Elders

Elder Covenant of Care

We covenant to shepherd you, the flock at San Gabriel Community Church, for the glory of God. To this end we commit by God’s grace to treasuring and submitting to His Word, providing sound teaching, devoting ourselves to prayer, growing in personal Christlikeness, modeling godly leadership, equipping saints for ministry, protecting the Body from harm, and ensuring needed care, all in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because you are so dear to us, we desire to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our very lives, recognizing that we will give account to God for your souls.


Elders

Pastor Steve Balentine
Senior Pastor

Steve has been on pastoral staff since 1996. Since 2002 he has served as the Senior Pastor after overseeing Student Ministries for six years. The son of a pastor, he was born and raised in California, with most of his growing up years being spent on the Central Coast.  He moved back to Southern California to attend college where he met his wife Christy and never left. 

Steve has a B.A. in Biblical Exposition and an M.Div in Pastoral Ministries from The Master’s University and Seminary.  In his free time, he loves to be with his wife and two teenagers (Jonathan and Grace), play golf, make charts, maintain a saltwater aquarium and attempt to find the best coffee shop Southern California has to offer. 

Mr. Victor Dorado
Elder

Victor was born in East Los Angeles and came to know Jesus as Savior along with his brother and sister as they knelt beside the living room couch as their mother shared the Gospel message she received earlier that day. Among the greatest influences in Victor’s life were the men and women in a small Mennonite Brethren church in the heart of East Los Angeles. Many “old school” German Mennonites expressed their love for Christ by opening their homes and welcoming new families to join in meals, Bible studies, and family outings as they obeyed Jesus’ command to “…make disciples of every nation.” The lives of people with last names like “Wiebe,” “Enns,” Friesen,” “Hiebert,” and “Toews” –  who dedicated their lives to inner city missions and sound biblical teaching – left a lasting impression on Victor’s life and his walk with Christ. They also deeply impacted his wife’s decision to minister as a teacher in East Los Angeles for nearly 40 years.

Victor met his then future wife, Velia, in the first grade and in high school he shared the Gospel with her and she received Christ as her Savior. They have been married for 36 years, have a son named Matthew, and have been a part of San Gabriel Community Church since 1993. Victor has previously served as an Elder, Treasurer, and chaired the San Gabriel Christian School Board for two terms in the late 1990s. 

Victor holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (accounting emphasis) and a Master’s Degree in Taxation. Victor is currently the Director of IT Financial Compliance with a major entertainment company and is a part-time professor at Cal State, Los Angeles. Victor enjoys long, prayerful morning walks, spending time with his wife and son, and supporting young couples as they set up their household budgets and establish Biblically-based financial priorities. 

Among Victor’s favorite passages is Roman 8:37-39, as it speaks to the truth of God’s power to preserve His people. 

Pastor Greg Golden
Senior Associate Pastor

Greg was raised in a Christian home, but did not repent of his sin and follow Jesus Christ until after his first year in college. The Lord put a deep desire for ministry in his heart following this conversion, and Greg was called to the San Gabriel Community Church pastoral staff in 1981.

Over the years his responsibilities and titles have changed, encompassing student ministries, adult ministries, worship and music ministries, executive roles, school administration, and the SGCC Bible Institute. His current Senior Associate responsibilities involve coordinating ministries on campus, as well as teaching, training/equipping, member care, and involvement with the Worship Team. He is especially enjoying oversight of the upcoming 100th SGCC anniversary celebrations.

Greg and his wife Suzanne met at SGCC where they were involved in music ministry together, and were married in 1982. They have three adult children: Stephen (wife Becca, son Joshua); Tricia (husband Anthony, daughter Jenevieve); and Jonathan.

He has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Cal State LA, a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Master of Education degree in School Administration from Azusa Pacific University. For years he taught private piano, and he served as the announcer for a Christian radio program for over a decade. Greg, his siblings and his three children all attended San Gabriel Christian School.

