Meet our Staff & Elders

We're just a group of people who love God and love life

Meet our Staff

Dave Smith

Dave Smith

Lead Pastor

Dave has been a pastor at DFCC for over two decades, and loves serving the people in our community. He graduated with an MA in Church Growth & Missions at Hope International University, after getting his BA in Church Growth/Missions/Bible/Ministry. He is happily married to his beautiful wife Karen, who teaches 2nd grade in DUSD, and is the proud father to Trevor, who lives in Fullerton with his Golden-Doodle Winnie, and Amy, who lives with her husband Jon in Waco, TX with their Basset Hound/Terrier mix (you need to see this dog) Romy.

Q & A with Dave:

 

Q: You’ve lived in a lot of places, where all have you called home?
A: That’s true! I’ve lived in Tucson, AZ; Buena Park, CA; Fullerton/Placentia, CA; Vigan, Philippines; La Palma, CA; Downey, Ca

Q: What are some of your favorie hobbies?
A: FISHING! Also, more fishing. And then camping (so I can go fishing), construction/repair, lapidary and jewelry making.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: That’s a long list, but I’ll try to narrow it down. Let’s say, top of the list authors are: Dick Francis, Louis L’Amour, Orson Scott Card, C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein, N. T. Wright, and Roland Allen (The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church).

Mark Schoch

Mark Schoch

Family Ministries Pastor

Mark’s passion is serving the families at DFCC. He is married to his lovely wife, Lisa Schoch, and has an awesome son, Noah. He received his Bachelor’s of Christian Ministry from Hope International University. In his free time, his favorite thing to do is spend time in worship – if he gets the chance he’ll just find some shade and sit in the car with his Bible and worship music!

Q & A with Mark:

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do with your wife?
A: Date Night! Unless there is an emergency, we always set aside Tuesday evening to have a child-free date together.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do with Noah?
A: We have this thing we do called Rough & Tumble, which is what Noah calls our daily wrestling match, that always concludes with “just talking about life” time.

Q: What’s been your most suprisingly helpful life experience?
A: Getting my Bachelor’s of Hamburgerology at McDonald’s – laugh all you want, but McD’s management degree earned me 15 units of real college credit!

Q: What movies do you watch annually?
A: The Ten Commandments, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and National Lampoons Vacation – which, seriously this movie is a reenactment of a 6-week family trip we took in the summer of ’81.

Q: Food preferences?
A: Oh yes. Surf & Turf over tofu, pies over cake, cold drinks over hot drinks, M&Ms over Skittles, and cheese added to anything. In case you’re concerned, my cholesterol is fine!

Stephen Pate

Stephen Pate

Student Ministries Pastor

Stephen has been leading the student ministry at DFCC for nine years. He attended Hope International University where he received his BA in Biblical Studies and an MA in Christian Leadership. Stephen and his wife, Marissa, love ministering to and sharing life with the students of Downey. During his free time he loves drinking coffee, reading, surfing, playing basketball, and traveling.

Q & A with Stephen:

 

 Q: Do you have any favorite sports?

Yes, basketball has my heart. Surfing is a close second. Also, ultra competitive dodgeball at church.

Q: What are your favorite fiction books?

A: The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Stand

Q: What about non-fiction?

A: The Bible! (you saw that one coming). I also love The Ragamuffin Gospel and In the Name of Jesus.

Q: What show constantly makes you laugh?

A: Oh man, The Office.

Q: What are three jobs you’ve had that might suprise people?

A: Let’s see…I’ve actually been a Lifeguard, a Pizza Cook, and a Chess Instructor.

 

Kerri Muir

Kerri Muir

Children's Ministries Associate

Kerri grew up in the beautiful countries of Austria and Romania, before coming to the US where she got her BA in Biblical Studies and Children’s Ministry from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She and her husband, David, love serving the children at DFCC. She also has two adorable cats – Banksy, a large ridiculously cuddly tabby cat, and Dublin, a small exceptionally spunky tabby cat.

Q & A with Kerri:
Q: You sound like you’ve lived in a ton of different places! Where all have you lived?
A: Yep! I’ve lived in Bristol (England), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Chicago (Illinois), Littleton and Palmer Lake (Colorado), Los Angeles (California), Oradea (Romania), and Vienna (Austria).

Q: Where else would you love to travel?
A: Tons of plances, but mostly I dream of exploring Greece, New Zealand, The Caribbean.

Q: Do you have any favorite foods?
A: Absolutely, there’s gelato, brownie sundaes, shepherd’s pie, fish tacos, chicken tikka masala, and deep dish Chicago pizza!

