Founding Pastor, Co-Lead Senior Pastor
Bob Balian is the Founding Pastor of Midtown Church, and currently shares the Lead Pastor role with his partner in ministry, Efrem Smith. Bob also serves as the Chaplain for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. He’s a UCLA graduate with a degree in Economics, and earned a Masters of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Bob grew up in Sacramento, and returned to Sacramento from Los Angeles to take over a family construction and engineering business. After becoming a bi-vocational Youth Pastor he sold his business, and became a full-time, Executive Pastor at BOSS (Bayside of South Sacramento) with the late, great Reverend Sherwood Carthen.
He then planted Bayside Midtown in 2011 with his beautiful wife, Letty Balian. They intentionally planted in the heart of Sacramento — one of the most diverse cities in the country– and have been intentional about fostering and nurturing diversity and racial reconciliation in the church since the very first day of its existence.
In May of 2021, Bob led his church in a change to become Midtown Covenant Church. Midtown Church has campuses in Sacramento, CA and Elk Grove, CA with a mission to bring hope, health, and healing to its cities, and looks forward to expansion in the near future.
Bob and Letty have one daughter, Taylor, who works as the Programming Director for Midtown Church.
Co-Lead Senior Pastor
Pastor Efrem Smith is an internationally recognized leader who uses motivational speaking and preaching to equip people for a life of transformation. He consults on issues of multi-ethnicity, leadership, and community development. Efrem is the former president and CEO of World Impact: an urban mission, church planting and leadership-development organization. He’s the author of several books, including his latest, “Killing Us Softly.” Efrem is a graduate of Saint John’s University and Luther Theological Seminary, and received an honorary doctor of ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary, and most recently earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in Church Leadership and Reconciliation Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Efrem is married to Donecia and has two daughters. He’s excited to be a part of all that God is doing in and through the Church. He and Pastor Bob are encouraged by the rapid growth of Midtown Church and are eager to work together and share the love of God throughout the Sacramento region.
Tyronne Gross Jr. is the Campus Pastor of Midtown Church, Elk Grove campus. A native to Northern California, Pastor Tyronne attended CSU Sacramento and majored in Business Communications. He joined the NFL in 2006, as a Running Back for the San Diego Chargers. During his second season in the NFL, he experienced what was considered a career-ending injury. Shortly after, he began volunteering as the Team Chaplain for ARC and SCC Junior Colleges in Sacramento, CA. He traveled throughout the country as a motivational speaker offering keys to success to students and business professionals alike.
In 2011, Pastor Tyronne and his wife Raquel founded The Table Community Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to serving youth and their families. The organization quickly grew, offering employment to over 180 employees and serving youth in after-school programs across two counties and 3 school districts. This was the start of operating in ministry “outside of the four walls.” In 2018, Tyronne answered the call to pastor and now serves in full-time ministry.
Pastor Tyronne and Raquel married in 2008. They are the proud parents of two amazing boys, Tyronne III (“Bubba”) and Tyrese (“Pooch”). They currently reside in Sacramento, CA.
Susie is a pastor, speaker and reconciler. She is Canadian by birth, Korean by heritage, Mexican by marriage, and American by immigration, but above all she is a Kingdom citizen. Susie is passionate about matters surrounding justice, equity, reconciliation, and the Gospel which encompasses it all.
Born in Toronto, raised in Vancouver, Susie moved to Los Angeles after college. Thinking she might pursue a career in journalism, she got a degree in Communications and Sociology. In her last year of college, she attended a college missions conference called Urbana, and sensed God calling her into full-time ministry instead. Susie and her husband Marcos started dating while they were students at Fuller Theological Seminary, where they both got their M.A. in Intercultural Studies. They decided to fully commit to the “intercultural life” by getting married and having 4 beautiful children together. After serving as a youth/young adult pastor and church planter in South Central L.A. for 14 years, Susie continues to preach around the country and now serves as Teaching/Preaching pastor at Midtown Church.
Adult Ministries Pastor
Groups, Classes, Mens, Womens
Associate Pastor, Elk Grove
Mens, Young Pros, Serve Ministries
Kids Ministry Director