We are blessed with a fantastic group of men and women on our staff team who love Jesus, His Church, and His people! We encourage you to get to know them, pray for them, and encourage them as together we follow God's Spirit in this church family.
Mike Penninga is first and foremost a son of God, a husband to Michelle, a father of 3, and a Kelowna boy through-and-through! A grad of Trinity Western University and ACTS seminary with a background in broadcast journalism, Mike has a passion for sharing the life changing news of Jesus Christ in understandable and captivating ways. He has spoken to thousands of students and young adults over the past 15 years, challenging them to invest their lives in that which is eternal. He has been the Senior Pastor at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship since March 2009. Discover more about Mike's heart in this article.
I am a father to three wonderful girls and husband to the love of my life, Shelley. While a good chunk of my life has been spent on the prairies, BC is my home and I love our city of Kelowna! I graduated from Regent College in Vancouver in 2009 and spent 3 years teaching and serving as Academic Dean at Eston College, Saskatchewan before returning home, where I began working here as Associate Pastor in April of 2014.
I have long been seized by God’s grace and the call to serve His church, something that both excites and humbles me at the same time. My passion is to educate the imagination of the Church with respect to who God is, how we experience him, and to understand what good works he has created us and equipped us to do in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2.4-10).
Even though I had the privilege of being raised by a Godly mother, it wasn't until the age of twenty-three that I had a dramatic, transforming encounter with the living Christ. My passion since that day has been to point people to the Lord Jesus and share Him with anyone who is willing to hear of His love, forgiveness and redemption.
Throughout my life, the greatest gifts I have received from the hand of our Father has been the tender love of my beautiful wife Benita, the joy, fun and friendship that radiates from our amazing son Evan, the blessing of being called by God to serve His people in vocational ministry and the ongoing thankfulness of enjoying and expressing various musical forms and expressions in diverse settings.
To honor Jesus, encourage and bless His people at KGF and build a team of musicians and technicians that love God and other's passionately is the greatest desire of my heart. May the Lord grant grace and strength to see His will and purposes accomplished through the music and technical of our fellowship.
Marcus is a follower of Jesus Christ. One sunny day he fell in love with Bethany when she threw a rock near a Blue Heron (that’s the girl for me!). Out of their love and marriage bloomed two boys, Elijah Christopher and Rafael Lorne. Marcus loves being a father, wrestling with his boys, and teaching them about this beautiful world God has made and is restoring! He loves playing basketball, tennis, journaling at a good café, and cruising Bernard in his minivan, windows down, tunes pumping.
Marcus was first called to pastoral ministry during his Bachelors of Ministry at Prairie Bible College (1998-2002). This was only deepened during his three years of youth ministry in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and another four years of Bible training at Regent College in Vancouver, BC (MDiv, 2009). After 5 years of carpentry Jesus called him to pastor the next generation at KGF. He can’t contain his excitement and looks forward to seeing young people set on fire for Jesus and His Kingdom!
I have been passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with young people from the time I was a teenager. Since my marriage to Dave in 1972, God has blessed both of us with amazing privilege of building relationships with young people and, through these friendships, we’ve been given the opportunity to introduce many of these children to our awesome Lord Jesus Christ.
Whether these relationships were built through my years of teaching students at almost every grade level, counselling children after obtaining my Master’s Degree in Christian Counselling, or our years of involvement in the Young Life ministry, as volunteer leaders, Area Directors, or serving on the Board of Directors for Young Life, it was exciting, yet humbling to be used by Him and to see the impact Jesus has had and continues to have on the lives of so many children.
As the Children’s Pastor at KGF, I have the exciting opportunity once more of being a “fire starter” for Christ with these young children, but I also get the tremendous privilege of working with the incredible leaders and members of KGF congregation who sacrificially give their time to make a difference in the lives of so many children.
Bethany loves God, her husband Marcus, and her two sons, Elijah and Rafael. Born and raised in Kelowna, she could be found on the soccer pitch or on the volleyball court. She came to faith at an early age but genuinely started following Jesus while at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, where she studied outdoor education and counseling. She has since enjoyed shepherding young people in their faith and finding creative ways to make the Gospel come alive. She has been a member of KGF Church since September, 2012, and looks forward to serving Jesus alongside so many amazing believers.
Galen is excited to support the KGF Church Family as Technical Director. He and his wonderful wife Amy have been married for 8 years and together they have a beautiful daughter Mylah, 4, and a daschund George! While his main day job is a Fire Sprinkler Pipe Fitter, he also works in live theater production, having over 20 years experience both professionally and as a community volunteer. He is passionate about sharing his experience as a technician, seeing his team grow and supporting the worship and leadership teams at KGF.
My family and I have been attending KGF since February 2011 and have come to love this church family and consider it home. I am married to my best friend, Nolan, and we have two amazing daughters, Cassidy and Elyse. I enjoy time with my family, long walks, hiking, canoeing, camping, reading, baking, cross-country skiing, getting together with friends, wandering through antiques stores, and sipping tea. I am really looking forward to working with this amazing team that God has brought together to bring the gospel of Jesus to this amazing city we are privileged to live in.
As part of his Masters of Divinity studies from Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Phill Whatman will be “interning” at KGF from September 2013 until December 2014. He will work in areas of Life Groups, Young Adults, and Tech Ministries. Phill has spent the past five years working at the Kelowna Gospel Mission.
“What I have found is that day-by-day, year-by-year, Christ has been transforming me to become more in his likeness. I look back on my past and wonder how I got from “point A” to the transformation of “point B.” This transformation that I have undergone, I can only give credit to Christ and the Holy Spirit.
The joy is that I know that Christ will walk with me in my life long journey (even as I stumble and fall). When I included God in my life story, or better yet, join in God’s bigger story, my life narrative has gone beyond something I could ever imagine.
Bethany felt called to ministry from an early age. During her high school years she worked as a Cabin Leader at Summer Bible Camp and as a Sunday School teacher during the rest of the year. In 2006, a year after her high school graduation, she left her home province of British Columbia behind and flew to the small town of Homer, Alaska, where she completed a Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The school was a turning point in Bethany's life and she remained in Alaska for two more years, serving as a missionary staff member on the YWAM base. Through a series of experiences and key friendships, Bethany began to feel called to study at Bible College. Bethany graduated from Columbia Bible College in April 2014 with a Diploma in Biblical Studies. KGF was instrumental in this achievement, as the congregation supported Bethany through love, encouragement, and bursaries. She plans to return to school in September 2015, pursuing a Masters degree in Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. She is incredibly excited to be spending the coming year serving the KGF church family as both an intern and as Administrative Assistant.
I am passionate about my God, my family, music and numbers! I was born and raised in Kelowna and have 3 amazing children. Skiing, camping and road trips are among the many things we enjoy to do together.
I have been involved in serving the local church, particularly in the area of worship and more recently in the way of bookkeeping. I have numerous businesses that I provide bookkeeping services for and I am honored to come alongside the team at KGF in the capacity of bookkeeper. I have a heart to see the local church thrive, see families build close knit community and in turn be empowered and inspired to reach our city with the love of Christ.