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Benji Magness, Senior Pastor

Benji came to Grace in October 2011 after having pastored churches in Texas. He is married to Heather and they have 5 children. Benji's desire in ministry is to see people bring God glory by finding their joy in Jesus Christ as their Supreme Treasure in this life (Psalm 43:4; Matthew 13:44). He is passionate about the Gospel, prayer, discipleship, and seeing the nations come to worship the Triune God. Benji earned his Masters in Theology (Th.M) in Old Testament & Pastoral Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary. He desires to preach and teach so that the Word of God becomes easy to understand, hard to forget, and impossible to ignore. And he loves Starbucks Coffee.


Greg Burtnett, Associate Pastor

Greg's passion in the ministry is to use the Word of God to live above reproach and help others do the same.  He graduated from the International School of Theology, a daughter organization of Campus Crusade for Christ and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree from Talbot Seminary.  Greg has a passion for small groups and discipleship ministry.  He and his wife, Donna were married in 1995 and have two boys, Jaron and Nathan.

James Barr, Youth Minister

James grew up in the family of a youth pastor, spending his Jr. High & High School years in SLO and felt the call to ministry while he was a high school student.  He met his wife, Tiffany while at Biola and graduated from Biola University.  He earned his Masters of Divinity in Christian Education with an emphasis in youth ministry from Talbot Seminary.  James joined the staff at Grace Baptist in September of 1998.  James and his wife Tiffany have two sons, Nathan and Isaac and daughter Kaitlyn.  Nathan is currently involved in our youth ministries with Isaac and Kaitlyn following closely behind.  He thinks he has the coolest job in the world and is a Star Wars freak.


Michelle Winger, Children's Ministry

Michelle moved to Santa Maria at age twelve and attended local schools. She has been involved in children's ministry since a VBS missionary trip to Mexico at age 15.  Michelle joined our staff in August 2000 as Director of Children's Ministries.  She brings a Biola University education, graduating from Bethel Seminary, Magna Cum Laude with a Masters in Children and Family Ministry as well as 31 years of serving here at Grace to her current position.  She and her husband Jim have two "Grace-grown" children.


David Rackley, Music Director

David Rackley is a native of Modesto, California, and received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts degrees in Theory and Composition from San Francisco State University, where he also studied conducting. In 1971 he entered the United States Air Force Music Program as appointed Commander and Conductor of Air Force Bands, where he conducted numerous military bands in various worldwide locations. He came to Grace Baptist in October of 1999. A published composer, arranger, and professional trumpet player, David also serves on the music faculties of Brandman University, Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, and Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. David and his wife Cordelia have two grown children, Michael and Tara.


Chet Harter, Contemporary Music Director

Chet grew up in Southern California, saturated in the "Jesus Movement", at the very time that contemporary Christian Music was born. He graduated from Westmont College with a B.A. in Christian Education, and from Fuller Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. Ordained as a Baptist pastor in 1986, Chet spent 15 years in Youth Ministry, leading music and worship at many camps, retreats and churches including his home church and youth group. Chet, Ann (his wife of 34 years), their three daughters and his guitar came to Grace Baptist Church in 2000. We all know the rest of the story.


Donna Lehman, Office Administrator

Donna is a native of the small mid-western town of Osceola, Nebraska. She graduated from the Omaha School of Business and has over 40 years experience in business administration and marketing. Prior to joining Grace Baptist she was the manager of Office Systems at World Vision, a Christian relief organization, in Monrovia, California for 10 years. After World Vision relocated to the Pacific Northwest in 1995, Donna and her husband, Roger, moved to the Central Coast. Donna joined the Grace Baptist staff on January 1, 1996.


Juno Smit, Ministry Staff Member

Juno was born and raised in Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa. He made Santa Maria his home in 2010 and joined Grace Baptist Church. As a ministry staff member Juno serves mainly as a lead teacher in our weekly Children’s Ministry for children age 3 to 6th grade, is a leader with the high school students in our Youth Ministry and serves as a leader in AWANA.  Juno is involved in the presentation of bible study and discussion sessions with our College Ministry and participates in planning and executing seasonal children’s ministry events such as Vacation Bible School and our Christmas programs. As a member of the Tech Ministry he assists with technical presentations and prepares slides for youth and adult worship services.


Stefanie Hassett, Administrative Assistant

Stefanie was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA and happily transplanted to the Central Coast in 1987.  She has a varied background in both secular and Christian work ranging from the Kern County Tax Collector's Office, Lockheed, First United Methodist Church and Righetti High School.  Her primary job over the last 20+ years has been as 'Mom' to her three children; Alex, Amy and Ian with her husband Eric.


  Gary Barron

Gary was born in San Rafael, California  but raised in Texas and New Mexico.  He moved to
Santa Maria as a teenager where he met and married his wife Elaine 48 years ago.  They 
have two children and eight grandchildren.  They spent 31 years in Arizona where Gary
worked as a truck driver before working for College View Baptist Church doing
maintenance/custodial work.  Gary came to know the Lord at the age of 33.  Gary & his
family moved back to Santa Maria in 2001 and joined Grace Baptist Church soon after.  
Gary has been an Elder at Grace and currently serves as a Deacon as well as a Sunday
School Facilitator.  Gary is our 'go-to' guy for any custodial/maintenance work here at Grace.  
He enjoys taking care of God's people and looks forward every day to what His plan is for his
life.  In his spare time he enjoys playing golf.