Q: Do you have any non-fiction books that have changed you?
A: There are four that I think have made a big impact – Half the Sky (Nicholas Kristof), Everyday Justice (Julie Clawson), The Connected Child (Dr. Karyn Purvis), and On Being a Theologian of the Cross, Reflections on Luther’s Heildelberg Disputation, 1518 (Gerhard O. Forde).

Q: Do you have any weird fears?
A: Oh goodness yes, the deep, dark creepy ocean freaks me out…as do great hordes of ant.

Dave Maciel

Dave Maciel

Worship Arts Director

Sarah Shead

Sarah Shead

World Wide Outreach Director/ Church Administrator

Sarah is a missionary kid who grew up under the Chilean dictatorship of Pinochet in the 1980s. A city girl at heart, she quickly migrated to Los Angeles after earning a degree in theology from Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. Her pride and joy is seeing former students thrive as adults (she volunteers as a youth sponsor with Encounter), forming partnerships between DFCC and missions worldwide, and, of course, the most adorable kids in the world – her nephew Miles and niece Nora.

Q & A with Sarah:

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

A: I love reading Charles Dickens, Philip Yancey, JK Rowling, CS Lewis, Henry Cloud, and Gary Haugen.

Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: When I get free time, I spend it hanging out with the students from Encounter, crocheting while watching Nexflix, sharing soul-filling conversations with friends over tea and coffee, gawking at incredible architecture and dreaming about traveling to Europe.

Q: What’s your favorite non-existent invention?
A: A self-cleaning house! I’d love to be ready for guests at a moment’s notice.

Josh Guzman

Josh Guzman

Worship Arts Associate

Meet our Elders and Ministry Leaders

Jim Wilkinson

Food Help Director

Jim serves as a volunteer at Downey First Christian Church, where he leads the FoodHelp food bank as the director. He recently retired from the Information Technology Industry as a Business Analytics and Data Warehousing Manager. He loves spending his days with his wife, Kim Wilkinson, who he married on August 27th 1983. His children, Kevin & Krysti, are two of his greatests joys and he loves seeing them live their lives as they serve the Lord in Seattle and San Diego.

Q & A with Jim:

Q: Do you have a favorite TV show or book?
A: Suprisingly, I don’t!

Q: So, what’s something you love?
A: I really love food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables and baked goods.

Dave Cuthrell

Elder

Dave is an elder at DFCC and he loves being able to serve the church. He is looking forward to all that God has in store for DFCC in the coming years.

Q & A

 with Dave:

Q: What’s the last non-fiction book you read?
A: That would have been Jesus on Trial by David Limbaugh.

Q: How about your non-fiction author?
A: CJ Box is definately my favorite.

Kim Wilkinson

Finance Ministries

Kim has worked in the investment management and financial services industry for the past 40+ years. She’s attended DFCC and been involved in various ministries for the past 22 years. She’s married to Jim Wilkinson and together they have two children who are off on their own – Kevin in Seattle and Krysti in San Diego.

Q & A with Kim:

Q: Do you have any pets
A: I’ve got too small canine “children”, Dosi and Wednesday, who keep us grounded, never talk back and take us for nightly walks.

Q: What are your passions?
A: I love reading, anything chocolate, shopping for bargains, and drinking tea (black tea with cream).

Q: What about coffee?

A: I’m learning to acquire an appreciation for coffee, but only vanilla or pumpkin flavored sissy drinks like lattes and frappuccinos.

Q: What is something you are working on?

A: Learning to become more cognizant of, and availble for, God’s opportunities and callings.

Michael Garcia

Elder

Michael serves as an elder at DFCC and helps run the Men’s Ministry, VBS, and early education ministries. He’s a graduate student in Recreation Administration and works in Recreational Therapy and as a Bilingual Speech Language Pathology Assistant.

Q & A with Michael:

Q: What’s a secret passion of yours?
A: I’m a huge Lego enthusiast!

Kevin Kott

Elder

Kevin loves being an elder at DFCC. He is happily married to his wife Mary, and together they have three children – Sena, Joseph, and Benjamin. He attended UCLA and received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration as well as an Associate’s Degree at the School of Hard Knocks.

Q & A 

with Kevin:

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

A: I really enjoy reading, am a serious convenience enthusiast, and am into action pistol competitions.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?

A: Gotta be Chris & Pitts.

Q: Do you have a favorite Bible Verse?

A: Absolutely, Jeremiah 29:11-13

Q: Finally, what’s your least favorite vegetable.

A: Celery.

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