Lead Pastor & Staff
Lead Pastor Joshua Kapchinsky
I am a husband, father, minister, and antiques dealer. I grew up memorizing Bible verses as well as being able to discern if a piece of furniture was a reproduction or a true heirloom.
I love discovering cool, old stuff and sharing it with others. Nothing compares to inhaling the soothing, musty scent of an old leather club chair, or feeling the well-worn patina of a 16th century church candlestick. Unlike newer pieces that might cost the same and be had in trendy shops like Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware, antiques possess true character and history. When purchasing antiques, one gains great pleasure not just from the actual act of possession, but from the process of acquiring as well.
My college education, as well as other life opportunities, helped cultivate my fondness for "cool, old stuff." Equipped with a B.A. in HIstory from Westmont College, I went on to curate the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Santa Barbara, and later served as Director of the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston, South Carolina.
Inevitably, I opened my own antique business in 1998 in Pasadena, on Colorado Boulevard with items hand-picked from Belgium and France. Preston Roberts Antiques featured French, Italian, and Spanish antiques that usually were masculine in style or religious in theme. It was always a big rush when my containers would arrive and I called my favorite clients, allowing them a sneak-peek into my treasure trove of finds.
Today, my treasure seeking revolves less around material items and more around people. As the Lead Pastor at Granite Creek Community Church in Claremont, California, I gain great satisfaction in mining for spiritual treasure among the families and individuals we serve.
Joshua and his wife, Meko, have a passion to develop leaders, encourage the arts, and to continue to create a place where people find friends and inspiration to live their best life. Meko is the College and Young Adult Pastor.
Founding Pastor Larry Kapchinsky
Pastor Larry Kapchinsky has served since 1984 as founding pastor of what today is known as Granite Creek Community Church (GCCC). GCCC grew out of a 1997 church merger between Ontario Vineyard and New Life Community Church.
Vision for the Church
Pastor Larry desires to see the lost come to know Christ in a powerful way and to grow in Him through perseverance and character. Compelled by the Great Commission and Christ's commandment to serve the widows, orphans, and those in need, pastor views the church as the greatest tool to deliver hope to the hopeless.
He also believes that regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey, God has a plan of significance and meaning for your life and your family's--an ultimate plan of God's love which offers you hope for a bright future through His Son Jesus Christ.
Biography: Formative Years
Larry received Christ at the age of 6 in Bakersfield, California. He entered the ministry as a result of witnessing God's restorative power in his parent's marriage, his father's addiction to alcohol, and their fractured family life. Larry's father, an oil field construction worker, did his best to provide for his family financially, spiritually, and emotionally, but alcoholism waged an ugly battle in their home.
While attending church one Sunday as a family, a faithful routine cultivated by Larry's mom Margaret, Larry's father had a radical conversion experience that immediately sobered him and nurtured in him a desire to have Christ as the family cornerstone.
Training, Ministry, Church Planting and More...
In 1968, Larry graduated from Southern California College, in Costa Mesa, California, (now Vanguard University), earning a B.A. in Religious Studies. Shortly thereafter, he was ordained in the Assemblies of God denomination, working as a youth pastor, associate pastor, and senior pastor. In 1980 he left the Assemblies of God and joined the staff of the newly formed New Life Christian Fellowship in Claremont, California.
In the '80s Larry aligned himself with the Vineyard Movement, under the leadership of John Wimber, for whom he worked as a counselor at the Anaheim Vineyard. In 1984, Larry started Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Ontario. Seventeen years after he left to serve in the Vineyard Movement, New Life Christian Fellowship asked Larry to return, this time as senior pastor.
In 1997, Ontario Vineyard and New Life Community Church combined to form Granite Creek Community Church. Under Pastor Larry's leadership, Granite Creek enjoys a vibrant, Christ-centered community life, demonstrating both quantitative and qualitative growth.
Larry is also the founder and president of KidCare International (KCI), a nongovernmental humanitarian aid organization. KCI, established in 1991, sends medical and financial aid to distressed countries, developing nations, and people negatively impacted by natural and man-made disasters.
Larry and his wife Janice of 45 years, have two children: Joshua, who serves as Lead Pastor at Granite Creek; and Alexandra, their beautiful daughter residing in Seattle.
- Senior Pastor: Granite Creek Community Church (Ontario Vineyard and New Life merged in 1997). 1984-present.
- Associate Pastor: New Life Community Church (current site of Granite Creek) 1982-84.
- Counseling Pastor: Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim 1979-82
- Senior Pastor: Newhall First Assembly of God. 1978-79
- Youth Pastor: Pomona First Assembly of God. 1973-79
- Director: Southern California Assembly of God Youth Ministries Department 1978-80
- Youth Pastor: Bakersfield First Assembly of God. 1970-73
Small Groups and Community Development Pastor Janie Sjogren
Pastor Janie Sjogren works with Small Groups & Community Development at Granite Creek. For over 30 years, Janie and her husband, Steve, have been involved with church planting, training and encouraging outward-focused churches, with a strong emphasis on small groups, relationship building, and showing God’s love in practical ways to all kinds of people.
Janie has a passion for every person stepping into all that God has for them, and sees life-giving churches such as Granite Creek to be a vital part of that process.
Janie is a graduate of Sonoma State University (California). Janie and Steve are co-authors of 101 Ways to Help People in Need (NavPress). Janie and Steve have three grown children.
Worship Associate Pastor John Stratton
We are excited to have Pastor John Stratton join the Granite Creek Ministry Team!
