Getting to Know...

The Bertelsens

Walt and Michelle Bertelsen are both excited and intrigued about what God is doing at Grace Baptist Church through the Care Department’s Marriage Mentor and Spiritual Care Training programs.  

The Bertelsens have been married 45 years, have three adult kids and five grandchildren. They have served as missionaries for 16 years with New Tribes Mission in West Africa. They both have had counseling training, have counseled others and additionally, have been counseled in their own marriage.  

About three weeks after they started going to Grace Baptist Church, the Bertelsens began Marriage Mentor training. “We were one of eight couples at that time that attended the training,” said Walt. “In the training, Dan really helped us learn how to listen to people. This was reinforced week after week. We were also encouraged to interact a lot. A couple of times marriage mentor couples shared at a practical level how it worked. This really help to ease our anxiety. Going into something like this you feel extremely inadequate. Ultimately, it comes down to, no matter what you know, you have to depend on the Lord.”  

The Bertelsens finished the Marriage Mentor training program in eight weeks and began Spiritual Care training in October 2015. Currently, they are about to start session three of Spiritual Care training. “When we were in the marriage mentoring class, one of the couples started talking about Spiritual Care training and how beneficial it would be if we were going to be marriage mentors,” said Michelle. “We knew we had to do it.”  

When Walt and Michelle began Spiritual Care training in October they noticed there was a similarity to the training approach that they learned in marriage mentoring. “We were still learning about listening and about helping to draw the person out,” said Walt. “The training can be very intimidating when it’s first going on. After a few weeks, we both came to the conclusion that this was still a safe environment. Dan trained us to ask clarifying questions and what to look for with body language. We really felt safe around Dan. He is definitely God’s man for this position at Grace. We felt like we could talk about the serious issues of life and about what’s happening without feeling like someone is putting a microscope on us.”  

Now that the Bertelsens are retired and have more time, they are praying about where and how they can be involved at Grace. Walt is currently part of the Barnabas project. “Our heart is working with couples, or one-on-one,” said Walt. “We sense the Lord is really drawing us. We know we have something to give. We’ve seen the Lord work in our lives and have received help from the body through counselors, mentors and friends. It is our desire to, in-turn, help other couples. Not a lot of churches are doing this.”  

 Please visit if you or someone you know is interested in attending the Marriage Mentor training or for Spiritual Care training.  

2016 Care Ministries Retreat

By: Robyn Preston-Martin

Apples to Apples, Choral singing, Speed Dating (Or Speed Connecting rather): not words I would have associated with a Care Retreat.

But this year’s day for Care volunteers had us constantly wondering what the next activity might be. We started the morning in the Choir room where Steve Lively helped us make the connection between worship and teamwork by having us form a choir. Despite the uncomfortable feeling of being outside our comfort zone we learned how to blend our God-given voices in harmonies and watched with awe at how God can use us individually and yet, one!

Next we sat under the teaching of Chris and Alisa Grace from Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. This couple was so approachable and easy to talk to. As a research psychologist, Chris was able to instruct us on how brain function relates to responses within marriage. Their encouraging message about the covenant between a man and a woman left me with some very applicable “takeaways.” I learned creative ways to better connect with and love my spouse.

Lunch was a treat. Buca di Beppo was in the house! I am so thankful there was time to chat at lunch with friends.

After our meal Michal organized us into groups of four and we rotated to different rooms and participated in some light-hearted activities like board games, adult coloring books and a game Dan invented called, “Speed Connections,” to get to know each other in a creative way. I enjoyed getting to know my small group of four people.

I left that day with a refreshed and energized spirit! I’m planning on signing up for next year’s Care Ministries Retreat.

