Gene AppelGene Appel

Eastside Christian Church
Anaheim, CA


Gene Appel, senior pastor of Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, CA, began his ministry as a 20 year old intern at Eastside. After moving on to pastor two of the largest churches in the nation—Central Christian Church, Las Vegas, NV and Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL—he returned in 2008 to lead Eastside into its next dynamic chapter. Since that time Eastside has experienced rapid growth, and in Fall 2012, relocated to a new campus in Anaheim, California. In 2013 and 2014 Eastside was named among the 100 fastest growing churches in America.

Following in the footsteps of his late father, a pastor and Christian leader, Gene sensed God’s call on his life to ministry at an early age. He received a B.A. degree in Preaching Ministry from Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois and has done additional graduate work at Lincoln Christian Seminary and Hope International University, who has conferred upon him an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

Recognized by many as a gifted leader with a passion for following Christ and a sensitivity for hurting people, Gene has coached church leaders from around the world on how to lead churches through healthy change. He is co-author of the book, How to Change Your Church without Killing It, and authored Dream Intruders and Healing Hidden Hurts. Additionally, he was an award winning television commentator on CBS2 in Chicago.

Gene, his wife Barbara and their daughters Alayna and Jenna reside in Orange County. Their adult son Jeremy lives in Chicago. Gene’s hobbies include boating, fishing, and water skiing.