JOHN GIARRIZZO, Founding Pastor
John was born and raised in a Roman Catholic home in upstate New York. He attended parochial school through fourth grade, after which his family moved to Mesa, Arizona, where he has lived ever since. During his senior year of High School, John took night classes in real estate, acquired his real estate license at the age of 18, and was a full-time realtor for 6 years. The Lord powerfully converted John to Christ one day in 1979, while watching a Hal Lindsay program about the Second Coming of Christ. Shortly afterwards, the Lord led him to a Calvinistic Baptist church in Mesa, where he came to embrace the doctrines of grace. John married Roberta, in 1980 and in 1983, they were blessed with their first child, David. The following year John graduated from Redeemer Theological Seminary and was commissioned by his church to plant a new church. On September 8, 1985, Grace Covenant Church held their first worship service in a restaurant banquet hall. In 1986, John and Roberta were again blessed with their second child, Paul. Both of his sons know the Lord. In 2005, John received his Master of Divinity degree from Phoenix Seminary.
DARRELL GUSTAFSON, Associate Pastor
Darrell was raised in Kearney, Nebraska. Darrell met his wife, Janet, while in high school. They dated 3 years and married shortly after he joined the U. S. Air Force. Darrell served for four years and then moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1971. Darrell sought employment as a carpenter and worked three years for other contractors. Darrell and Janet started their own remodeling and carpentry business, The Carpenter Company, in 1974. It was active until December of 2004. TheCarpenterCo.com is now a web site encouraging believers to actively witness in word and deed and evangelize the lost. The site also points people to Christ as the only way to be right with God. He was converted in the early seventies as God used his wife, a pastor, the Word and the Holy Spirit to show him that Jesus Christ was the only way to be right with God. Darrell and Janet have three grown children and nine grandchildren. Their oldest daughter (Lori) and son-in-law (Pete who is now an elder at GCC) and three grandchildren attend Grace Covenant Church. Their son, and four grandsons reside in Green Valley, AZ. Darrell is a 1984 graduate of Redeemer Theological Seminary. He was an Elder at the Church of the Redeemer of Mesa for 2 years. He was ordained in 1983 and pastored the Church of the Redeemer, Chandler Heights for 3 years from 1983-1986. He was an Elder at Cornerstone Bible Church of Mesa for 4 years. He has been an Elder at Grace Covenant Church since 1993 and is now an Associate Pastor, Administrator and Director of the Grace Covenant Counseling Center, GCCC with 5 trained counselors. Darrell has his NANC Certification Level II in Biblical Counseling (Nouthetic). He and his wife Janet (Level 1 NANC Certified) head up the Counseling, Discipleship Ministry at Grace Covenant Church. Darrell counsels the men, Janet counsels the women and they team counsel couples. Darrell is also the Director of the newly established (BCTCofAZ) Biblical Counseling & Training Center of AZ now Certified by NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors).
MARK FLIN, Elder
Mark was a farm boy from Northeastern Kansas. He was converted during a church youth retreat during his sophomore year in high school. He moved to Mesa in 1980 after having accepted a job as an electrical engineer at Motorola. Mark came to embrace the doctrines of grace while attending Church of the Redeemer in Mesa. It was there that he met Carol, whom he married in 1981. Mark was a Deacon at Church of the Redeemer for two years. When Pastor Giarrizzo was sent out to plant a new work in Mesa, Mark and Carol went as founding members (their oldest daughter, Kristin, was born two days after the first official service in September of 1985!). Mark and Carol were blessed with a second daughter, Allison, in 1987. Mark has been an Elder and the treasurer at Grace Covenant Church from the beginning. He is currently a software engineer at General Dynamics.