Be Strong – 2015 AACC World Conference

September 22-26, thirty volunteers and staff members from Grace Baptist Church attended the (AACC) American Association of Christian Counselors World conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the Opryland Hotel . This year’s conference theme was Be Strong: “…be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” – Ephesians 6:10The Grace Baptist attendees enjoyed some of the world’s best praise and worship, dynamic plenary speakers that included: Governor Mike Huckabee, Joni Eareckson Tada, John Ortberg, Lysa Terkeurst, John Townsend, Matt Chandler and Dr. Siang-Yang Tan, to name a few, and more than 220 cutting-edge workshops. Over 7,000 counselors, pastors and coaches from all fifty states and 40 countries were in attendance at the conference this year. Overall the Grace Baptist Group came back energized, refreshed and more equipped to serve others in our community.

Below are comments from those who attended:   

Attending AACC conference was a great opportunity for me to get closer and be connected with God again. All the speakers at the plenary were awesome! My heart was so touched by praising. Great workshops to learn and be more equipped to serve others, just as Christ has served us. - Grace Seo

We are very needed and essential in the lives of Christian brothers and sisters, as well as in the lives of the non- churched. Pain is rampant and with the good training offered us, we can make a positive (and eternal) difference. There have been new studies and research in mental health that will give new hope to many. The best Counselors and/or speakers out there came from a very broken past! Our redeemed lives are our best tool to help others if we get the right training. - Maria Soler

One of my favorite parts of the Conference, besides John Ortberg’s speech, was the female speaker/comedian Liz Curtis Higgs, who not only obviously loved the Lord but also had a great sense of humor and humility. I loved her comment, “We go from lust to rust to dust!” She was a great encourager and gave us all a break from the seriousness of helping the hurting. What an amazing conference!! - Sandy Dierckman

I am so grateful to have been able to attend the AACC conference this year with Grace. Joshua Straub’s class on emotional safety for our children really spoke to my heart. He stated, the foundation of having a safe home starts with a safe marriage. The question isn’t so much, are you parenting the right way? But, are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be? Our family’s trajectory has changed because of the heart-felt work of the Care Department at Grace, helping us to create a safe marriage. I am excited to see how God uses us to share with others to strengthen our ministry at Grace. – Lonna Gibson

Once again, I was amazed at the quality of the key speakers. They were passionate, compassionate and deeply committed to the gospel, the Word of God in the journey of caring for and guiding those that are counseled. An excellent time together with many from Grace! - Geoff Beckwith

I think one of my favorite speakers might have been a plenary speaker, Dr. John Ortberg who spoke on walking through open doors as David was asked to do in Rev. 3:7-8. He said, “God's will is often for you to choose. So don't pray for God to make your decisions for you. Who you become while you are going through the door matters more than which door you go through. The promise is that I will go with you through the door.”

So many times I have prayed please show me what choice to make by opening doors or closing doors, or by giving me peace of mind about one thing or the other. But, I think sometimes He wants us to take a leap of faith without any push from Him. - Lori O'Bryan

I realize that God is not so much delighting in the person I am becoming, but rather in the person I am right now – in the midst of my weakness and brokenness. This is where I need to meet him with vulnerability and honesty. I am excited about experiencing His mercy and power in deeper ways. I am also excited about having many fresh ideas to challenge my relationships with family and with my partners in Christ. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” - 2 Corinthians 4:7 - Rudy Hawkins

Having the opportunity to hear from such great speakers and especially sessions that motivated and inspired me to help others and refresh my own relationships. Specifically, Bernice and I are renewed in our marriage and faith by attending this conference and excited to see how God uses us to share with others to strengthen marriage relationships. - David Brook, HRIP, FASPR

Worship was the key to every plenary session to focus our hearts and minds for the day. Workshops gave us insights from biblical principles for self application and for our care receivers. Invaluable tools were provided. This was a very rich time. – Brenda Robinson

The AACC conference digs into the past while giving hope for the future; but, more than that it was a little slice in time for me to be a girl again. To laugh and giggle, to stay up too late talking and crying, to eat food you know you will regret, and to sleep in and miss classes that you know will make you smarter than you were before. For me last week in Tennessee was a chance to form bonds, heal friendships, and listen longer to my girls. I'm so thankful for our church and for the Care Department making this possible! A liquid shot in the arm of understanding & knowledge but most of all friendship. – Robyn Martin

I enjoyed the high quality of speakers and their theme of How God Loves Us. I also enjoyed getting to know the other Care Givers. - Jack Kautzer

Getting to Know...

