Jeff Schoch has been senior pastor of Abundant Life Fellowship since July 2008.
Before entering the ministry full time, Schoch worked as a print journalist for 27 years, starting as a reporter for The Salem News, spending the next seven years at The Morning Journal and then the next 19 years as an editor at The Vindicator in Youngstown. He also has taught news writing at Youngstown State University and has freelance edited several books. While at the Morning Journal in Lisbon, Schoch wrote a weekly column titled "Out on a Limb" for more than four years, winning three national Amy Awards, which recognize secularly published works that incorporate scripture.
A longtime member of Abundant Life, Schoch and his, Connie, have taught teens and young adults, led worship, sang in the choir, served as deacons and coordinated many events over the years. They have coordinated the annual Salem Community Thanksgiving Dinner for many years along with another local couple.
In 2003, Schoch began pursuing his master's degree in Christian counseling and pastoral care through Pillsbury College and Seminary in Bridgeton, Mo. He was ordained into the ministry in June 2008.
Schoch earned his bachelor's degree in communication arts in 1981 from Grove City College in Grove City, Pa. He graduated from Austintown Fitch High School in 1977.
He and his wife, who retired from teaching at United Local Elementary School in Hanoverton in 2011, have a daughter, Kaitlin, who graduated with a double major in early childhood education and special education (K-12) from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea in 2011 and works as an intervention specialist in language arts at Salem High School.
Schoch's outside interests include running (he ran his first and only marathon a month shy of his 50th birthday in 2009; buying and selling on eBay; attending auctions; playing cards; collecting diecast, tin and plastic Volkswagens; journal writing; beach bumming; canoeing and snow skiing.
One of his favorite authors is Lee Strobel, author of "The Case for Christ."
Schoch is the son of Fran Schoch of Austintown and the late Ron Schoch.