Hans Kistner – Lead Pastor
I am thankful to have been invited to serve with this congregation since 2000. We are committed to love well and let all else follow.
Our community fabric is woven to be a Worshipping Congregation, an Equipping Center, a Healing Community, and a Missional Fellowship for the 21st century. The stream of God here runs with Scriptural, prophetic, and contemplative streams.We are broadening our footprint of available ministries to love our seniors, cherish our children and exploring culture to reach and equip the largest and least-churched Millennial generation (ages 18-29).
I serve with a team of faithful and intensely loving co-ministers and elders.
I am inspired and loved by my wife of 25 years and our 4 children. I would welcome getting to know you and I encourage you to let us know how we can walk with you.
Education / M.Div. Fuller Theological Seminary; B.S. Film Boston University
Jon Bancroft – Associate Pastor
I’m the director of Journey Ministries which is one of the branches of ministry at First Baptist Church. Journey Ministries has a few different components. The mission of Journey is: “To develop followers of Jesus by preparing servant leaders through adventure and service opportunities in authentic community.”
First of all, ...adventure! We offer Christ-centered experiential adventure opportunities to both the Santa Barbara local community and afar. I know many ministires do not have the means to provide outdoor experiences for their youth. Journey Ministries offers opportunities, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, and backpacking, with the purpose of sharing the love of Jesus and building deep and real relationships. The outdoor activities serve as a door to introduce people to the love of Jesus.
Secondly... service! My hope is that we see the body of Christ united in Santa Barbara, and ready them to serve our community in tangible ways. I believe many people want to be involved in getting their hands dirty serving others. The Journey team gives direction and opportunity for local churches, youth groups, small groups, or even individuals to serve in the Santa Barbara community through short-term home and neighborhood improvement projects. The over-arching purpose is to build relationships, love the community, and share the Word.
Thirdly... community! I’m also a member of the Elder leadership of a new church for teens called NuBranch. NuBranch is a teen-staffed fellowship emerging from a variety of communities in Santa Barbara. NuBranch introduces Jesus to this generation of teenagers and equips them with the practices of listening to God, devotional growth, teaching skills, lifestyles of worship and service, so that they can reach their generation in their own language. Their goals include inviting others to follow Jesus, growing in their gifts and service, as well as planting other NuBranch communities.
April and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage and our 4 precious children.
Education / M.A. Religion, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA B.S., Southwestern College, Phoenix, AZ
Dyan Vorster – Children’s Pastor
Ten years ago, God called me to Children's Ministry and so the adventure began. Over the years it has been an incredible priviledge, and a blessing, to be part of God's redemptive work in so many young peoples lives.
If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that we often underestimate the ability of children to grasp the things of God. That is why, at First Baptist, we don't "dumb down" the teaching of the Word. Instead we concentrate on laying a firm foundation, by teaching our children to study the Bible inductively for themselves. These are skills which they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.
As a homeschool mom of three children, I believe that family plays the most critical role in the descipleship process. Children's Ministry encompasses the whole family of God as we partner with the most important people in our chilldren's lives, their parents, to develop relationships and build community.
Missions and community outreach is the third focus of our Children's Ministry. We endeavor to develop regular opportunities for our children to serve and reach out to those in their communities and around the world.
Dr. Ron Davis – Director of Spiritual Formation
Ron teaches every Sunday morning and leads our Body Life class. This is an experience of community and excellent Biblical teaching that teaches Christian living that heals, and gives joy and peace. Ron is a leading teacher of the Bible in Southern California. His love is His Lord and His family and friends. Ron is an encourager of all who know him and we are grateful for his time serving with us!
* Ron has authored 8 books including,
Gold In The Making • Thomas Nelson Publishers
A National Christian Inspirational Best Seller , Gold In The Making offers hope and compassion to those who are facing life's greatest trials.
Mentoring : The Strategy of The Master • Thomas Nelson Publishers
Mentoring models practical strategies helping the reader to understand how he can invest his life in the next generation in ways that will be significant and inspiring.
A Forgiving God In An Unforgiving World • Thomas Nelson Publishers
In this Christian best seller, Dr. Davis sketches in the powerful message of God's Grace touching the lives of broken people. Using heart felt illustrations and strong Biblical support, Davis points to a way of wholeness in Christ !