Ginger Klawer

After being involved as a Spiritual Care giver in the Care Ministry Department at Grace Baptist Church over the past eight years, Ginger Klawer’s empathy for people and trust in the Lord has grown tremendously.   

”The Lord has used this time to prepare my heart and lead me in the direction of working professionally with people who are struggling,” said Ginger.

Ginger began her journey to this new-found passion over eight years ago when she was part of one of the very first Spiritual Care Training classes that was offered at Grace.

“It astounds me the depth of care that Grace has,” said Ginger. “And not just for our church, but also for the whole community - it amazes me that we so freely offer these services to the community.

So many lives have been changed. The one-on-one counseling has taught me so much. I have to rely on God. I can’t do this on my own.”

After seeing so many lives changed, including her own, Ginger made the call to the University of Phoenix in April 2011. “I know in my heart that this is such a passion that God has given me,” said Ginger. “It is my desire to prayerfully listen to what the Lord is telling me, to be obedient and be able to help people.”

Four years later, Ginger is excited to be graduating in November 2015 from the University of Phoenix with her Bachelors of Science Degree in Human Services.

“After graduating in November, I will continue on in January 2016 to pursue my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as my license to practice. My hope is to have a private practice or work for an agency.”

Ginger truly counts it a privilege to hear the stories that women share through the Care Ministry. “The safety these women feel and the trust that they put into us really blows me away,” said Ginger. “I feel blessed that Dan and the church trusts us enough to use us in such a mighty way.”

Ginger will be leading her first Boundaries for Women group in the Fall 2015 and is feeling anxious about leading in a group setting. “I am more comfortable one-on-one. This will definitely be getting me out of my comfort zone.”

The experience that Ginger has had in the Care Ministry Department, walking alongside those who are hurting has really opened the doors and set the stage for her in her next stage in life. “I can do this profession for all my life,” said Ginger. “I can sit and listen to people’s stories and give them hope. Far be it for me to say I’m too old. I have always dreamed of doing this. Taking that first step was key."

CMTA Conference 

In May, Mark Johnson, Co-Leader of Grace Baptist Church’s Men’s Substance Abuse Group, had the opportunity to attend the Christian Ministries Training Conference in Pasadena along with other members of the Grace Baptist Care Department in an effort to enrich and broaden his knowledge with the ministry work he is involved in at Grace. Some of the classes Mark was able to attend included: 12 Step Program/Sexual Addiction, Dealing with Difficult People in the Workplace and at Church, Church Hurts, Forgiveness, Satan’s Bait: Recognizing and Escaping the Enemies Deceptive Trap, to name a few.

“One of the many highlights of the conference was the class that Jim Hogset taught on Dealing with Difficult People in the Workplace and at Church,” said Mark. “Jim was able to take a serious topic and present it in a light-hearted, Christ-centered manner. I learned about personality traits and more importantly that behavior never lies. Every day we are to strive to be more like Christ and to be an example.”

Over the past five years, Mark has attended Spiritual Care Training 1-3 and has been involved in the Men’s Substance Abuse program at Grace and serving as a co-leader with Mike Barr for the past three. The Men’s Substance Abuse Program meets year-round and has over 125 people on their list, however about eight guys  on average attend per week. 

“Honesty is the highest priority,” said Mark. “We are not a 12-step program. It is known that breaking the stronghold of addictions cannot be done in isolation. Therefore, we share about what is going on in our lives and we share our stories with each other. We know we are not alone in our struggles. God loves us so much that He allows us to do what we choose to as long as we are willing to pay the consequence. We can find hope in Jesus Christ. This group is about encouragement and accountability.” 

