We believe only broken people see their need for the Gospel. Therefore to be a citizen means you have found a big gospel in Jesus as hope for your brokenness.



Justin Karl

Lead Pastor


Charlie Llambes

Worship Director

Karl family 2019 BHM.jpg

Justin’s Story

Justin and Alana met one another and began following Jesus at the University of Georgia. Upon graduation, they married and, foregoing careers in politics and accounting respectively, joined staff with Cru (‘Bama Cru!) at the University of Alabama. During these years, the Lord grew their hearts for the local church, international students, and the beauty of a racially and economically diverse church.

For the past six years, Justin has served in a variety of staff roles at Sojourn Church Midtown in the city-center of Louisville, Kentucky, concluding as the Pastor of Next Steps and serving on the teaching team. In the fall of 2015 (the eve of seminary graduation), Justin conducted a survey of twenty mentors and friends asking them: “What is my BEST fit in the kingdom of God?” Their affirmation was unanimous and matched what was already stirring in his heart: Justin should pastor, preach, and particularly plant a new church sooner rather than later. After a few more years of prayer, affirmation, and training, the Karl family (and a core team) were sent out to plant Citizens Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Justin enjoys fishing, reading, and the NBA. He holds degrees from the UGA (B.A., International Affairs and B.A., Religion) and a Master of Divinity from Southern Seminary. Alana and Justin are celebrating their 10th year of marriage (2009) and have two children, Eloise (2015) and Tyler (2018).


Leadership Board

Citizens is led by our lead pastor, Justin Karl, and currently governed by an external board of elders. After a season of initial growth and raising up of qualified men, Citizens will be led by a local elder team, served by deacons and deaconesses, and congregation-affirmed. While the external board is temporary, we are very thankful for their love, care, prayers, and encouragement in this season.

Jamaal Williams

Lead Pastor of Sojourn Church Midtown, Louisville, KY

Luke Barker

Former Executive Pastor of Sojourn Community Church & CPA, Naples, FL

Clay Ebersold

Core team member, and owner of Canebrake Co., Birmingham, AL

Joel Busby

Lead Pastor of Grace Fellowship, Birmingham, AL