Manuel is passionate about God, authentic worship, and expressions of the arts by God’s people for His glory.
So what do you really do at the church? A lot of people think I’m the guy who sings behind the piano, and that’s true. But my passion at Oak Hills is to develop and pastor a community of artists who express their faith through their art, and to lead the church community to grow their hearts as worshipers.
Education: BS, Aeronautical Engineering, Cal Polytechnic State University, SLO. MBA, National University. Which makes me perfectly suited to be a worship pastor.
I grew up in: Salinas, California. I’m a born and bred California boy (unlike our mid-western senior pastor).
Family Info: I am happily and hopelessly married to Debbie, and we have four children: Eric, Justin, and teenage twins Rachel and Paige. Justin is married to Riley, so we also have a wonderful daughter-in-law, extended family, and new grandchild. We also have three cats from hell, but that’s another story.
Favorite book: Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs. There’s a whole chapter devoted to Neil Diamond.
Favorite movie: A few. “Braveheart.” “Sergeant York.” “The Seven Samaurai.” “Elf.” And also some goofy ones, like “Mystery Men” and “The Incredibles” (I relate to the Dad in that one).
Favorite team: The Oakland Raiders. Jesus was a friend to sinners.
Favorite color: Blue. It’s not just a color. It’s a mood, a style of music, a feeling, a hopeful sky.
Something we’d be surprised to learn about you: Actually, here are ten of them right here.
You’re stuck on a deserted island and boy you’re glad you packed your: Toilet paper.
Most notorious around the office for: Eating Pop Tarts.
Became a Christian how? I have a Catholic background, which I turned away from as a teenager. I came to Christ personally as a young adult.
Am particularly fond of/moved by/drawn to this verse: “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” It’s from The Message, Matthew 11:29. As a musician, it just rocked me when I first read this version.
Seriously though… Over the past few decades, I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to be and do church with some of the most amazing people on the planet. God has blessed us in so many ways. I’m grateful, humbled, and honored to be a part of Oak Hills.