Over the past five years Mark has developed some deep friendships within the group. “Mike Barr has been such a mentor to me,” said Mark. “At first he was my sponsor and accountability partner. Today our friendship has grown into such a strong bond.” Mark has also grown both spiritually and emotionally. “I realized that I had stopped growing emotionally when I started using and drinking. I was stuck emotionally as a 13-year-old. Using became a solution to the problem. For me and so many, I need AA and the church.”

The healthier Mark has become, the healthier those have become around him, including his two daughters. “Going back to what Jim taught at the CMTA Conference: behavior doesn’t lie,” said Mark. “It’s not what I’ve told my daughters, it’s what I’ve done for myself. It involved setting a strong boundary with one of my daughter’s because she was abusing alcohol and drugs. I can love her to death, but I wasn’t going to give her that last dollar that would kill her.” There was a lot of guilt and shame that Mark had to work through with this process. However, today Mark’s daughter has been sober for eleven weeks now. She has a job and has been going to AA meetings. She is gaining self respect and self esteem and talking about God. “These aren’t coincidences,” said Mark, with a tear in his eye.

“The growth I have experienced because of the Grace Baptist Church Spiritual Care department with mentors like Mike Barr, being able to attend Spiritual Care Training with Dan Broyles and Dr. Bare and having opportunities to attend conferences like CMTA is un-measurable,” said Mark. “I am able to be more transparent. Today I get to be mark Johnson. I don’t have to be a different person in each situation. I am learning to be more who God intended me to be and using my own personal tragedies and past for the benefit of others. God is turning my greatest faults and weaknesses into my greatest assets. For that, I am beyond grateful.” 

Military Care @ Grace

Kym Duxbury has been the leader of Grace Baptist Church’s Military Care Group for approximately two years.The Grace Baptist Military Care Group meets monthly to pray and offer support to families, especially to spouses and siblings of military personnel deployed or otherwise away from their families. “Through our ministries we provide encouragement and care packages to our men and women who are deployed, stateside, serving on ships or in other countries,” said Kym. “We also hold monthly meetings for prayer, soldier updates and minister to family members.”

Kym, works at the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD) and has always been passionate for people who serve our country. “The stories in the Bible of people in combat fighting for the rights of the nations, defending their tribes impresses me,” said Kym. “Whole nations would lose their lives. They were both courageous and admirable and ultimately a part of God’s plan. It is impressive to me that people take on those roles. As a nation we have so many people serving our country.”

Kym facilitates the military care where she works. However, leading the Military Care group at Grace is the perfect platform that allows her to include God in the conversation.

Kym’s goal for the Military Care Group is to offer more spiritual, emotional and mental health outreach to more Grace families. “With a congregation as big as Grace, there is a high probability that someone sitting next to you has served or is in the reserve that could benefit from the group. We go all the way back to those who served in the Vietnam war.”

Ultimately, the Military Care group is always grateful for those who show their support by praying for our military men and women faithfully serving around the world for the cause of freedom.

Currently, there are approximately twelve people who attend the monthly Military Care group meeting. Most of the members are families of those serving. If you know someone at Grace that may benefit from the Military Care Group please spread the word. The next meeting will be held September 13. For meeting location contact the Care Department at (661) 296-8737 x156 or email Kym Duxbury at

Pre-Marital at Grace

Adam and Kim

Newly married couple, Kim and Adam McArthur have been blessed by the Marriage Mentor program at Grace Baptist Church. “Two months prior to getting married we began meeting with Marriage Mentors Merl and Marilou Reichel,” said 27-year-old Kim. “We live in Culver City and attend Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Our church does not have a pre-marital program.” A friend at Kim’s Bible study suggested she contact Dan Broyles about their upcoming marriage. “Our first meeting was with Dan at Grace Baptist Church,” said Kim. “We talked with him and shared our stories, watched a few videos and did some worksheets. Dan then connected us with Merl and Marilou.”

