S: The Blessing
BC: Venture Christian Church 16845 Hicks Road, Los Gatos CA 95032 Phone: 408-997-4600 http://www.venturechristian.org
1: God Created His Church…
2: The story begins in 1884 with the vision of a small group of Christ followers who wanted to reach the spiritually lost people of their area. The town, not yet incorporated, was named La Rinconada de Los Gatos (Cat’s Corner) by early settlers due to the screams of mountain lions prowling in the night. The Christian Church of Los Gatos served as an outpost for the gospel for over half a century. A change in the name to Los Gatos Christian Church prepared the way for a new era of outreach and growth in the decades of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. | By God’s blessing and by employing diverse methods to proclaim Christ, the congregation grew to several thousand and relocated to the campus on Hicks Road. At the same time, it also began establishing new churches in the Santa Clara Valley. One of them was South Valley Christian Church, which was planted in the Blossom Valley region of San Jose. The Lord blessed SVCC with its own steady growth and diverse ministry.
3: South Valley Christian Church | South Valley Christian Church (SVCC) was planted by Los Gatos Christian Church (LGCC) in February 2, 1986. Two hundred and fifty people started this new church. On the first Sunday on the Dickenson campus, they ran out of communion and people had to sit in the kitchen. The services were eventually moved to Herman Middle School to make more room. When that was not enough, the Family Life Center was built on the school district property at 590 Shawnee Lane. | In addition to Sunday services, the Family Life Center was used for basketball outreach and dinner theater to draw people to Christ. A primary focus of SVCC was to support missionaries world-wide. In the past twenty-one years of ministry, the congregation has grown, and its influence has spread throughout the region and the nation.
4: In God’s providence, Los Gatos Christian and South Valley Christian merged in September 2007 to form Venture Christian Church. He placed the vision upon the hearts of the leaders, who prayerfully and systematically developed a plan to bring together two spiritually healthy churches for the greater impact of the gospel. | Venture Christian Church began worshipping as one congregation on September 16. The hard work of merging the cultures, ministries, and organizations was naturally a process, but already the hand of God is evident in the enthusiasm and energy within the congregation. Ministries to the church family and those reaching into the community are stronger than ever. The church is uniting behind a common vision and under the Lordship of Jesus. We see what’s happening as a venture (or journey) of faith to which He has called us.
5: God Called His Pastors...
6: Pastor Galen Call | Galen Call served as Senior Pastor of Los Gatos Christian Church for eight years prior to the merge with South Valley Christian Church in September 2007. Pastor Call has served almost 40 years in church ministry. Prior to coming to Los Gatos Christian, he served churches in Covington, Kentucky; Dallas, Texas; and St. Paul, Minnesota. | Pastor Call is a native of Kansas. He attended undergraduate schools in Chicago (Moody Bible Institute) and in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Cornerstone University). In 1999, he received his Master of Arts in Ministry at the Moody Graduate School in Chicago.
7: He and his wife, Jeannette, met in Kentucky when he moved there after college to begin ministry. They were married in October 1970. They have four children and five grandchildren. Pastor Call serves on the Board of Trustees at Northwestern College and Radio in St. Paul, Minnesota. His ministry has included speaking in colleges, Bible conferences, and mission fields.
8: Prior to entering this new venture as Co-Senior Pastor of Venture Christian Church, Dave Sawkins was Senior Pastor of South Valley Christian Church from its beginnings in February 1986. | Before settling in California, Dave pastored a church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for 15 years. Pastor Dave also served for 14 years as a police chaplain in Albuquerque. He and his family later moved to the Bay Area where he was Assistant to the President at San Jose Christian College and also a pastor on staff at Los Gatos Christian Church. | Pastor Dave Sawkins
9: Pastor Dave is a graduate of Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, and has a Master of Arts in Religion from Pepperdine University in Southern California. He is a native of Southern California. Dave and his wife, Sheila, have been married for 40 years and have three grown children William, Phillip, and Susan, and one grandchild.
10: God Blessed...
11: “Dave, We are so thankful for your ministry to us and our children and grandchildren. Thanks for making the ministry of 50+, Koinonia, possible. We love our class and our church. We’ll miss you.” - Curt and Gracie | “Dave, Thank you for the “teaching” you’ve done in the services. You have helped me thru some severe times in my life – and led me to become a better Christian. Your preaching has been so natural in our daily lives.” - Barbara Erling | “Dave and Shelia, We will miss you so much. You have blessed us and encouraged us to grow in the love of Christ. It has been our great pleasure to sit under your teaching for these years. We pray God richly blesses you in the path you choose to go! We will always think of you with love.” - Jack and Barbara Hewett | - Mary Vasovich | “Dave and Sheila, Ken & I would really like to express all the gratitude and love we have for you. We have related to you as a couple and been challenged and coached by you as our teachers, mentors, spiritual leaders, and felt the love and caring you have demonstrated for all of us. Sheila, thank you for your encouragement and wonderful example of thoughtfulness, patience, diligence in all you do. You have wisdom that confirms your faithful study of the word and constant interaction with the Lord. Dave, we have learned so much through your teaching, your obvious passion for people, our country and missions. We love you both so much.” - Ken & Mary Ota