Greg enjoys spending time with family, music, Biblical languages, reading, and projects around the house. His favorite authors include John Piper, Daniel Fuller, C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Pastor Dave Halverson
Associate Pastor, Outreach Ministries

Dave grew up in a Christian home and attended church faithfully, then while at he a junior high winter retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains he truly understood and believed the gospel. Throughout his teen years he was very involved in his church’s youth group, but it wasn’t until he went off to college that he experienced the first real test of his faith. Being immersed in a secular environment forced him to evaluate his faith in Christ, and thankfully at that crucial time, the Lord led him to an on-campus Christian fellowship. During his college years Dave was intentionally discipled by a mature believer for the first time, and God used this to expand his vision for the Great Commission and learn how to share the gospel with others.

Upon graduation, Dave and Kristen were married and then joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. They served for thirteen years with Campus Crusade from 1990-2003, reaching out to high school students in Minnesota and in the San Gabriel Valley. God blessed them during this time and gave them rich experiences impacting communities for Christ, networking with local churches, experiencing cross-cultural and international ministry opportunities, and beginning their family. In 2003 he began to serve at SGCC, first as the youth pastor, and then transitioning in 2006 to his current role in Outreach Ministries.

Dave received his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a minor in Religious Studies at USC, and then his Master’s of Divinity degree from Biola’s Talbot School of Theology.

Dave and Kristen were married in 1989 and have four children–Anna (husband Mike), Caleb (wife Heather), Abigail and Luke, as well as two grandchildren.

Dave loves being with his family (and highly recommends grandchildren!), trying new foods, reading great books, Dodger baseball, USC football, The Master’s University baseball and music, and traveling to visit SGCC missionaries.

He is thankful for everyday that he gets to serve Christ at SGCC. Dave believes that he and his family have been blessed by this church fellowship far more than they have ever given.

Mr. Gilbert Oberlander
Elder

Gil was born and raised in East Los Angeles. When he was 10 years old his father came to faith in Christ and that was the start of his family hearing about Jesus. It caused many problems in the home because Mom was against this conversion, but Dad was faithful to always tell the family about Christ and how they needed him alone for salvation.

Gil responded at age 24 to the call that the Savior was putting upon his heart to come to him. His life was turned around from trying to do things his own way. He was set free from things that were not pleasing to Christ, and a healing took place in his marriage, which was struggling. He now gives praise to God for keeping them together since 1977, and he looks forward to many more years with his wife Debbie.

Gil and Debbie have three wonderful sons–Joshua, who lives in Fontana; Matthew, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska; and Daniel, who lives in Arcadia. Daniel and his family also attend SGCC. Gil and Debbie have three great daughters-in-law, and four very wonderful grandkids.

He has been at SGCC since 1985, and had the privilege to serve in AWANA children's ministry for 12 years. At present, he serves in the greeter prayer ministries. He counts it a great joy to serve the body and Lord Jesus Christ in these areas. He is also part of the Horizons Sunday School Class and at times serves as a substitute teacher. He also has the opportunity to help disciple men at SGCC, which is a real joy.

After high school Gil went to four years of trade school which landed him a very good career in the Sheet Metal Industry from 1974 to 2013. He has been enjoying retirement since 2013.

He has enjoyed traveling through the states, and looks forward to seeing more of the nation. In the last decade or so he has enjoyed reading more than ever before.

Gil’s life and favorite verse is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This verse has seen Gil and his family through many difficult times. All praise to God!

Mr. Javier Ordaz
Elder

Javier was raised in Monterey Park, CA and grew up a Catholic. As a senior in high school he began to consider spiritual matters. He began attending the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), which unfortunately did not understand that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. It was in the mid-90’s that WCG experienced a transformation from heretical teachings to the true Biblical gospel teaching. Half the denomination believed the gospel. The other half did not, and so split and continues to this day in heretical teachings.