John is a SoCal based singer songwriter, worship leader and pastor, and formerly served as the worship pastor at The Highlands Christian Fellowship in Palmdale.
from John Stratton's website: He writes songs of love, hope and relationship with the goal to bring people together in unity. His ultimate goal as a songwriter is to make room for people to have an encounter with the presence of God through his songs in their everyday lives. He has recently released "We've Only Just Begun," an album full of "life songs" to walk with the listener through their unique journey. You can find more out about John at his website www.johnstrattonmusic.com."
College/Young Adult Pastor Meko
Coffee, not blood, courses through my veins.
I'm a closet Sci Fi nerd, but I draw the line at conventions and costumes;
LOVE my family, especially my daughter and my hubby; my sister and bro-in-law and nephews; my sis Alex; love my church family, especially people who work with youth. Totally into HARVEYS purses; love shoes; I'm a big theology nerd; I love my college and young adult kids like they're my own.
Azusa Pacific University
Class of 2010 MA in Religion
Class of 1994 BA in Philosophy and English
Pastoral Coach Steve Sjogren
Steve Sjogren has worked with thousands of churches that have been transformed as they put God’s kindness into practice. Many have discovered that showing God’s love in practical ways is team building, simple, and inclusive. Kindness Outreach is demonstrating God’s love by offering to do humble acts of service, with no strings attached, and opens the door for the miraculous to occur.
Steve Sjogren is the author of many books, including the bestselling Conspiracy of Kindness, 101 Ways to Reach Your Community, and Changing the World Through Kindness. Steve's books and articles are aimed at helping everyday people show God’s extraordinary love and that “God’s love leads to a radical life change.” You can find out more about Steve at stevesjogren.com.
Youth Pastors Michael and Jennifer Jones
Michael and Jennifer Jones have been working with students of Granite Creek since 1999. Its has been their passion to see students step up and not be the church of tomorrow, but the church of today. Their philosophy behind the youth ministry is all about discipleship and spiritual formation. Their vision for the youth group is to not be a group with a discipleship program, but to be a group about discipleship.
Michael is a self proclaimed movie expert and LOVES all things football (the ball with the pointy ends not the round ball). He loves sci-fi books, comic books, and all but one Godzilla movies (yep you guessed it the 1998 American version). Something interesting about Michael is that he can do 15 push ups in 20 minutes.
As much as he loves those things, he’s passionate about the bible and making scripture come alive to people. Michael believes that the way Jesus worked in people back then is the same way He works in us today, and through the power of the Holy Spirit he loves to be the one to help students make that connection. Michael’s life verse is Micah 6:8
Michael attended Vanguard University where he received his BA in Psychology and Human Development
Jennifer loves to participates in the ancient art of jewelry making. She is known to love a good chick flick as well as enjoying a good sci-fi film (The love of sci-fi is due to her husband who converted her to quality films). Jennifer is very handy and enjoys Do IT Yourself Projects. Something interesting about Jennifer is that she has never lost a round of bowling to her husband.
Jennifer loves working with students. She recognized the call in heart many years ago, and counts it a privilege to help students with their stresses and hurts, and a joy to walk along students as they go through life. With the goal to equip, strengthen, and to always point to them to Jesus. Jennifer’s life verse is 1 Timothy 4:12
Michael and Jennifer live in Ontario with their two children, where every day they are grateful to God to be the ones whom He entrusted to love.
Youth Coordinator Mandy VanHolsbeck
In Junior High Group we laugh, have fun and make new friends. We challenge each other to grow and become all that God has designed us to be.
We believe the truth in 1 Timothy 4:12, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." We are building the church of tomorrow while being the church of today.
Childrens Ministry Leaders - Jonathan and Ruth Santamaria
Jonathan and Ruth Santamaria are a treasure and a gift to our Children’s Ministry! Jonathan is a Public School Teacher and has a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. Ruth has been a Latin American Bible Institute Teacher for more than twenty years, currently working on her Master’s Degree in Christian Education. They are passionate about teaching children the Bible in innovative and attractive ways. They both lead Granite Creek Children’s Ministry, Nursery through 6th Grade. They are committed to developing talented teachers and providing a great experience for your kids!
We believe that teaching the Bible is part of the Great Commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” - Matthew 28:19-20. We strive to educate children according to the scriptures and promote a deep understanding of them. Our goal is for children to live life, making decisions based on the principles of the Bible on a daily basis.
In a recent interview, Jonathan shared a few of his thoughts:
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
I always get up in the morning thinking of the children. Any particular aspect of their education has enough power to drive me.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I ride my bike for miles.
Of all the great success stories you've heard (Bible, literature, autobiography, family member, etc) what's the most inspiring to you and why?
Knowing that God is happy is the first thing that moves me. Secondly, simplifying tasks for others is something I like. Finally, using technology to improve anything, (especially teaching) is something I push for. There are many inspiring stories, and it is hard to pick one. However, the life of Martin Luther King Jr. is a very powerful one because of Martin's faith, God's intervention, and the tremendous opposition Martin had while accomplishing his calling. He didn't rely on what he was, but in what God could do. That is a very powerful example for all of us.
Favorite local dinning establishment (within 30 miles)?
Favorite verse/Scripture story and why?
Job 23:10 "For He knows my ways, when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." This verse has been a special promise for my wife and I. We began to trust in God even before we got married, and together as God tests us, we strive to come out clean. This allows us to enhance our trust in God and between each other in all areas.
Happiest place for you on Earth is______?
Home. Happiness comes with the company of your people. Wherever we are together and we can call it home.
Suppose that everywhere you went you had to carry a shoebox around with you, and in that shoebox you kept the most unusual or valuable object you own. What's in the shoebox and why is it so valuable to you?
I would carry a harmonica or a flute. If I can make music even with a small instrument, I would have a good pastime, I could also worship God, and at the same time I could beat loneliness and boredom.