Grace Community Church of Riverside: To take Jesus Christ to lost people and lost people to Jesus Christ

God established three institutions on earth to regulate human behavior this side of the “Millennial Reign” of Jesus Christ. 

First, God designed the family in Genesis 1-2, and He designated the husband-father as His representative “head” of that basic unit. That is seen in the order of creation and is frequently referred to throughout the Old and New Testaments.  Wives and children are to follow the leadership of their husbands and fathers, and husbands and fathers are to lovingly and sacrificially lead their wives and children.

Second, God designed government in Genesis 9, two-thousand years after the creation of the family and immediately following the genesis flood. Prior to the genesis flood, man’s conscience was his only guide of social behavior—and man’s conscience failed.  So, God instituted government as soon as Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives, walked off the Ark. Citizens are to follow kings, presidents, and governors; and kings, presidents, and governors are to selflessly lead.

Third, God created the local church fifty days after the ascension of Jesus Christ back to heaven to provide spiritual direction for christians. The leaders of a local church are called pastors and elders. Christians are to follow the spiritual guidance of their pastors and elders, and pastors and elders are to humbly and sacrificially lead their local church.

Grace Community Church is led by a godly group of thirteen elders.

The Apostle Paul said to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus:

“It is a trustworthy statement; if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Timothy 3:1).

Then in I Timothy 3:2-7, Paul listed 15 specific characteristics to determine whether a man qualifies to be an elder in a local church. 

None of those qualifications for elders include:

  • Physical appearance (height, weight, hair)
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Charisma
  • Musical talent
  • Tone and quality of the voice
  • Speaking ability
  • Material wealth
  • Who they are related to
  • Who they know personally

And yet, many churches make the selection of their elders based exclusively on some if not all of the above ten criteria.

In the Old Testament, those were the criteria Israel used to pick their first king. His name was Saul, and he was a horrible king. God allowed Israel to make that tragic mistake so that when they chose their second king he would be the right one.  God told Samuel how to select Israel’s second king in 1 Samuel 16:7: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature... for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Grace Community Church has been very careful over the years to “not look” at a man’s “appearance” or “stature” in determining whether he qualifies to be an elder, but rather at his “heart.”
2016 Elders



Stan Brown
Ron Edmondson
Dennis Johnson
Frank Leonard
Conrad Maldonado
Greg McKie
Matt Pendleton
Tom Ryerson
Jeff Southern
Gregg Starbuck
Dave Swift
Nathan Zickert