By God’s grace Javier believed the gospel. It was in 2005 that he came across the Grace to You (GTY) radio broadcast featuring sermons by John MacArthur. Due to the in-depth verse by verse teaching his spiritual understanding grew and he became exposed to other current and past reformed preachers. Unfortunately, WCG, which had changed its name to Grace Communion International (GCI), began to deviate from the true gospel. This prompted Javier and his wife, Linda, to look for a congregation that taught gospel truth and believed in the authority and inerrancy of scripture. They “discovered” San Gabriel Community Church was only two miles from their home. They have been attending since 2012.

Javier and Linda met at a GCI congregation and were married in 2008. Javier has a son (Jason, who also attends SGCC), daughter (Melissa), and son-in-law (Carlos) who are also believers. He has three grandchildren, Valerie, Alex and Natalie. Javier has worked in the investment industry since 1981 in account administration and operational roles, and in 2016 switched to a compliance role.

Javier serves on the Usher Team, supports the leader of the Men’s Basketball Ministry, and is a member of the Men’s Ministry Team.

Javier enjoys cycling (though these days he mostly looks at his road bike in the garage), and being involved with a men’s small group.

Dr. Greg Parsons
Elder

Greg was born in Florida and moved to the San Jose area in northern California soon after. He grew up there, came to Christ at a young age and was discipled from early high school on. He graduated from San Jose State University in 1978. He then started at Dallas Theological Seminary where, before starting the semester, he met Kathleen. They married in 1981. He graduated from DTS with a ThM in 1982. After ordination at Scofield Memorial Church in 1982, Greg and Kathleen joined the staff of the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM), now called Frontier Ventures.

They moved to Pasadena in early 1983, and joined SGCC late that year. They have two children–Andrew (wife Teresa) and Katelyn–and two grandchildren, who are also a part of SGCC.

Greg served on the Elder board previously and rejoined it after finishing his PhD at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in 2012. His dissertation is on Ralph D. Winter, the founder of the USCWM.

Greg was the Director of the USCWM from 1990-2010. Now his role as Director of Global Connections for Frontier Ventures takes him around the globe to meet, learn from and serve leaders. Greg also serves as the Chancellor and Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies at William Carey International University. He teaches and speaks in churches and in the course, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. He helps train other instructors for that course in Asia. He also writes a regular column in Mission Frontiers magazine, the bulletin of Frontier Ventures. He is working on several books and serves on several boards including Missio Nexus (a network of mission agencies and churches).

Greg is refreshed by mountain bike riding in the San Gabriel mountains – just 2 miles from their home in Pasadena. He really loves to spend time with his two grandchildren, seeing the world through their eyes and investing in their lives for the future!

Greg reads or “ransacks” a number of books each year on a wide range of topics. Because of his doctoral studies, he enjoys biographies and how they are written.

If he had to choose just a couple of favorite passages, Greg would pick 2 Corinthians 2:14–3:5, which begins with the words, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere”; and Luke 17:10, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

Mr. Jon Peirson
Moderator

If you have read St. Augustine’s Confessions, you may have had similar thoughts as Jon. He would read a passage and say, “Ah, here’s when Augustine got saved.” And then a little later he would think, “No, here’s where he gets saved!”

It was a bit like that for Jon. He grew up in a Christian home, and when he was 12 years old accepted Christ as his Savior. However, Christ played only a small part in Jon’s life throughout his high school days. Then in 1975 he found a book by C.S. Lewis entitled “The Great Divorce” and it changed his life. He proceeded to read everything he could find by Lewis and God used this to awaken his soul to the joy of a relationship with Christ.

He began attending a Bible-believing church and felt that in every sermon was God speaking directly to him. Jon also went through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee’s studies. But he always felt that his conversion was complete when his girlfriend Allison (aka Sunny, who is now his wife) brought him to San Gabriel Community Church where he studied the Bible with Steve Fuller, who was then the Assistant Pastor. That was in 1978, and Jon has been here ever since.