12: “Dave and Sheila, We will miss your presence and warmth with which you have embraced all of us and demonstrated Jesus’ love. You modeled for all of us how a team should work. We pray for you and your family as you continue to follow God’s will for you.” - Gino and Carol Scatena | “Through the relatively few years of knowing you, we have been blessed.” - Gordon and Patricia Mickelson | “Pastor Dave, Thank you for your thoughtful participation in the Lord’s work, for listening to His direction and following His vision. We know your adventure with Jehovah-Jireh will continue." - Stan and Joan Friesen | "Thank you both for all you have done and for what a blessing you have been to so many people. God bless you and we wish you the very best. You will be in our prayers!" - Lou and Dorothy Miller | "Dear Pastor Dave, Thank you so much for your many years of dedication to the Lord and this church. May the Lord bless and keep you." - Linda Oberquell
13: - John Lane | “Dear Dave and Sheila, Jan and I have just had the pleasure of being under your ministry for a little over 4 years. In my 66 years of being under someone’s ministry, I’ve never been so consistently and spiritually lifted up or challenged. Thank you for loving Jesus and showing that love to us." - Jan and Clell Bontrager | “Dave and Galen, Thank you for your service, leadership, and vision you have provided over the years.” - Glen and Pam Wiley | “Dear Dave and Galen, Thank you both for blessing our lives with your faithful-ness to the Lord. May God richly bless your future ministries.” - John and Linda Dunning | “Thank you, Pastor Galen, for your gentle shepherding. I so appreciated your kindness and compassion when my husband went to be with the Lord. Jeannette, thanks so much for your love and concern over the flock and your beautiful smile. I shall miss you – God go with you in your new adventure. Blessings and Aloha” - Sybil Ruggles | "Pastor Galen and Dave, your example of a Christian walk with Jesus has inspired me in my own life's challenges. It has been exciting to work with you in spreading the Gospel through the South Bay. God put ‘God Talk’ at Oakridge mall on my heart a few years ago and your support and encouragement has been instrumental in this work. May God bless you both in an AWESOME way!” - Rich Sevcik
14: “Dear Dave and Galen, Thank you both for your faithful service. Blessings to you and your families.” - Bob and Carolee Luthi | “Pastor Dave, Thank you for your faithful service to the Lord and us! We love you and will miss you. We’re praying for God’s direction as you continue ministering.” - Ron and Nell Orlando | “Dear Dave and Sheila, Both of you have been such a blessing through the years. There are many happy memories – sitting through many baseball games and our daughter's and son-in-law’s wedding. You did such a beautiful job! We wish you the best in the coming years." - Ron and Jan Gehring | “God bless you as you turn the page on a new chapter of your life. The story is not completed and the end of the book is always the best.” - Shirley Connor | “Dave and Galen, Just want you to know how much you are appreciated. We wish you God’s richest blessings in your new stage of life. Thank you for blessing our lives.” - Phil and Elva Collins | “Pastor Dave, just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for all the wonderful work you do at VCC. We love your enthusiasm and energy, as you teach us God's Word. Plus it's great that you come say hi before service. When you spoke of helping your neighbors, where the husband with bone cancer had to take a late night ambulance ride, it touched our hearts. We're lucky to have you and Pastor Galen!” -Roger Graver
15: “Pastors Dave and Galen, Even though we’ve been at Venture just a short time, both Carol and I have appreciated your leadership – you’re both faithful shepherds. God bless as you move into a new season of life.” - Dale and Carol Dequine | “Thank you for all your years of serving as our Senior Pastor. We love you.” - Bob and Barbara Parmenter | - Eillene Ehlers | “Dear Pastor Dave and Galen, We hate to see you leave and will miss you, but we take with us the things you taught us. God be with you and use you mightily.” - Hermine Dillon & Anna Whitehurst | “Thank God for having you as my pastors and spiritual mentors in my life. May God bless you today and forever!” - Moon-Hi Ree | - Rodney Whitefield | "Pastor Dave has not only been my pastor but a REAL friend. He has and always will be a living example of a spirit-filled man – knowing what God has called him to do and going forth with the mission, keeping his eye on the eternal goal. He has made a difference in my life. Thanks, Dave & Sheila.” - Marge Engel
16: “Dear Pastor Sawkins, Thank you for all the love, sermons, and many things you do for all of us. We especially thank you for baptizing us August of 2007.” - George & Ardyth Nothwang | “Pastor Dave, We will miss you so very much but know this is part of God’s plan for you and Sheila. Your sermons and guidance have been such strong messages to us both. We were new to South Valley in 2005 and to Christianity, and you really spoke to us.” - Jerry and Pat Krause | - Millie and John Evans | “My special memory of Pastor Galen is my baptism in the Jordan River and devotional times during the 2008 Holy Land trip.” - Louise Polizzotto | “Pastor Galen’s biblical preaching has been so helpful to me. His encouragement of the vintage worship is tre-mendously appreciated.” - Jean Barnes | “We have very much appreciated Galen’s teaching abilities. He has demonstrated a shepherd's qualities in his loving care of his flock. His mid-western sensibilities coupled with an accurate pulse on the Bay Area lifestyle has been very beneficial to our congregation. Thank you for your hard work and dedication in your ministry.” - Hugh & Mimi Reynolds | “Dear Galen and Dave, Your presence at VCC as Senior Pastors has been so meaningful to me as I’ve been spiritually fed. Thank you so much. You will be sorely missed and I will be praying that the Lord’s will be done and be with you both wherever God leads you.” - Jane Fukuda
17: “Galen, you are the most gracious and tenderhearted pastor I have ever heard. I will pray for you and Jeannette as you move to new things. I appreciate and love you both. Dave, I have also appreciated you and Sheila. Your 'fruit of the spirit' teaching was the best.” - Ann Buck | “Dave and Sheila, how I will miss you. You are long-time friends and have been such an encouragement to me. May God continue to bless and encourage you on your journey with Him. Galen, what a blessing you have been. You will be deeply missed.” -Jorgia Stanford | “We have come to know and love both of you. Your teaching and loving God’s way has been a contribution to our growth. Thank you for your hard work. We are thankful to have gotten closer to you both during our trip to Israel in 2008. God bless you.” - Rich and Trish Latour | “Thank you, Pastor Dave, for baptizing our best friends, Bob and Carol Vergara, on April 15, 1995, in our home Jacuzzi. Thank you for your humility. Thank you, Pastor Galen, for visiting me in Valley Medical Center after I became paralyzed. That was encouraging for me.” - Victor and Lynda Kelaita - Bob and Carol Vergara | “Thank you, Pastor Galen, for your 10 years of faithful service and your obvious love for the Lord. We wish you and Jeannette all of God’s blessings for the future. We’ll miss you greatly! Thank you, Pastor Dave, for your meaningful sermons and your love for the Lord.” - David & Jim Vollenweider