JOE GODAL, Elder
Joe (age 70) is known as the “Eldest Elder” because he is the eldest. He was born and raised in South Philadelphia & South Jersey in a Roman Catholic family. He attended parochial schools through 12th grade. He and his wife were saved one week apart in 1970 through the witness of a persistent friend. Baptized that same year and entered Reformed Episcopal Seminary six months later. He has been married to Elena (4/1/67) for 46 years, they have 4 children and 13 grandchildren (presently). Joe is a US Navy veteran (Hospital Corpsman) (1962-1966), he was converted and began following Jesus in 1970; graduated Reformed Episcopal Seminary (1975), taught at Redeemer Theological Seminary, served as pastor at several churches in Az. Pa. & Md., Joe was State Chairman of Arizona Foster Care Review Board (1987-1989); retired as a Casualty Claims Supervisor from CNA Insurance Co. (1988-2006); is a member of Grace Covenant Church, Gilbert, Az. And heads up the Senior Saints ministry. Joe leads a Small Group and counsels several cases a week. He received his Biblical Counseling Training Center of Az.(BCTC of Az.) counseling certification (2011) and NANC certification in Oct. 2012. He has practiced biblical nouthetic counseling since 1975. He greatly enjoys cooking, Irish music and fellowshipping with God’s people.
JOSH RUSEV, Elder
Josh was born in Idaho, but has lived in Arizona since he was 7 years old. He came to know the Lord in his Sophomore year of high school at a youth retreat through the faithful preaching of the gospel at Scottsdale Bible Church. At SBC he also married his bride Chiara of 17 years. Both Josh and Chiara served as small group leaders in the college ministry and were discipled under older men and women in the Lord. They moved to Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley after college where they began an understanding of the Doctrines of Grace, served on the missions committee, and continued to disciple men in the Lord. They also had their first 3 children while attending CBC. After the family moved into their first house in Gilbert, they came to know and love the body of Christ at Grace Covenant Church and have had 5 children since (5 girls and 3 boys). The Lord has continued to strengthen the faith of the family through the strong reformed Biblical teaching of GCC's pastors and the movement of His Spirit. He has assisted in the launch of Building Tomorrow's Church, an annual Reformed Baptist young adult's conference and has been serving as a small group leader. Josh currently works as an IT Line of Business Manager for a valley homebuilder.
PETE SMITH, Elder
Pete was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa and became a Christian at a young age through the witness of his older brother. He moved to Mesa in junior high school and has remained in the East Valley ever since. He married his high school sweetheart, Lori, in 1990 and since has enjoyed raising and homeschooling their three children, Jessica, PJ and Justin who are following the Lord and have been baptized. Pete and Lori began attending Grace Covenant in 1991 and have been involved in numerous ministries within the church ever since. Pete is currently a commander for the Gilbert Police Department.
ROBERT COSBY, Elder
Robert Cosby grew up in the home of a Baptist pastor. He was saved at an early age and surrendered to the ministry in high school. While in college he began to study the doctrines of grace and, over a period of time, the Lord led him to reformed theology. He married his wonderful wife Christine in 2006 and they have two children, Keira, born in August of 2009 and Robert born in 2011. Rob had the privilege of working in churches with his father and with his grandfather before returning to seminary to pursue a Master of Divinity. He has a BA in Christian Counseling from Trinity College of the Bible (2005) and an M-Div from Westminster Seminary, California (2009). Rob has been ordained as an elder at Grace Covenant Church and is our church planter in Tucson. Please call Rob if you have interest in the work in Tucson. (520) 424-5036 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our link to the Tucson Church plant.
ROB-ROY NELSON, Elder
Rob-roy was born in Illinois and raised in Michigan. It was in Michigan that he met Tammy, his beautiful bride, whom he married in 1992. Rob-roy and Tammy have been blessed with 3 children. The first child was placed for adoption in 1990 prior to being married. He and Tammy moved to Arizona in 1993, but it was not until the age of 35 he came to know the Lord. Falsely believing he had been saved for many years, it was in the reading of God’s word that he realized he was not a child of God, but of wrath and desperately in need of the Savior. By God’s mercy he was saved and made a child of God through faith in Christ alone.
Rob-roy has served as a leader of small groups and outreach teams. He has been blessed to serve as a speaker at various churches and ministries to teach and encourage the body of Christ to evangelize the lost. God has especially given him a heart to reach those that are LDS and Muslim. Rob-roy currently is a Senior Project Manager for a global telecommunications company.