Prior to their wedding date, Kim and Adam meet with Merl and Marilou at their home approximately five times. “We began going through the book Preparing for Marriage by Dennis and Barbara Rainey” said Kim. “Every time we met we had homework.”     

Kim and Adam had dated for five years before they were married and felt like they really knew each other with a solid grasp on how to communicate. However, there were still times they would get stuck. “One thing we tell people is that when we would have a disagreement, we both thought we were in the right,” said Adam. “Merl and Marilou told us you are both right. Now when we have a disagreement, we bring that up and it helps to diffuse the situation. Because of the mentoring program, we definitely have more tools now.”    

Kim and Adam learned it’s the little things that grow over time that destroy marriages. “That’s what you need to pay attention to,” said Adam. “We have great tools now to be able to recognize when those things come up and be comfortable talking about it. If something is bothering us, we rest in the fact that it is valid to bring it up.” Both Kim and Adam highly recommend the Marriage Ministry at Grace Baptist Church for pre-married or newly married couples. “It’s important to go into this with an open mind and to be ready to talk about things that are deep rooted like each other’s childhood, traditions and what you like and don’t like about your parents.”

Grace Baptist Church has approximately 15 marriage mentor couples like Merl and Marilou that work one-to-one with couples to walk alongside and help to strengthen their marriages. “Merl and Marilou are the most non-judgmental, real, inspiring and vulnerable couple to work with,” said Adam. “They were always more than willing to talk about where they were at and what they are dealing with. They truly made us feel comfortable.”   

If you are a couple interested in pre-marital counseling, newly married, or if your marriage needs a tune-up, please contact Melanie at (661) 296-8737 x150 or For more information about Grace Baptist Church’s Marriage Ministry please visit



Getting to Know...

Dan Broyles

For seven years, Dan Broyles has served as the Director of Spiritual Care at Grace. In 2014 Dan was added to the Pastoral Team of Grace Baptist Church as the Pastor of Marriage and Care.  

Dan has grown up at Grace and as the son of Mike and Debbie Broyles he really has pastoring in his DNA. Dan is a trusted advisor to many at Grace and has faithfully shown God's love through the accurate application of scripture to people in need. Dan graduated from Grace University with a degree in Biblical Studies as well as Human and Family Development. Dan then went on to complete his Masters in Family Therapy at Cal State University Northridge. Dan worked for 8 years with the LA County Department of Children and Family Services spending a great deal of time working with foster children and families in crisis.  

Dan and Carli have been married for 16 years and have two sons, Nate and Nolan.  

What is Spiritual Care and how have you seen it benefit the body of believers at Grace Baptist? 
Spiritual Care is an opportunity for "one-to-one" conversations where life's challenging issues can be addressed. It provides Biblically-based guidance for the purpose of healing, restoration, and living lives honoring to God, in a safe and caring environment. The Spiritual Caregivers have grown immensely in that they have seen how God's love and truth changes lives. The Spiritual Care Ministry gives a context to live out the “one-anothers.”  

What is your desire for the newly formed Marriage Ministry at Grace?
I hope that Grace can be a place for people to grow in honoring God within their marriage. I also hope that Grace can be a place to equip and help marriages improve the way they live out their God-given roles (as husband and wife) and thus be an example to their children and a light to the world.

The Marriage Ministry is not just for helping couples in crisis but for any couple who wants to continue to grow in their marriage. As we progress through life, there are new circumstances and opportunities for us to respond in godly ways. A ministry that prepares people for the many stages of marriage: engagement, kids, career, empty nest, aging parents, retirement and beyond, can have great Kingdom impact.  

When individuals within a congregation are using their gifts to care for each other, the church will be living out its God-given purpose. Both the Marriage Ministry and Spiritual Care Ministry are really formed around relationships and allowing the body of Christ to serve one another. The Spiritual Care training has been a great avenue for people to learn "how" to live out the scriptures within their own relationships. This training not only equips people in their relationships, but also equips those who serve as Spiritual Caregivers.