Joe Monto – “Cling to Jesus”


Pastor Joe Monto began his life very confused after his father died of a massive heart attack when he was just ten years old. He had no answers for why his dad was dead or how to fill the void that quickly developed in his life for stability and hope. During his teenage and young adult years, Joe turned to alcohol, unhealthy relationships, body building and steroids in order to fill the void. He spent countless hours in the gym working on his body-image in order to boost his self-esteem, but it only left him feeling more broken and unsatisfied.

Then in 1987, during a gym session, Joe was telling his story to his workout partner. A man named Mark overheard their conversation and invited Joe and his wife, Marisha, over to his house and told them about the hope of Jesus. He then invited them to church that Sunday at Harvest Christian Fellowship where Pastor Greg Laurie would share the gospel and gave the invitation to come forward. Both Joe and his wife went to the front of the stage that day prayed and received Jesus as Lord and leader of their lives.

Since Joe gave his life to Jesus he has had a hunger for God’s agenda and less for his own. Joe and his wife began marriage counseling, got baptized, he quit is job as a bouncer at a bar, gave up the steroids, and began his music ministry. He now has a passion to see the world come to know the HOPE that he met in 1987.

However, Joe’s life as a Christian has not been easy. In 1999, after having two children, tragedy would strike. This time, his wife was seriously ill, diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer, and would pass away 2 months later at the age of 34.

Death had struck again, but this time Joe had the Lord. When Marisha died, he clung to Jesus and relied on His strength. One year later, God brought Lisa into Joe’es life and they would go on to get married and tour the country as a christian family rock band. They now have three children together.

Joe came on board at Calvary Chapel South in 2008 working with the High School students and since 2012, the worship pastor. Joe has been blessed to see many teens raised up in this church and to serve alongside an amazing worship team and staff.

Since giving his life to Christ, God has restored Joe and continues to shape Him into the man of God that He has created him to be. The Lord is his victory, and the Lord can be your victory too.