & a place of authentic people. I find everyone understands finding and following Jesus is a lifelong process. God is doing something special at Citylights and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Matthew jili yang



Pastor Matthew Jili Yang is currently finishing his Doctorate in Ministry at Southern Seminary. He is a second-generation pastor and has significant experience in church planting and leading disciple making movements.

He is heading up "The Langzi Project" that focuses on reaching out to new immigrants from mainland China.

Kerry Doan

Children's Ministry Director

E-mail Kerry

Favorite Verse: Ephesian 2:8-9

I serve as the Children's Ministry Director and have a B.A. from UOP in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Special Education. I also went to Whittier College for a Masters in Teaching.  I have been married to Thien Doan since 1999 and have three children: Stephen, Emily, and Lizzie. 

An interesting fact about me is that I am an avid coffee drinker and chocolate lover

Why do I love Citylights?

I love the people! We are a group of authentic believers in Christ who are growing deeper in community together and in seeking to love God. I also low how you can come as you are to church and all are welcomed.

Why I love my ministry-

I love to see kids get excited to learn about God, their maker. It is my hope kids are understood, accepted, loved, & have a great time when they come to church. I am also really passionate about helping parents lead their kids into a growing relationship with Christ

JJ Frey

Worship Director

E-mail JJ

Favorite Verse:  Galatians 2:20

I currently serve as the Worship Director at Citylights and was born and raised in the South Bay- Gardena to be specific. I lived in the same house in South Gardena until I got married in June 2001. I was actually baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church and my family started attending Gardena Valley Baptist Church in 1983. When I was 9, I made the decisions to surrender my life to Christ and GVBC remained my home until coming to Citylights OC in 2014. 

I met my wife, Melissa, in high school where we quickly became friends when her father became the senior pastor of GVBC in 1994. We started dating during her freshmen year of college and dated 4.5 years before tying the knot. 

I joined the Marine Coprs right out of high school and served as a helicopter mechanic in the reserves until being discharged in 2013. During that time, I attended El Camino College and eventually transferred to Biola University where I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing and a minor in Biblical Studies. 

A few interesting facts about me is that I started to study music at the age of 6 when my parents decided it would be a good idea for me to learn the accordion (something I still give them a hard time about every time I have the opportunity). I eventually transitioned to the piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, Latin percussion, ukulele, and even a little trumpet. I love working with and learning from other musicians. I was given the opportunity to start leading worship when I was 16 years old and I absolutely love being able to serve God in this way. 

Matthew Milton

Student Ministry Director

E-mail Matthew

Favorite Verse: John 15:13 & Psalm 23

I serve as the Student Director of Citylights and have a B.A. in Biblical & Theological Studies from Biola University. I also have  Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Theology in Old Testament & Semitics from Talbot School of Theology. 

I have lived in California my whole life and grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, which is a real place. I met my wife, Cristy, at Biola as an undergrad. We've been married since 2007 and have been with Citylights since it's inception. I've been a volunteer, intern, and now a staff member.

A few interesting facts about is me is that I enjoy watching Star Wars & comic movies, cooking, hosting game nights, and listening to a wide range of music. I'm also an avid Anaheim Ducks fan and I've never owned any strange animals. Just cats & dogs.

Why do I love Citylights?

My wife and I found a family when we joined Citylights. For me, Citylights has been what the church should be- a diverse set of people who would not normally be in community but have become a family because of Jesus. This church has been a place of growth and a place for friends.

Why I love my ministry-

My vision & passion for the youths of Citylights is to see them grow closer to God, to love each other, and to make a difference in their lives and the lives around them. I want to impart a love for Jesus to the youths that is lifelong.

Grace xu

Communications Director

e-mail Grace

Favorite Verse: Psalm 27:4, 1 Corinthians 10:31

I serve as the Communication's Director for Citylights and graducated from UCR with a B.A. in English and a minor in Sociology. I'm currently fulfilling my hours towards my MFT license. 

I've known my husband, Sam, since our freshmen year in undergrad and started dating after we graduated. Ladies, there is no such thing as friendzones, you may find God breaking down those barriers! A few interesting facts about me: My dream job would be an international food journalist. I love watching documentaries and sloths have been my favorite animal since I was a kid. 

Why do I love Citylights?

My husband and I thought Citylights was a rare find. We were looking for a church with firm biblical teaching, genuine Christ seeking believers, and fellowship with a church family who are like-minded and sought to make a difference in the community. Citylights fit it all.

Why I love my ministry-

Since I started serving at Citylights, I've had the privilege of watching God move in the hearts of people as they transitioned from visitors to becoming part of the church family through the giving of their time, treasures, truths, and talents.