Meet Our Team


Svetlana Papazov


Lead Pastor

Dr. Svetlana Papazov is a thought leader, Lead Pastor and church planter who started and led five for profit businesses, a church and a nonprofit. She has been featured in and written for well-known publications and magazines such as Barna: The State of Pastors, Influence magazine, Evangel, Enrichment Journal and more.

Churches and associations hire Dr. Svetlana for training in leadership, team development and community transformation. She coaches leaders and entrepreneurs to craft and deliver captivating talks. As a speaking coach and business consultant, she positions churches and businesses for maximum influence.

What excites Dr. Svetlana the most is unleashing human potential and having a front row seat in the development of influencers. That is why she has intentionally transitioned from a life of a business owner of multiple enterprises to a life of an equipper of leaders. In 2016, she founded Real Life Church and Real Life Center for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Excellence, a first of its kind model of church and business incubator that connects faith, leadership and entrepreneurship. She especially loves coaching women in co-creating beautiful futures with God.

Dr. Svetlana is a sought after speaker who enjoys preaching and presenting at conferences, and events from coast to coast, and welcomes invitations for speaking, coaching and leadership training. She lives in Midlothian, VA with her supportive husband and has two children who are shaping into world influencers themselves. They all love their dog, Koko, the cutest Pomeranian anyone can imagine.

Michael Papazov


Executive Pastor / Worship

Michael is married to his sweetheart Svetlana, and is the dad to two great kids Gabriella and Bryan.

Michael is the Worship Pastor at Real Life Church where he oversees the music ministry and he is involved with the overall strategic operations of the new Church. He is a worship pastor and licensed minister of the Assemblies of God.  He started learning to play guitar and piano at age ten, and his love for music, theology and faith in Christ quickly merged together.

Michael’s heart is to connect people to Jesus Christ and help them develop a personal lifestyle of worship and become all God has made them to be. He loves incredible food, loves to laugh, loves to travel and loves connecting with people. He is excited to be a part of the Team and the Real Life Church family.

Michael received his Bachelor degree from SAGU in Waxahachie, TX, and his M.B.A. from Texas A&M University. In his professional career, Michael has diversified experience in project management, finance and information technology. His areas of expertise include program performance management, financial reporting and systems integration. These skills have proven vital in the church planting process.

Michael and his wife Svetlana have left the known and have stepped out in faith to see God do the miraculous in the greater Richmond area.



Lacey Self

Children’s Ministry Pastor / Creative Director

Lacey Self graduated with magna cum laude in pursuit of her bachelor degree in church planting from SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary, where currently she is continuing with her Graduate degree in Bible and Theology.  Originally, she is from Rayville, Louisiana. She has been in ministry for four years and has worked primarily with kids and youth. She is passionate about equipping the next generation to discover God and discover themselves in view of who God created them to be.