Gardena Valley Baptist Church started over 100 years ago in 1914 with a simple heart to share the love of Jesus to children of immigrants from Japan. What started out with a handful of children in a little cottage has today become a vibrant community of faith bringing together hundreds of people from all generations in the South Bay.
All our staff are friendly and fun-loving people who have a real passion for Jesus.
I come from a rich heritage of ministers and missionaries, the son and grandson of American Baptist missionaries. I was raised in Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Israel. This legacy of being raised in multiple cultures and languages has helped me to serve Christ in diverse, cross-cultural contexts.
My eight years in Israel were spent doing undergraduate and graduate work at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and later I served as the Academic Dean of a Bible College in Tel Aviv. While spread over different decades, my years in the United States were spent completing graduate work at Fuller Seminary and later teaching at Azusa Pacific University. For fourteen years I led two churches in Southern California that were active in church planting and mission efforts. It was during my last pastorate in California that I responded to a call to serve at an international church in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to my pastoral duties, I launched a leadership training program that now functions in two African nations, as well as initiating a microfinance/business training program as a means of alleviating poverty. Upon my return to California in 2016, I served as an interim pastor before having the privileged of becoming the Senior Pastor of GVBC.
My beautiful wife, Sue, has a bookkeeping/accounting business and has served churches through various administrative roles, facilitating finance courses and discipleship programs. We are the parents of four children, and have seven grandchildren with number eight on the way.
I spent 19 years in Thailand to work as a missionary among the Karen hill tribal people and came to the US to join GVBC as a Nichigo (Japanese) pastor in September 2011. I was born in Hokkaido, Japan, and my family moved more than 10 times in the first ten years of my life. I majored in Christian Education at St. Paul’s University in Tokyo and became a Bible teacher at Kanto Gakuin high school (a Baptist school in Yokohama).
After 5 years of teaching the Bible at Kanto Gakuin, God called me to become a missionary. When I was working as a missionary in Thailand, God gave me a privilege to join Baptist World Alliance Youth Department. I was traveling all over the world to preach and teach at international youth conferences and seminars as the president of BWA Youth Department.
Though I was enjoying my ministry among the Karen people in Thailand and BWA youth work, God gave me a desire to work as a local Japanese pastor about two years ago. To make a long story short, now I am here at GVBC as a Japanese pastor! If you want to listen how God guided me to come to GVBC, please come and attend our Nichigo worship at 10:45 every Sunday morning at GVBC! May God bless you.
I’m Daniel and my heart is to help people build healthy marriage and family relationships. My wife and I were married in 1996, and we currently have a teenage son in high school. In 2005, my wife and I started up a GVBC community group for other couples with young children. Through this group, I have learned so much about the importance of walking together with other families as we point one another to Christ. We have dealt with difficult issues in our marriages, helped one another through major life changes (new job, move, birth, death), and worked through parenting issues. I firmly believe that we cannot handle the complexity of marriage and family issues alone, so my goal is to help people discover that Christ and the Body of Christ are the resources that can bring renewed hope in our broken and imperfect relationships.
After attaining an MBA at USC and working 4 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, I finally decided in 1998 to enter full-time ministry. In 2002, I graduated from Fuller Seminary and have served here as an Associate Pastor ever since. I enjoy national parks, playing the piano, and spending time with my family. I believe that God has given me a heart to encourage others, and I will seek to do that faithfully as long as I live.
I'm a 2nd generation pastor born & raised in an immigrant Taiwanese pastor's family, struggling from the ground up to make a home here in the States. My full name, James Jireh Chang, reflects all this: 'James' is from the New Testament Gospels, 'Jireh' is Hebrew for: God, my Provider, and 'Chang' is from my dad, a Taiwanese revivalist preacher. I can still remember the moment I moved out here to the South Bay over 10 years ago that Taiwanese bakeries and boba shops and dumpling houses miraculously appeared...Praise Jehovah Jireh! He continues to watch over me!
I graduated from UCLA in Math, was a high school math teacher for several years, and then I made the big shift from Math Tests to Research Papers at Fuller Theological Seminary. SInce 2005 till now, by the grace of God, I've served here at GVBC as a pastor. My wife Yuko and I both love taking long road trips along long stretches of turquoise water, hiking nature trails through forrest glades of grandeur, and hunting down the best restaurants on Yelp.
My life's passion is to help empower the local church to be the hope of this world.
Beauty, art, music, and unhindered solitude, silence and prayer are the portals by which God draws me to Himself. I seek to live out a contemplative life centered in Christ in this crazy world! I love art museums, Rembrandt, dolphins, creative paper art, designing things, seeing the big picture, and reading. My heart is deeply stirred whenever I see the Church at her very best, and also in all her brokenness.
My passion is the local and global Church of our Lord Jesus! I totally love it whenever God’s people are united in Him, serving and glorifying Him!
I graduated from UCLA in Engineering in 2000 and currently work full time as an Aerospace Engineer at Boeing Satellites in El Segundo. After serving here at GVBC as a layman for several years, the Lord graciously called me to be the Director of the College Ministry at the church I love.
I love spending time with my wife, Grace, and our four kids; Noah, Avery, Isaac and Emma. We enjoy camping, bike riding, watching movies, playing with Legos, and just hanging out together as a family. I also enjoy all things sports including golf, basketball, hockey, football, baseball, and all UCLA sports.
My deep passion in ministry is to help God’s people deepen their affection for Jesus Christ through the faithful teaching of God’s Word.
I first started attending GVBC when I was in the 6 th grade. I was a youth ministry regular through middle and high school, and then at the age of 21 I started volunteering as a Middle School Leader. After 20 years of volunteering, the Lord led me to pursue full-time Youth Ministry in 2008. I attended Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology and interned at GVBC as Director of Middle School Ministry. I graduated from Talbot in 2012 with an MA in Christian Education, and I currently serve as Youth Director where I oversee the Greenhouse Middle School and 180 High School Ministries. My passion for the
students I work with is to help them understand what it means to follow Jesus Christ and serve others like he did.
My awesome wife, Susan, is also on staff here at GVBC as Children’s Director, and we have an incredible daughter, Kaci, who will be attending Cal. State Fullerton as an Early Childhood Education major. I am an unabashed comic book/sci-fi/fantasy geek, and my personal faves are Star Wars, Batman, Godzilla, Lord of the Rings, Agents of SHIELD, and Walking Dead. In fact, being a Star Wars geek is what got me into long-distance running as the 2015 Star Wars Half-Marathon was my very first race. I have also been a lifetime Disneyphile, I bleed Anaheim Ducks orange, and I have rocked-out to U2 since the 80’s. Come visit my office and be amazed!
I started as the Children’s Elementary Director in Oct 2009. I’ve attended GVBC since I was 5. Following 15 years of teaching Sunday School, working 9 years as a paralegal and 10 years as a social worker, God called me to my new position. Children are my passion, and I want the children’s ministry to remain current, inspiring, as well as fun. It’s so important that the children know how much God loves them and wants a personal relationship. I look forward to partnering with parents and providing support in the spiritual development of their children.
I’m a UCLA Bruin and I support my team. My husband, Layne, and I enjoy watching rowdy Anaheim Ducks hockey on TV but being there is even better. We also like to play at Disneyland.
Wendy Nakano | Office Manager
Peggy Kushigemachi | Financial Assistant
Jan Magnani | Secretary
Rei Abe | Nichigo Secretary
Sandy Tsukamoto | Christian Education Secretary
Susie Shelley | Newsletter Editor