Jon thanks God for the many ways people and circumstances have been used to draw him closer to himself. Jon loves this church, its pastors, staff, and its members. Jon and Sunny have two children–a daughter Justine and a son Sean. A graduate of Cal State LA, Jon is a regional sales manager for Yamaha’s Professional Audio Division. He currently serves as the Moderator of the Elder Board of San Gabriel Community Church, teaches in the Veritas Sunday School class, and is involved in the Worship Team ministry.

Mr. Rich Rasmussen
Vice-Moderator

Rich grew up in Jos, Nigeria, where his parents served as missionaries. Rich was five when his father was called to serve as a senior pastor in Everett, Washington (and thereafter in Turlock, California), and his family relocated to the United States.

Although Rich was in the Word and felt he knew God growing up, he came to see a difference between what was in his head and what was in his heart. At Hume Lake summer camp when he was thirteen, Rich committed to make Christ the Lord of his life. He attended Biola College, minoring in Bible, with the intention of going into full-time ministry. Rich applied to Dallas Theological Seminary, and lived with the family of a professor in Dallas, but two circumstances moved his life in a different direction.

First, the seminary professor and other Christian men in Rich's life told him that God calls us to serve Him in different areas of giftedness and need (Ephesians 4), and that Rich wasn’t “selling out” if he chose to serve God outside of full-time ministry. In fact, the men counseled wisely, there was a great need for solid Christian men in the secular world.

The second circumstance was an unfortunate split at Rich’s home church in which he witnessed people who had mentored him, and family friends, fall into sin and tear apart the body of Christ. Rich surmised that if this was the way the family of God treats each other, then perhaps ministry in the church wasn’t for him. He decided to take a break from his studies to figure things out, teaching and playing tennis in Chevy Chase, Maryland and coaching Biola’s tennis team. During that time, God began to give clearer direction on his life, restoring his love for Christ’s bride, the church, and ultimately leading him to attend law school.

Rich has now practiced law for close to thirty years, and is a partner at the law firm of Anglin Flewelling Rasmussen Campbell & Trytten, LLP in Pasadena, practicing in the area of business and real estate transactional law. God has affirmed to Rich time and again that God desires him to live out the good news of the gospel in the business and legal community that he has placed him in, although Rich hasn’t ruled out attending seminary some day in God’s timing.

Rich and his wife Pam have two children, Daniel and Stacy, and live about two blocks from SGCC, where they have attended since 1995. Both of their kids attended San Gabriel Christian School from kindergarten through eighth grade. Rich and Pam enjoy having Bible studies and other church groups over to their house. Rich loves studying and teaching God’s Word, pursuing daily times of study, prayer and meditating on the greatness of our Lord, praising God for his mercy and forgiveness when he fails, and giving and welcoming accountability with those who share the common bond of Jesus Christ.

Rich enjoys sports – particularly golf, tennis, baseball (go SF Giants!) and ping pong. He usually has a crossword or jigsaw puzzle going, likes camping, enjoys evening walks with his wife or sitting around their fire pit, likes watching TV shows about Alaska (not sure why), savors a good meal and an espresso, and looks forward to any kind of family outing (they are more than half way through adventuring to all 50 states together).

If pinned down, Rich would say his favorite passage of Scripture is Joshua 1:8-9: “This Book of

the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Mr. Nate Smith
Elder

Nate had the privilege of growing up with two older brothers and one sister under the Christian leadership and love of his parents, who loved and served the Lord in the pastorate for 40 years. Nate committed his life to Christ at age nine and had the blessing of his Dad baptizing him when he was 14 years old. As a child, Nate loved Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” It has continued to be Nate’s heart’s desire to be God’s witness to the world. Nate’s parents served in three different churches in New York and one in Tucson, AZ while Nate lived under their roof. Nate’s Dad had a passion for global missions as well, and took the family on summer mission’s trips to Africa and Asia.

