Meet Our Team


Svetlana Papazov


Lead Pastor

Svetlana is happily married to her husband Michael. They have two beautiful children: daughter, Gabriella and son, Bryan.

Svetlana was born to a Christian family in communist Bulgaria, then later immigrated to the United States. She deeply cares about the holistic development of communities and has a heart to shape world influencers. Svetlana’s upbringing, diverse education, and work experience have intensified her passion to see cultures transform for Christ. She has successfully started and led four small businesses, taught at colleges and universities and pastored in various capacities. Svetlana, an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God, holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership from AGTS, along with Master’s degrees in Landscape Architecture and Theology.

While pastoring in Maryland, Svetlana established a Faith and Community Partnership Prototype, working with the St. Mary’s County School District to provide job readiness training and resources for parents and students.

Michael and Svetlana were stirred by God to plant in the greater Richmond area a unique model of marketplace church that integrates faith and entrepreneurship. They left their home in Maryland and, by faith, entered the mission field of Richmond Metro, a city they fell in love with and the one God has called them to serve.

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.