Meet our Staff & EldersWe're just a group of people who love God and love life
Meet our Staff
Dr. Joe Grana
Joe has served Downey First Christian church several times in his life of ministry. He was our senior pastor in the 1980’s, and has returned three times since then as an interim, during transitions in between new pastors. He has a deep love for the church, to help her thrive and experience the fullness of God. He also loves college students, as he is a professor of Church Ministry at Hope International University, where he also serves as the dean of Pacific Christian College of Ministry and Biblical Studies.
Q & A with Joe:
Q: What are some interests or hobbies you enjoy outside of your academic life?
A: I love spending time with my family! I’ve been married to Linda (Clifton) Grana since 1969. We have four children: Jolynne, Joey, and Julia; an adopted daughter, Keenan; Son-in-law Joey Aszterbaum; grandchildren Kyler, Josie, Ethan, Ellie, Semeia, Asha, Zion. I enjoy sports, especially the Chicago Cubs!! I also enjoy playing basketball, going on adventures with my family, and movie-going.
Q: Do you have a favorite scripture or personal mission statement?
A: I seek to present an acceptable worship unto God, demonstrated by introducing people to Christ and nurturing people in Christ to present everyone mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)
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!
Children's Ministry DirectorKerri 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. They have a smiley son, born in 2017, as well as two tabby cats – Banksy, who is large and cuddly, and Dublin, who is small and spunky.
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.
World Wide Outreach Director/ Church AdministratorSarah 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.
Meet some Elders and Ministry Leaders
Food Help LeaderJim serves as a volunteer at Downey First Christian Church, where he leads the FoodHelp food bank. 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, who he married in August of 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.
ElderKevin 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
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.
ElderMichael 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!
ElderDave 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
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 definitely my favorite.
Recent Blog Posts
Here’s what we’ve been up to!
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I had a startling realization on Sunday. Pastor José preached on the healing of the leper. He highlighted the humility of the leper evident in his need to be healed. And yet he was bold to approach Jesus and say, “If you want to heal me, I know you can”. That broke my...
I'm not sure if you know this about me: I am an introvert. This doesn't mean I don't like people. It means that I need alone time to recharge after being with people. I don't get really excited about parties, but I do like to catch up with my friends. I once heard an...