18: - New Horizons Life Group | “Galen, God has really used you in our lives. In addition to the gift of teaching, He has gifted you with the real gift of listening to your flock, and uttering words of wisdom with empathy, sincerity, sensitivity and genuineness. Thank you for the enjoyable time we had in the Bill Gaither Concert at the Cow Palace with you and Jeannette.” - John and Maria | “Thank you, Pastor Dave, for helping with a donated vehicle to the Dreamland Team for their use in working with youth in our community.” - David and Maria Neeleman | “What an incredible example of loving servitude from an entire family. We appreciate all your family has done for Venture and our family.” - Hnateks Family | “Galen, you strengthened my faith with the basic truths. Dave, you taught dynamic living, which is needed in these last days.” - Harry Skovmand
19: “Dave, Under your leadership and your teachings, we have grown in the Lord. You have taught us to live life to the fullest, speak the truth, and be strong in the Lord. We know that true strength comes from God alone, and we have seen it work through you. The fingerprint you left on us will be passed on to our children and grandchildren and others we reach in ministry.” - Carlos and Esther Rodriguez | “I will never forget either of you! What a godly help and encouragement you have been to me! I am trusting the Lord to give you many more people to be precious to!” - Loralee Spurlock | “Dave, we know that the Lord will certainly have another ministry waiting for you and we pray towards that end. Thank you, Dave, for your vision and faithful support in the ministry the Lord has entrusted to us.” - John and Helen Dekker | “Dave and Galen, thank you for your loving partnership and encouragement all these years. Your faithful prayer, financial, and other support from such a distance testifies to your love.” - Mike and Joyce D. | "Galen, you are right on with your sermons every Sunday and they are truthful and exact. I use your sermons in my men’s group almost every week." - Ron and Gayle Canty
20: - Lynn and Sylvia Rhynes | "Dave, I am always blessed by the Truth presented in your messages. Galen, you present the Truth with a conviction and confidence that inspires me. I am confident in His plan: 'As for God His way is perfect.' Psalm 18:30" - Faith Karnan | “Dear Galen and Jeannette, I have grown so much through your ministry. I cannot express how grateful to God I am for your leadership. We will always remember your integrity that has guided us.” - Cheryl, Martin, Richard, Christian and Anna Lowe | “Dave, you did a three- week series that was so good we bought your cd’s and gave them to our daughter, as she is going through a very difficult time. Thank you for being so friendly, open and available.” - Ron and Gayle Canty | “Thank you, Dave, for being such a faithful witness of God's Word to me.” -Lou Ann Griego | “Thank you, Galen and Dave, for all the hard work and thoughtfulness you both have put in to make the merger a success. I pray that Galen & Jeannette and Dave & Sheila will enjoy whatever the future holds for them in God’s will.” - Gillian Lambeth | “Thank you both for always teaching God’s Word. No compromised Gospel. You are a breath of fresh air. Thank you!” - Greg & Maxine Sivaslian
21: “Pastor Dave and Sheila, we’ve appreciated your Christ-likeness, personable, down to earth, friendly attitudes and sermons that are funny, challenging, real and relative to our lives. Thanks, Sheila, for loving the little ones! Pastor Galen, thank you for all that you have done to merge the two churches together and the impact you have made in many lives.” - The Degnan Family | “Pastor Dave, you were inspirational in my decision to be baptized on October 7, 2002. Before the baptism, I was very nervous and afraid of being immersed, but you where there and prayed with me and it turned out to be the best day of my life!” - Lilian Morimoto | “Pastor Dave, we have been blessed by your willingness to be a servant to our Lord and lead our congregation through so many mountains and valleys. We will miss seeing you and Sheila popping out from around the corner at church, but we know that the Lord has a new adventure that He is anxious to get started with you in mind!” - Enid and Mike Balavac | “Pastor Dave & Galen, Thank you so much for the ways you have impacted our lives. We were fed from His Word weekly. Thank you for nourishing our thirsty souls! We are going to miss you and your families, and pray that God will encourage, direct and use you." - Stan & Donna Bales | “When I think about Pastor Galen Call, I think of a man who came to LGCC as a specific answer to prayer. I was blessed to know Pastor Galen first through the Search Committee and later by serving on the Council of Elders with him. Galen Call is a gentle leader, who is concerned about others, and a solid man who loves and follows the Lord with all of his heart.” - Keith Berding and Family | “Pastor Dave, your prayer for our family during Reagan’s baby dedication is something we will keep in our hearts. You taught my dad how to be a man of God and changed his life and ours. Your Tuesday morning Bible Study has been key to my dad’s walk with God.” - Joshua, Erica & Reagan Farlow
22: “Galen and Jeannette, our family will think of you fondly for years to come. Margaret and I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting under your teaching each Sunday. Jeannette, your patient teaching of our children in the 2nd grade provided a steady influence during a critical time in their lives. Galen, your faithful leadership during the years of the merger were an inspiration to us. Dave and Sheila, Margaret and I have especially enjoyed your intimate preaching and teaching style since the merger. We appreciate the courage and sacrifice it took for both of you to envision and bring to reality Venture Christian Church. Your willingness to follow God through a time of change for you and your family touched us.” -Keith, Margaret, David, Madeline and Nicholas | “Dave came alongside us when we were very new to pastoral ministry. He allowed me to learn from him, and even merged South Valley Christian with what is now Westhills Community Church for the sake of kingdom advance. I count him my pastor, a dear friend and mentor, and WHCC as an ongoing part of his ministry legacy.” -Michael, Raquel, Joshua and David | “Each of the pastors gave messages that helped to strengthen my faith in God and His Word; they encouraged me in my Christian walk and my relationship with others.” - Frank Cotton | “Thank you both for your service for our Lord and to all of us. I will pray for you as you continue to serve Him. We will miss both of you." -F. J. Crawford
