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Leadership

Pastors & Staff

D. Darrell Griffin

Senior Pastor


Reverend Dr. D. Darrell Griffin, D.Min. is a Senior Pastor, a certified Ministry Coach and Enneagram Trainer who is committed to educating, empowering and transforming the lives of God’s people.  

Since January 2000, Dr. Griffin has served as the Senior Pastor of the Oakdale Covenant Church of Chicago, Illinois. Under Dr. Griffin’s visionary leadership, Oakdale continues to be recognized as a haven of hope and spiritual transformation in the community and has become known as “A Great Church, with Great People, Serving a Great God.”  His commitment to a holistic ministry has manifested itself through the tremendous growth of Oakdale, the expansion of Oakdale Christian Academy and Child Care Center, the establishment of the Oakdale Community Development Corporation to impact the needs of the Brainerd/Washington Heights community,  and the Reconnecting Center which assists in connecting Oakdale to the needs of our brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa.  

Dr. Griffin’s unique leadership has successfully reached youth and families through the establishment of Oakdale Youth Church,  Dr. Griffin has led the Oakdale congregation in a multi-million dollar renovation of Oakdale’s sanctuary and the acquisition of additional properties to accommodate the ongoing growth of this vibrant ministry.  His wonderful transition and change skills have successfully created a congregation for every generation.

Dr. Griffin’s distinguished ministerial experience extends back to his years of service as the Assistant Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York, pastored by Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III.

Dr. Griffin was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and educated in the Kenosha public school system.  He continued his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Marketing (May 1987).  In June 1992, Dr. Griffin completed his Masters of Divinity Degree at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   He successfully completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in Preaching at North Park Theological Seminary (May 2006). Dr. Griffin is the author of Navigating Pastoral Leadership in the Transition Zone: “Arriving in the Middle of the Movie” (Chicago: MMGI Books, 2012) and it has become a resource to assist congregations and pastors through challenging maze of a transition in pastoral leadership.  Dr. Griffin has also published several articles on transition in The Covenant Quarterly(August 2007) and The African-American Pulpit Journal (Spring 2008). Dr. Griffin is a trained spiritual director earning his certification from North Park Theological Seminary’s Center for Spiritual Direction (August 2009).

From January 1997 to December 1999, Dr. Griffin served as the fourth Pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York.  Under his pastorate, Antioch doubled its membership, established the Antioch Development Corporation, a comprehensive program to help revitalize the Bedford Stuyvesant Community, the Antioch QUEST Institute, which provided career education and computer technology training for youth, adults and seniors, The Caring Educators in Action, a support group for community teachers and administrators and the Antioch Educational Resource Center which collected and distributed educational supplies to community teachers and students in need.

This gifted preacher and leader continues to be invited to speak at churches, corporations, and educational organizations throughout the country.  

Justin Cain

Youth Pastor

Justin Cain was born in Center Ridge, Arkansas and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. After graduating from Oak Park River Forest High School Justin furthered his education at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas earning a degree in Philosophy.  After serving as a Youth Pastor in the Baltimore, Maryland area Justin returned home to western suburbs. In April of 2019 Justin was joined  Oakdale' as its fourth Youth Pastor. Currently Justin is enrolled at North Park Seminary seeking a Masters of Divinity degree

Don Davenport

Associate Pastor

Donald Davenport was born in Chicago Illinois. He sensed a call of God to be involve in God’s ministry through thru various Church and Christian organizations.
Dr. Davenport previously served as Senior Pastor of the Community Covenant Church in Calumet Park, Illinois for twenty one years. He was the Director of Church Planting and Congregational Life in the national office in Chicago of the Evangelical Covenant Church for 12 years.

He is the recipient of several awards. One such example is a Proclamation by the United States Congress for Community Service in 1993 which is now filed in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. He was honored by the Calumet Park Illinois city council with a street named in his honor. Dr. Davenport is a member of the American Christian Counseling Association. He has traveled, preached and taught through out the United States and Internationally. He received his bachelors degree from Southern Illinois University, Garrett Seminary (graduate theological school of Northwestern University) and his doctorate in counseling from Bethany Seminary. He received the highest award in the denomination, The Irving Lambert Award and recently, the Life Time Achievement Award.

Dr. Davenport has published a book Healthy Stages in Male and Female Relationships, which is now available online through Amazon. Dr. Davenport recently was the lead pastor who successfully saved his former church that was about to close its doors. Under his leadership, it became healthy and vibrant. He has now transitioned to give leadership consulting and counseling ministry for churches and marriages called “Harvest life International.” He completed a leadership book entitled The Intentional Leader in the Fall of 2015.

Dr Davenport is the husband of Frances, a former school teacher. They have five children and live in Tinley Park Illinois.

Terrance J. Smith

Music & Arts Pastor

From birth, Terrance J. Smith has encompassed a passion for music that could not be bridled. He started singing in his local youth choir at the tender age of three. Thereafter, he began cultivating his love for music and quickly embraced his gift of direction at the age of nine. God’s hand is evidently upon Terrance’s life.
While working tirelessly in his local church, Mr. Smith sang and directed in his schools’ choir from the third grade continuing throughout high school. During this time, Mr. Smith joined the internationally renowned, Walt Whitman & The Soul Children of Chicago. With this choir, Mr. Smith has had the privilege of sharing the stage with famed artists such as Yolanda Adams, Mavis Staples, and Jennifer Hudson. He also traveled to Israel as part of The World Assembly of Choirs under the leadership of Walt Whitman. In efforts to reach the nations, Mr. Smith has traveled to Africa to teach music and spread the Gospel.

Upon joining the Oakdale Covenant Church, Mr. Smith became immediately involved with the music and youth ministries. Mr. Smith’s dedication to the youth spilled over to his vocation. In 2007, he became a staff member of the Oakdale Christian Academy. In January 2010, Oakdale Christian Academy answered the call of service upon receiving the news that a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti. A group of young people was assembled and charged with sending relief to Haiti. Upon the formation of this group, the Lord gave the vision to start the Oakdale Christian Academy Choir under the leadership of Mr. Terrance J. Smith. The Oakdale Christion Academy Choir consists of about 80-100 students between the ages of 7-14. Since their formation, OCA has performed at various venues throughout the Chicagoland area and abroad; they even took their hopeful message and joyful sounds across seas to Sweden in 2014. The choir’s repertoire includes, but is not limited to the gospel, spirituals, and inspirational music.

Mr. Smith prides himself on operating in the spirit of excellence while remaining faithful to God. He continues to diligently serve his church as the Director of the Music & Arts ministry. He desires to serve God and help His people. In essence, Mr. Smith is committed to using his ordained gift to reach the masses and continually strives to make a difference in his community and in the world. As such, Terrance just received a B.A., in Music/Conducting from North Park University in 2015. He is currently enrolled at North Park Theological Seminary seeking a Masters of Divinity degree. The best is yet to come!

Diane Smith

Church Board Chairperson

Diane has been a longtime member of Oakdale Covenant Church dating back to the days at 88th and Normal. Diane is a graduate of North Park University obtaining her B..S. in Nursing. She later furthered her education becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Diane is currently an instructor at Rush University.