JED MILLSAP, Deacon
Jed was born and raised in Oklahoma where he and his future wife, Alma, attended the same school. They worshiped together at Rosedale Baptist Church where they were both converted to Christ in their teens. Jed served twenty one years in the Navy and then moved to the Phoenix area where he started a new career as a pilot. He flew thirteen years with AirEvac Air Ambulance and then several years for NetJets Aviation. He is now retired and a vital part of the ministry of Grace Covenant Church. Jed and Alma have been married for forty five years and have three daughters and one son. They joined Grace Covenant Church in 1996 and Jed has served as a Deacon since 1998.
RANDY DAVIS, Deacon
Randy Davis grew up on the west side of Phoenix. His family moved to Southern California when Randy was beginning his second year of high school. During his junior year at Cal State L.A. University, God showed mercy on Randy's lost spiritual condition and brought him to the foot of the cross. Thru God's providence, Randy's coworker introduced him to the Doctrines of Grace a few years later. In 1994, Randy moved to Gilbert and began attending Grace Covenant Church. Randy and his wife, Julie, have four children.
MARVIN GATZ, Deacon
Marvin Gatz is not only our senior Deacon, but one of our founding members as well. He and his now departed wife Marge moved to the Mesa area from Illinois with their three children when Marvin was in his early thirties. It was at this season of Marvin's life that the Lord gave Marvin an interest in spiritual things and eventually saved him and Marge. Marvin has made his living in the Mesa area doing custom harvesting for many years and is now an indispensable part of our property maintenance team.
PETER BRADT, Deacon
Peter was born and raised in central California and attended an Episcopal church with his mother, sister and brother. While attending junior college, he received his first Bible from the Gideons. He went on to graduate from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, CA. with a BS in Food Science. It was there in about 1974, that God revealed Himself to Peter savingly. After graduating, he moved back to the San Francisco Bay area and spent 22 years as a production supervisor in the food industry, and then went into outside sales. He and his wife, Nancy, and son Jacob moved to Phoenix in 2002. He has owned and operated his own swimming pool cleaning and service business since 2003 with the help of his son and wife.
JOHN STAFFORD, Deacon
John Stafford was born in Ithaca, New York. He moved to Venice, Florida at the age of eleven and then on to Arizona at age twenty-one. In 1966 John married his high school sweetheart Debbie. They were both born again while attending Church of the Redeemer in Mesa, AZ. John graduated from Arizona State University in 1971. John and Debbie started their family that same year. They have three boys and one girl. John and Debbie have known Pastor John and Darrell before they were pastors. John is currently retired from Senior Project Estimator for Chanen Construction Co. in Phoenix.
STEVEN GONZALES, Deacon
Steven Gonzales is 31 years old and was brought up in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a Roman Catholic home. Steven was converted at the age of 26. At 25 years old, Steven professed his faith in Christ; however, found out a year later that he was not truly saved. He only saw an outward change in his life but when able, practiced sin and never was given assurance that he was truly saved. He was convicted after reading 2 Corinthians 7:10 "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." He saw that he only had worldly sorrow and was still in his sin and was headed for damnation in eternal Hell. When Steven was given the eyes to see his sin before a Holy God, The Lord granted him true repentance that leads to salvation in Christ and was converted. Steven and his wife Kelly were married in 2008 and have a son Josiah that was given to them by the Lord's grace in 2010. They all live in Mesa, AZ where they serve the Lord. Steven was called to the a deacon in January of 2011.
MATT JOHNSON, Deacon
Matt was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but has lived in Arizona since he was 16 years old. He was raised in a Christian home and became a Christian at a young age. In 1998, he married Sarah. They started attending GCC in 2000, where they came to an understanding of reformed theology. This new knowledge brought an increased love and appreciation for Christ and what He has done for them on the cross. In 2008, they adopted their son Lukas. Matt has worked on the Building Tomorrow's Church (BTC) committee as well as in the Financial Stewardship ministry at GCC. Matt currently works in accounting for a manufacturer in the aerospace industry.