23: “Pastor Dave, thank you for being our pastor and encouraging us during our courtship and marriage. We appreciated your support and guidance and we were so delighted that you were available to perform our wedding ceremony. You will always have a special place in our hearts and memories and will always be part of the story of our life together.” -Luis and Rhonda Matos | “Pastor Galen and Jeannette, we are so appreciative of your loving service throughout these past nine years. You have been instrumental in the growth of the church and especially the school. We will miss you very much, but we know God has great plans for you both as you continue to serve Him in Colorado. May God richly bless you both.” -Joe and Treva Black | “We have enjoyed both pastors very much. Pastor Sawkins married our son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Liz Wilcox, in our home about 3 years ago. We will miss them both. May God’s blessing be upon them.” - Chuck and Delma Wilcox | “Thank you, Galen and Jeannette, for being sincere, loving, ‘regular’ people. We have so loved and appreciated Galen shepherding us with the loving support of his ‘lovely wife!' You are a gifted and clear teacher of God’s Word. We will always remember you in our prayers.” -Mark and Patty Oswald
24: “Pastor Dave, during baby dedication ceremonies, I love watching you move from mother to father to child, placing your hand on a parent’s shoulder or a baby’s head, asking blessing upon them. I thank you for the strong and wise way you have led the church, your involvement in our community, the no-nonsense manner in which you speak to the congregation when necessary, and for all you have taught me about living and thinking as a Christian.” - Diana and Perry Muzyka | “Pastor Dave, when we first moved to this area, we found SVCC and soon became part of a community. Our baby, Jonathan, was dedicated by you and several years ago was baptized. May God bless you in your new journey.” - Brad, Shirley, Justin, and Jonathan Weisberg | “Pastor Dave and Sheila, thank you for being a part of our family! We appreciate all of your love and support through the years.” - Danny, Julai, Laura, and Natalie Snell | “Pastor Dave, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. May the good Lord continue to bless you as you have blessed many. On behalf of Cryy Out Christian Fellowship, we thank you, love & appreciate you.” -Pastor Arnold & Lucinda Perez
25: “Pastor Dave, your sermons were practical and gave us tools to improve our walk with the Lord and with each other. We are grateful for your support in prayer, concern, friendship and hugs. Thank you, Sheila, for all that you have done for the women and children. We appreciate your warmth and kindness. “ - Natalie, Julai, Laura, Danny, Sheri Linda and George | “Pastor Dave, two very special memories we have include Don being baptized by you in Philippi on the Greece trip and then the reception at the palace in Rome. Your practical application of scripture as well as your personal illustrations and humor have added so much to the meaning and relevancy of God’s Word. As we continue on our life’s journey, your investment in our lives will always be cherished.” -Don and Dee Walker | “One of my favorite memories is the day I brought my sister and her husband to church and Pastor Dave came by. As I introduced him to them, he gave them both a hug and said he was glad they were there. They were both so impressed by him they began coming to church and haven’t missed since. I had prayed for years to get them to church and Pastor Dave’s hugs and short time with them did it.” - Bonnie and Tim Bajarin | “Serving with Galen as an Elder was a wonderful growth opportunity. Galen, thank you for always being open and honest through every challenging situation. Your calmness of spirit has been beneficial to me, both from behind the podium and in our discussions. You brought God’s healing to many at LGCC and prepared us as a body for a successful merger and new life as Venture Christian Church. Thank you!” -Marc and Hillary Baker
26: Israel - Greece 2008
27: Israel - Greece 2008
29: “Pastor Dave: I just wanted to tell you that you are the first pastor I have ever really trusted. You have been a living inspiration to me, not afraid, or ashamed to say that I love God, I live to serve him. I thank you for your life commitment to all of us. I will pray for you and yours and I'm sure our Lord is not done with your journey on this earth. You will be missed.” -Brian Dunham | “Pastor Dave, I cannot begin to imagine my life or the life of my family these past 25 years without you or Sheila in it. You married our son Scott and his wife Janice. You saw me through Tom’s change of thinking as he struggled with the beginnings of his blood problem. You and Sheila will be missed beyond words, but your legacy knows no bounds.” -Carol Ann Stephenson | “Dear Galen, I want to thank you for your support of me in CR and also for guiding Tom in his hurried decision to marry me. He really trusted and respected your suggestions and I appreciated that. I have loved ALL your sermons and always felt a part of LGCC and then Venture. I am in awe of what was accomplished by all the faithful servants who brought together the two churches.” - Judy Birmingham | “Dear Pastor Call, we have been so blessed to have you as our pastor. We have all been encouraged, moved, challenged and educated to the good of God's will because of you. I always would get an "all is well" feeling as you preached. It is obvious that God has gifted you to be a pastor. May God bless you and your family on your new chapter. I'm sure you will once again be a blessing to those around you.” - Mike Muldoon | “Dave officiated when we dedicated our children to God, was there when we baptized each of our children, and prayed over us as we left on various mission trips. I have enjoyed Dave's knowledge of history and its significance to the Christian faith. As Dave moves on to his next ministry adventure, we, just want to say 'thank you' to Dave and the rest of the Sawkins family. Our family has grown closer to God in part due to our interaction with the Sawkins family.” - Kevin & Karen Keating