God gave Nate the desire of his heart when he was accepted at Wheaton College, where he enjoyed studying Bible and Geology and graduated in 1983. Nate was encouraged by his older brother to move out to California, and in 1985, Nate moved from Chicago to L.A. and began a career in sales. In 1989, Nate met Heidi at a Thursday night Bible study held in her parents’ home that over 100 young adults attended weekly. In February of 1990, Nate and Heidi married and in 1993 Nathan was born and in 1995 Stephen was born. It has been a joy to raise these sons and a wonderful blessing that God chose them at a young age to follow Him.

In 2004 Nate and Heidi started attending San Gabriel Community Church with their family. They had the privilege of being founding members of the Genesis Sunday School class, and continue to attend and participate on the leadership team. Nate also attends a weekly Bible study with men from Genesis class. Their sons Nathan and Stephen were both baptized at SGCC in 2013 by Pastor Steve. As a family they have been deeply blessed by the faithful, godly teaching of the SGCC pastors and teachers, and the genuine care and discipleship within the Body of Christ.

They are continually encouraged to trust in God’s sovereign plan as they follow God’s leading and purpose helping their son Nathan navigate life with special needs that challenge his motor planning and speech. Nathan is a beautiful testimony of trusting in God for every detail of his life and being patient with the family learns together. Nathan is grateful God “opened the big college door for him” and he is attending Biola University studying Bible. The iPad has been a wonderful asset to him, allowing him to type his thoughts, and the voice output software has even allowed him to give answers and presentations in class.

As a family, the Smiths enjoy attending sporting events, and playing basketball, tennis and ping-pong. Disneyland continues to be a family favorite. They also enjoy hosting game nights, dinner fellowships, and pool parties.

They desire to be iron sharpening iron and “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” Psalm 105:4

Mr. Bruce Wataru
Treasurer

Bruce was born in Honolulu, HI and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He went to Los Angeles High School and Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Bruce was in the U.S. Army as a military police officer for two years. He was a directory printer for 35 years before retiring.

Bruce accepted Jesus Christ as Lord in 1977. He was married to Fanny in 1979 and has one son, Joshua. The Watarus came to San Gabriel Community Church in 1986. Bruce has served in various ministries of the church and is currently serving as Sunday School Teacher for the New Establishment Class and as Elder. In 2006, the Watarus started Fanny’s Flowers and the shop is currently being managed by Joshua.

Bruce enjoys reading the Bible, the history of automobiles and astronomy. Bruce’s favorite verse is Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Mr. Fred Young
Secretary

Fred was raised in a Christian home in Nashville, Tennessee, and came to faith in Christ in his junior high years. A Christian camp ministry was influential in his coming to the realization of his total depravity and need for redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. As Fred faced the temptations of the teenage years, he realized the importance of being in fellowship with other believers, and attended a church that emphasized Bible teaching during those years.

Fred went to John Brown University for two years, and then Tennessee Technological University, graduating with an engineering degree. He enjoyed the close fellowship with other believers during those years and began to grow in Christ.

After graduation, he moved to the Los Angeles area, where he worked for C.F. Braun, an engineering company. A field assignment there relocated him to Denver, where he met his wife Linda through a ministry of Bear Valley Baptist Church. Fred and Linda were active in teaching Sunday School and working in outreach programs to singles and street people in Denver prior to their marriage in 1981.

Fred and Linda moved to L.A. in 1983 to help his aging parents. Looking for a sound Bible-teaching church, it only took a few weeks to discover SGCC, where they soon became members. Fred helped teaching the first grade Sunday School class, and found it to be a challenge and a joy. One of this greatest joys was to lead his young son Michael to Christ. Fred’s desire was to raise all the children that God blessed him and Linda with–if only one child–to be mature in Christ. In fact, that is Fred’s desire for all the members of his local body: to present them perfect in Christ. Fred believes in the power of God’s word to change lives. One way of seeing this happen is to give people he meets a copy of the Gospel of John.

Fred has served as both a Deacon and an Elder. His love for his church family has also included serving in the areas of the Deacon Benevolent Fund Committee and on the Global Outreach Team. Fred enjoys reading biographies, especially of Christian missionaries and teachers. He also like woodworking and traveling.