Healing Life's Hurts • Word
Council Members 2015
Todd Eaton - Moderator
I have called Santa Barbara home now for about 13 years. God brought me here to finish college at Westmont. It has been a wild ride ever since - mostly, since I met and married my wife which happens to be an amazing story of God bringing us together.
Now, we have two kids and a dog and we live on the westside. I work as a contractor/carpenter by day and as a relief worker by night. I like riding bikes, taking pictures and seeing people learn how to experience and interact with God. That's when things really get interesting!
I began attending First Baptist before I could walk! My wonderful parents served and led within this congregation and I have followed in their footsteps. I love details. I enjoy decorating and celebrating with flowers and streamers but also with prayer and encouragement. I am grateful for my church family and I work to create an atmosphere of 'home' where the Heavely Father can lead us, teach us and heal us.
I have a special interest in facilitating our church family in supporting Faith Children's Home - Uganda and the children of Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse. I am retired from teaching Kindergarten and I am now a small business owner. My husband, Bob, and I have called the Mesa home since just after we were married. I hope you will let our church and us be family to you, too!
My wife and I are serving as leaders and family members in a congregation that serves our Lord and our family and our city with intensity, and love. I am primarily responsible to lead the congregation in deepening our understanding and practice of prayer.
Michelle and I are also the founders of Hope Refuge, a ministry of healing and restoration for girls being rescued from human trafficking. We have First Baptist as a base, and partner with other churches and organizations to see the Body of Christ make a difference in the lives of these girls.
Liselle Wilsnagh - Worship Director
As worship musicians, we are called to create a safe place in which the church, as a body, can encounter the presence of the living God. There are many musicians who long for the adoration of the masses, but WE seek to turn the adoration to Christ. Through worship, we are drawn into a place of intimacy with God, where we can fully experience His love and discover who we truly are. Worship is not simply music, but more the act of devotion to a God who longs to be intrinsically involved, in every aspect of our lives. When we come together as a church body, and worship God, we are pouring out our love and devotion to a God who has transformed every aspect of our beings! - Liselle
Mikaela Ryan - Worship Team
So far my life has been full of many adventures, from spending a summer in Africa with my family to climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, CA. Serving as a worship leader at First Baptist Church is yet another adventure and I love it! I am passionate about connecting with the Lord through worship and leading others to encounter His love for them.
God has provided many incredible opportunities for me to grow as a worship leader. Ever since a young age, my family gathered in the living room in the morning for a time of worship together as my dad played guitar and I, the piano. Although I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, I lived in Kansas City for 15 months in 2011. We were a part of the International House of Prayer community, where prayer and worship has been going 24/7 for 12 years. Being immersed in a community of singers and musicians caused me to grow and I gained practical tools as I sang on a youth led worship team. I am currently a student at Westmont College and look forward to continuing this journey of learning to lead others in worship.
I am so grateful to be a part of the First Baptist Church family. It is my privilege to be able to serve as a worship leader and I cannot wait to see what God has in store! I believe that worship helps usher the presence and kingdom of God to earth and for this reason I will never stop worshipping.
Ian Kistner –Worship Team
Leading worship is a privilege and a family event at First Baptist Church. I'm grateful to be invited to be a part of this family. Also, I'm a freshman at Westmont College. My vocation in addition to being a student is as a surf instructor. I love being surrounded and overwhelmed by the ocean because it reminds me of the love of God. I've cut my surfing teeth and grown in my faith through the Journey here at First Baptist as well as with my brothers at Christian Surfers and Victory Sessions. I love to write and record music and I love to not collect dust ...would say more, but going surf'n...
"Worship isn't just a song...Worship is a breath of God through us..." pa
Elaine Parkey – Choir Director Emeritus
I'm the chief canary! I stepped into the role of Choir Director in 1981 until a replacement could be found... here I am, over 30 years later! I love having the opportunity to serve the Lord with this church family and the wonderful choir that will take on challenging and inspirational pieces. I participate in the Santa Barbara Women's Club and enjoy making a regular trip to the Bluegrass festivals around southern California. I'll look forward to meeting you, and... can you sing?
Education: Masters in Music; Piano, University of Southern California.
Belinda Busby – Office Administrator
I have been serving with the First Baptist family since 2003 and my work is front office ministry. I'll help folks schedule weddings, meetings, worship. I provide the various communities with the opportunity to partner in mission on the Veronica Springs campus. I look forward to an having a chance to welcome you! I'm blessed by my husband, four children and my 3 grandsons.