30: “Pastor Dave and Sheila, you have been so important to our family. In our four years under your leadership, you have dedicated our babies and baptized us. As our teacher you have taught strong biblical truth with sound and practical applications. Your father’s heart has touched each of us.” -Jim & Judy Welsh, Don & Kelley, Maddie, Bella and Jules Rodrigues, Lou & Kate, Emma, Aidan DiGiorgio | “Pastor Dave, besides being our wonderful spiritual leader you have been there through Don's open heart surgery and married two of our children, Mike & Sue and Kathy & Halden. We wish you and Sheila nothing but the best in the next phase of your life.” - Don & Linda Lipsey | “Dear Pastor Galen and Pastor Dave, Barbara and I have been attending VCC for 8 months. I am 77 years old and have been an active Christian since age 9. You both have taught me, encouraged me, and motivated me. Thank you.” -Donald & Barbara Taylor | “Pastor Dave, we loved the years we were blessed with your preaching. Your messages were always alive and relevant to our everyday living. You are a strong advocate and voice in the community as well for Christian values and beliefs. You will leave a legacy of tremendous value because of your commitment and devotion for acting upon what is right! Enjoy the moment, accept all the accolades and be truly grateful that you are so loved by all because it’s true, you are loved!” - Bill and Gayle Schmidt, Alexis , Konner and Kaden
31: “We wanted to express a special thanks to Dave for his memorable visit. Dave specifically said he wanted to take us someplace that would be lots of fun for our family. We were enjoying roller skating as a family at an outdoor rink when I hit a deep, jagged crack in the rink and fell forward HARD. I had broken both of my wrists. I might not have known what great medical care was available in Singapore if you hadn't come to see us. We love you, Dave and Sheila, and are deeply thankful that you have always been so encouraging and supportive to us and our family. We pray God's richest blessings on you both.” -Denyse and Greg Gripentrog | “Pastor Dave’s messages usually seemed directed to me personally. They all held nuggets of God’s guidance and love to inspire me. Several months ago Pastor Dave challenged me to do something as a ministry and I will always remember the blessing. Thank you, Dave.” -Debby Marti | “Pastor Galen, thanks so much for the past 9 years being my pastor and starting Celebrate Recovery and taking care of Lori during her illness. Thanks also for supporting Judy and me during our courtship and marrying us. I really enjoyed your sermons. Pastor Dave, I also enjoyed your sermons. Thanks to you both for helping the merger go smoothly.” -Tom Birmingham | - La Woodward
32: “Pastor Dave, your teaching was always something we looked forward to, especially your humor. I recall seeing you and the boys at ‘Photo Drive In’ on Fridays checking out movies. What really touched me is how you follow up on prayer requests. The calls I received asking how my grandson was doing after having heart surgery were appreciated. May God bless you and your family.” - Milt and Stella Droukas | “Pastor Dave made our 50th anniversary so meaningful. To have this precious man perform our service just five months after my cancer surgery was wonderful beyond words. May God bless you on your new endeavor.” - Bobbie Spain | “Galen and Jeannette, your time at Venture has passed much too quickly. Your steadfast leadership, love of the ‘flock’, kindness, gentleness, and sense of humor have helped make us the church we are today and have impacted our lives personally. We love you, we will miss you, and pray God’s continued hand of blessing on you and your family.’ - Bruce and Ann Dahl | “Pastor Galen and Jeannette, our love and prayers are with you and your family as you both start this new season of life. Frank and I both want to thank you for all your love and giving of yourself these many years. The leadership that you have given to us has been a gift from God. Your teaching lessons helped us to grow and mature in Christ and challenged us to search the scriptures. You were an encourager to the choir before our musicals and you showed us great compassion. We will continue to pray as you travel and make Colorado your new home and your new ministry." - Frank & Bev Buxton, John
33: “Pastor Dave, thank you for your ministry in the church and into our lives. We have enjoyed and grown through your preaching, passion, your leadership and vision, as well as your heart for missions. We will indeed miss you, and are certain that God will continue to use you in a mighty way in the future.” - Dave, Michele, Melissa and Jared Hockenberry | “Pastor Dave and Sheila, we will be forever grateful for your wisdom, guidance and friendship. You baptized us and dedicated our children. You have touched each of our lives personally. We will miss you both.” - Aldo, Jennifer, Olivia and Vincenzo Maragoni | “These words on the church bulletins jumped out at me: ‘South Valley Christian Church … because you matter to God.’ I am sure that many need to know that each of us matters to God. Thank you to Pastor Dave, Pastor Galen, and all at Venture Christian Church!” -Karl Jagenburg | “Both pastors have been blessings to us. We have known Pastor Sawkins longer and are grateful and inspired by his teachings. God has done amazing things in our lives. We would have missed the blessing had we not developed our Christian lives and faith. Thank you, Pastor Dave, for giving us God’s Word through your wonderful teachings.” -Cathy and Jordan Ciprian | “Pastor Galen and Jeannette, thanks for all your love and support. We are forever grateful for your tireless leadership, hard work, and teaching. You have helped our whole family to heal and grow in Christ--we will be forever touched by the time and effort you took to know and welcome us to LGCS. We have learned so much from you. We will pray for God's continued guidance and blessings in your lives.” - Bill, Christi, Andrew, and Nathan Bachman
34: “Thanks, Dave and Sheila, for hanging onto Jesus and for praying for the fulfillment of the vision for the salvation of millions of disciple- making Japanese in our lifetime. Your prayers, love, faith and Dave coming to Japan with us in December of 2008 have encouraged us to keep believing God to bring it to pass! Now, how about both of you coming to Japan to visit and to help us!” - Tom & Ginna Sloan | “Pastor Galen, you brought peace and healing to the Los Gatos congregation. For me, it’s been a period of spiritual growth and renewal, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for challenging me to be the best follower of Jesus Christ that I can be. May God’s richest blessings always be with you, Jeannette, and your wonderful family.” - Melanie Wirth | “May the Lord’s peace, protection, and guidance be upon both pastors and their loved ones. Number 6:24-26 “ - Joel, Elizabeth and Joshua | “With Pastor Sawkins' teaching, I have grown spiritually. I will miss his weekly teaching. God bless and good luck, Pastor Sawkins. You have a gift of teaching.” - Merle Leyson | “Thank you, Pastor Dave, for baptizing George and me on August 11, 2007. It will always be a memorable day in our lives. We thank you and Venture Church for all the blessings we have received. Venture Church is such a loving, warm and caring community.” - George & Ardth Nothwang
35: “Galen and Dave, we praise God for you two and your love and concern toward us! God bless you and enjoy what and where God leads. Love in the Lamb” -Ken and Alma Robertson | “Pastor Galen and Dave, thank you both for your leadership. It has been such a blessing to have you both and I wish you all the best. You will be missed. May God keep you in His care.” - Mary Borg | “Praise God for your vision and leadership of the flock at Venture and supporting the little flocks of Shepherding! Blessing as you go.” - John and Gretchen Spanberg | “Pastor Galen and Dave, thank you for your dedication and godly leadership of our church these last few years. We appreciate your biblical teaching and have grown in our relationship with the Lord because of it. Personally, you have been a witness of God’s love and grace to us all. May He continue to use you to glorify God in whatever ministry He has ahead for you and your wives.” - Rich and Marilyn Russek | “Pastor Galen and Dave, it has been a joy and an exciting time ministering alongside of you both in our new Venture Church. Your teaching is always inspirational and challenging, giving us direction and wisdom.” - Clyde and June Beck | Strong Tower Life Community Group
36: “Dave and Sheila, thank you for the positive influence you have been in our family’s life over the past 27 years. We have shared quite a journey – the toughest of trials and the sweetest of victories – what a beautiful treasure y’all are! We pray a special blessing as you forge a new path. God has big plans for you – much bigger than we can imagine. Always and forever know you are in our prayers and always welcomed in our lives, precious friends!” - Frank and Karen Bower - Kristina, Elizabeth, Heather, Melinda, & Michael | “Dave and Sheila, what an adventure together from that first one in 1984 till today (and forever). We love you and thank you for being our pastor and friend. ‘He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.’ Psalm 78:72” - Mike and Carol Nauman | “Thank you so much, Pastor Dave. You have helped me apply biblical concepts in my daily life. You do a great job in loving our congregation.” - Mary Doherty | “Galen and Jeannette, Thank you for being living sacrifices for this body. How would we know Jesus loves us and gives His best for us, except He sent us you? We are always grateful to God for you.” - Craig and Carol Heacock | “Dave and Sheila, thank you for the love and life you have poured into this body. We are so grateful for the personal, individual care you give to each sheep. The memories of your wisdom are treasured.” - Craig and Carol Heacock | “Pastor Galen and Dave, the Bible and Christ have been faithfully preached, taught, and honored by you and served as our guides for living the Christian life day by day. We are eternally grateful and have been blessed. You have been our anchor.” - Martha and Ed Clark
37: “Pastor Dave, I appreciate so much about you, your amazing sermons, your stand for biblical principles, your humor, your encouraging us to read God’s Word daily, your leadership, your kindness, and more. I will really miss you and Sheila, and I know God will use you both in mighty ways.” - Laura & Dave Flohr & family | “Dear Galen and Jeannette, Thank you for the time you came to our home to speak to a group of Chinese delegates and presented the Christmas story and the gospel so very clearly. You took the time to listen and counsel. Thank you both for your unselfish service to us.” - Wayne and Janet Niblack | “Pastor Dave, you will be missed at Venture. My husband and I are old South Valley atten-dees and we have really enjoyed and have been blessed by your teachings. Thank you so much!” -Marlena Evangelho | Pastor Sawkins with John & Christine Davis | “Pastor Galen, I will be forever thankful to you and our church for helping to build the foundation upon which I sense God is calling me into ministry. You will be tremendously missed. ‘The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb He called me by name.’ Isaiah 49:1” -Shadia | “Pastor Galen has always been an encourager for some of us older ones. He let it be known that there would always be a place for us. The short-term trip I took to Spain was a real learning experience. God bless you.” - Norma Zappelli
38: -Dan and Diane Shumer | “Pastor Galen and Jeannette, we love you! At a time in our lives when we were facing possibly perilous changes, you gave us stability, hope and a firm direction in Christ. You were aware of our circumstances and your encouragement and prayers helped us face things in Christ and find our way.” -Dave and Chris Ryan | “Dave, my life has definitely changed direction since taking my first "Prayer Walk" with you on that Carmel Golf course during the Formby wedding over twenty years ago! Since then we have many shared tears of joy and sadness and much laughter. Riding in the back of a pickup with the native's from Zambia back to Victoria Falls, being mugged in Harare, Zimbabwe, and being held temporary hostage with AK-47's by the locals at the airport in Victoria Falls. Oh yes, you stepping on that live alligator while attempting to board the Victoria Falls tour boat. It has been our pleasure to have had you as our pastor and spiritual leader.” -Dick & Chris Whitaker
39: “Pastor Galen & Jeannette, you are remarkable people, and we’ve been so blessed to have you with us. You’ve come alongside us with encouragement, as well as excellent Bible teaching and making a special effort to be our friends. Thank you for reaching out to my mother and dad while they were with us.” - Tom & Sherry Ginn | “Pastor Dave, I’ll always remember that you were always available. Thank you, Dave and Sheila!” - Pam Stennes and family | “Dave, I will always remember you reminding me and Ronni that ‘God has a plan.’” - Eva Smith | “Pastor Dave, you and Sheila are dear, precious friends. Your courage and strength in standing up for God’s values for our community and nation, and your vision for God’s churches in this valley has been an inspiration to us and a blessing to so many others. You have taught us biblical truths and have brought the Bible alive to us during your preaching. You have been there to comfort us during difficult times in our lives (my father’s death, Mike’s father’s death, memorial service for my sister-in-law’s father, my mother’s memorial service) and rejoicing together for our son and daughter-in-law’s wedding in 2007. With much thanks and love through Christ.” - Mike and Sharon Stonehouse & family
40: “Pastor Galen, thank you so much for your faithful service over the years and for being a gentle shepherd to all the flock under your care. We appreciate the time you came and visited with us in the Philippines!” - Chris & Kathy Wassell - Mackenzie, Terilyn, Brogan and A.J. | “Pastor Dave has been an inspiration personally and spiritually for my wife, Judy, and me. He knew us before he married us in 2003. We know and trust that God is calling you to bigger and greater things. There are many more people that need to hear God’s calling through you. We love you.” - Ron and Judy Hannon & family | “Pastor Galen, you believed in me when others didn’t. Thank you.” -Becky Jones | "We were married by Pastor Galen at Mount Hermon in 2000. This was the first wedding ceremony Galen performed in California, and he wasn’t sure if he was licensed to do it! We’re certainly glad he was, and we feel truly blessed. Thank you, Pastor Galen!” -Dennis and Linda Romatz | “Closeness to South Valley Christian Church brought us originally, but Pastor Dave’s teaching, humor, being ‘real’ and conviction kept us. When we merged with LGCC we were blessed with Pastor Galen’s knowledgeable, funny, and caring realness. We will miss you both!! Pastor Dave, thank you so much for your many years of wonderful service. Your unique style of message delivery brought us back to church.” - Dan & Jan Fichera
41: “Pastor Galen and Jeannette, what struck me most the first time we met was your taking the time to stop and talk to me. More than that you wanted to know about me and my family and how I was involved at the church. Jeannette, it has been a joy seeing how you serve in the children’s ministries. May God richly bless you both.” -Ken, Karla, Stephanie and Sam Richardson | “Dear Pastor Galen and Jeannette, thank you so much for investing in our lives. We’re sad to see you go but at the same time, we are happy and excited for you as you both start a new God-led chapter in your life. You officiated at Matt and Arlene’s wedding. This will forever make you 'a part of our family.' Thank You!” - William, Joyce and Marrian Tsang | “Pastor Dave, we thank you for your faithful preaching, teaching and inspiration. Our lives have been enriched many times over because of your ministry. Pastor Galen, we thank you for your Godly wisdom and care. We pray in Jesus' name that the Lord will continue to bless and encourage the both of you as He guides you in the coming years.” -Marv, Kathy, and Keith Griffing | - John and Gretchen Spangberg | “Dave, I remember when I came to church and sat near the back. When you came in, you took a detour on your way to the front to encourage me. You and Sheila have been so supportive to me and Megan.” - Mae Lin Bishop | “In 2003, God began driving home to me that my life was a shambles of sin and that I was out of fellowship with him. Thanks to Pastor Joe and Pastor Galen, I got my life back on track. Pastor Dave was an added blessing after the merger. Thank you, Pastors, for your love, warmth, humor, and partnership with our God.” -Ruth, Chris, & Yolanda McElvain
42: “Pastor Dave, we love you greatly and I know everyone at Venture Christian Church will miss your gentle, charismatic passion and direction to walk in the will of our Lord! You are truly a great man of God and I know you will be sorely missed there at Venture. Thank you so much for loving us all here at Italy for Christ, and His mighty work He gives us in Italy.” - Betsy Plunkett | “Pastor Dave, the song ‘To Sir With Love’ comes to mind when I think of all the ways God has worked through you to shape up this rag-tag group of people and mature them in Christ, especially through a merge! With gratitude and sincerity, I thank you for your leadership and sacrifice. You are already missed.” - Jeanette Anderson | “In 1994 I visited SVCC as part of a Mission team for the soccer World Cup. Pastor Dave asked me to work for SVCC. Two years later he released me to a new work at Evergreen Valley Church. My most vivid memories revolve around two things: our shared birthday & the support he gave Carol & me when our eldest son, David, was struck by a disease that left him paralyzed (he's fully recovered now & the experience led to him reconnecting with the Lord). We will never forget what he did. Carol & I now lead a church-planting movement and it all began when an American pastor with English roots took a risk on a funny-speaking, soccer-loving Englishman with a passion for the last, the least & the lost. Thanks, Dave! May God richly bless you & Sheila in the months & years ahead 'cos the best is yet to come!” - Bill and Carol Jenkins (Pastor, New Life Christian Church) | - Grandma Fran
43: “I was baptized several times for all the wrong reasons and then finally immersed in my mid-thirties. Pastor Dave makes my understanding of Christ, the Bible, and my blessings, personal, real, down to earth and precious. Thank you.” -Marlie Hynes | “God has helped heal me from a car accident five years ago. I walk with an angel. I am very grateful. Both pastors have been great teachers for me. I have learned a lot from both. Thank you.” -Jamie Laubacher | “Dave, Remember your first visit to Shepherding when you and Sheila were new to the area and looking for a church and that crazy young couple who were the shepherd leaders. Seems like yesterday. Really going to miss you.” - Mike and Pepper | “Pastor Call has been someone who I have looked up to as a male role model and someone who I can trust. I thank God for bringing him into my life and will always keep him close to my heart. Thank you, Pastor Call, for your teaching me the Word of God. Thank you for the stories that you have shared with David, Daniel, and me. We will deeply miss you. God bless you on your new journey.” - Gloria, David, and Daniel | “Dear Galen and Jeannette, thank you for bringing a shepherd’s heart to LGCC and ministering the healing that was so desperately needed for our congregation. You brought us together and in the course of your time here had a profound impact on the church and on me and our journey together. It started with your ‘Call’ and continued as we implemented Ministry Purpose Circles and Intentional Disciple Making. We accomplished quite a lot in ten years. But the most significant memory I will take away is your trust in me and willingness to take a risk: first by encouraging me to complete the licensing requirements and then by asking me to give leadership to the Discipleship Ministry. This has made a profound impact on my life and ministry, providing opportunities to serve the Lord in ways unimagined.” -Gary Hess
44: “Pastor Dave, thank you for teaching the truth and helping us apply God’s Word in our lives. My whole family is closer to God in Bible studies and connected due to your leadership! We don’t know Pastor Galen as well but we love his expository teaching and his kind heart for all people.” -The Hecke Family Leo, Donna, Brandon & Even | "Thank you!" - Anne Jones | "Galen, Penny & I want to thank you for shepherding the flock here these past ten years. We have appreciated the friendship between us and you and Jeannette. Most of all, however, I am deeply grateful for the confidence you had in moving me into full-time discipleship ministry. We pray that God may bless you with a new assignment that is right in your 'spiritual sweet spot.'” - Gary and Penny Hess | “This has been a church of support during a time of pain for me. It has given me the opportunity to once again serve Christ in the community with Galen’s direction. I thank him for his wonderful teaching that has blessed my life.” -Sherron Crowley | “Dave & Sheila: Thank you for your example of Christ’s love. You both have a special place in our hearts. Dave: You did our wedding ceremony and dedicated all three of our children to the Lord. Your service and dedication to God and the body of Christ is so appreciated.” - Mark & Delores Brown
45: “Dear Pastor Dave and Sheila, My daughter recently thanked me for raising her in a loving Christian home. I just wanted to tell you that Mark and I couldn’t have done it without you. It was my joy and pleasure to watch you baptize Mark and Janessa together on June 2nd, 1996, in the last outdoor baptisms before we opened the new building on Shawnee Drive. Thank you for teaching me about my responsibility to my church and others outside of it. I know that God has much in store for the continued use of your wonderful leadership skills!” - Lisa McAndrews | “Pastor Galen, I have truly been in awe of what God has accomplished here at Venture since the merger of LGCC & SVCC. I will always be grateful to you for your trust in me. It has been a joy to serve in ministry with you.” -Jim & Kathie Coffaro | "Pastor Dave, It has only been a couple of years that I have been blessed by your teaching. Every week I walk away with a nugget of spiritual truth. Thank you for all your passion and love for the Lord. You will be missed by so many. God bless you and your wife as you move to the next season of your life serving God." - Jackie Elliott | “Pastor Dave, thank you for recruiting me to be a part of the ministry team at Venture. Your leadership has been inspirational; your personal commitment - motivating, your friendship - a blessing. Kathie & I will always thank God for you. ‘The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.’ Proverbs 11:25 NKJ” -Jim & Kathie Coffaro
46: - Guy Lewis | “Pastor Galen, we loved your encouraging and comforting style of preaching the Word of God and have been profoundly touched and enriched by your great sermons. Thank you with all our hearts for the wonderful care and love in Christ shown to Gerry and me during the most difficult eight years of Gerry’s illness and memorial service. God bless you!” -Freda Brause | “Dear Galen & Jeannette, it was a delight to spend time together on the Holy Land tour last year and you have blessed us with your messages and with your friendship and kindness. We pray that Colorado will hold much opportunity and joy for you.” - Mike & Sharon Stonehouse | “Pastor Dave, we feel extremely blessed to have been under your leadership for over twenty-four years. We've been so inspired and fed by your outstanding preaching and friendship. You lived what you preached for both the church and your own family. We are so glad our three children had you for a pastor in their very formative years. We know that God will use you mightily wherever you minister because you are truly anointed by Him.” -Don and Gloria Luna | “Pastor Galen, the trip to Israel in February 2008 was our first opportunity to get to know you and Jeannette on a more personal basis. Your willingness to totally submit to God's plan in whatever that may be or wherever He may lead you is an inspiration to all of us. We count it a wonderful privilege to have been on a piece of the journey with you.” - Don and Gloria Luna
47: The Future...
48: Dear Galen & Dave, Thank you both for entrusting to me and our team the stewardship of what you have poured your lives and ministry into over the past many years. I thank God for what He has done in you and through you and hope to build in integrity upon the foundation and early two years of Venture Church. My heart’s desire is that our Lord will allow you to reap bountifully in the years ahead what you have sown in years past. May His favor and hand be upon you and your families for His glory! Chip Ingram New Senior Pastor Venture Christian Church
49: Chip Ingram is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Living on the Edge, an international ministry that provides guided pathways to authentic discipleship. His passion is to help everyday Christians actually “live like Christians” by raising the bar of discipleship. He has a unique ability to communicate truth and winsomely challenge people to live out their faith. | Chip spent 20 years as a pastor of growing churches in Texas and California. Prior to launching Living on the Edge, he spent 5 years as President of Walk Thru the Bible. Chip holds an M.S. degree from West Virginia University and a Th.M. degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. | Part of Chip's long-range plan has been to return to teaching in a church. He has investigated a number of churches over the last two years, but recently God has dramatically led Chip and his wife, Theresa, to Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California. | Chip Ingram