- Erik HallworthLead Pastor
I entered into pastoral ministry because I have been saved and shaped by the grace of Jesus Christ and I desire to see others be transformed by the same grace found in the Gospel of Christ. Jesus is our only hope! My passion as a pastor is to preach the Gospel, help others know Jesus and share the Gospel of Christ to as many as possible.
My wife and I both love the Vancouver area. It is a beautiful city that has a great need for the Gospel and a place where we both have grown stronger in our faith. Laurelwood is a church that knows and loves God’s Word and loves one another with the love and support of Christ. We want to be in our local community extending the love of Christ in the local community here in Vancouver.
With God’s help, I see Laurelwood Church impacting the community of Vancouver by being both a faithful witness to the Gospel of Christ in Vancouver and a place that reaches out to our community to share Christ through both our words and our deeds. We want to see individuals and families healthier and stronger through the ministry of the Gospel here at Laurelwood.
Education: I graduated with my BA in Philosophy from San Francisco State University in 2015. I received my MDiv from Western Seminary in 2021.
Hometown: Elk Grove, California
Family: Married to my wife Francesca in 2017. We have one daughter who is named Elsie born in 2021.
Favorite Scripture Verse: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5
Favorite Biblical Character: Moses
Favorite Hobby: Golfing, watching sports and hanging out with my family.
Favorite Food/Drink: My favorite food is chicken wings and my favorite drink is a quality dark-roast coffee.
- Kevin KruseExecutive Pastor of Worship and Ministries
Kevin began his musical journey at the age of 7 when his mother introduced him to the piano (he was actually forced to take lessons!). By age 13, Kevin was leading worship in his youth group and by age 16 was playing on the worship team in “big church”.
In 2000, he attended Multnomah Bible College to study music and Bible. While there, he met his wife, Melanie, and they were married in 2003. During his time at Multnomah, Kevin continued to lead worship as well as become a studio musician and tour with a local worship band. Then in 2006, Kevin was called to Laurelwood as the Worship Pastor.
Kevin and Melanie now have two beautiful girls (Callie and Hailey) who seem to be growing up faster than they should! Kevin enjoys spending time with his family by doing things like riding bikes, going camping, watching movies, and anything they can all do together. Kevin is also a big Seattle Seahawks and Oregon Ducks football fan and roots for them any chance he gets.
- Sam HalsteadYouth Director
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This verse could not be more true of my life. My life has the finger prints of God’s sovereignty all over it. I grew up here at Laurelwood Baptist Church and have attended all my life. As I began to consider what my future would be, I was sure that I would move away to make a big name for myself, whether playing basketball, performing music, or as a WWE wrestler. God had other purposes for my life. In high school, I began serving as a student leader at youth group. After graduating high school, I knew to make my life’s dream a reality that I needed to make money. I decided that I would go into the construction field to save up money and begin my training as a wrestler. All the while I continued serving as a volunteer in youth ministry. The more I served, the more I understood what God’s calling on my life really was: to be in vocational ministry. I have served in various capacities here at Laurelwood from youth intern to youth and worship assistant. With the Lord opening and closing certain doors, I am now director of youth ministries and know that God has prepared me to be here at Laurelwood for such a time as this. My passion and heart’s desire is to see our youth endure through the trials of their teenage years to be mature and resilient disciples while in our youth program and after they graduate. I believe that this will be achieved by cultivating an environment where our students will develop a deeply rooted faith that is founded on faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel, the word of God, and love for God and others.
Another area where I have seen God sovereignly work is in my marriage to my wife Mindy. Mindy and I were introduced to each other through different people that we both are close with. We met in December of 2018 at her college in Bellingham and knew that we would be friends at some level given who are mutual friends were. While Mindy and I both previously reached contentment in our singleness, God had other purposes for us. Through what can only be described as an unshakable feeling brought about by the Holy Spirit, we decided that we would begin our long distance dating relationship and were married in April 2021. Praise God for bringing a true blessing of a woman into my life.
I am continuing to pursue my education and plan to earn my bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries. Meanwhile, Pastor Erik offers me training in various theological and pastoral studies. While I might not have become a professional wrestler, I still enjoy watching wrestling. I also enjoy cooking for people, spending time with my family (typically eating), adventuring in the PNW with loved ones, and playing music.
- John RawsonChildren's Ministry Director
John grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a non Christian home, and came to know the Lord at age 20 on July 15, 1979, at 10:50 a.m. on the playground of a little church in Stockton, CA. That fall, 2 young Junior College transfers, John and Larry, were instrumental in John's spiritual growth. John formally discipled him for 2 years, and Larry taught him how to be a believer in the glare of sports competition. Not only that, but Larry was responsible for bringing John to Portland in order to attend Multnomah Bible College. John has a B.A. degree in Recreation Education, and an M.A. degree in Pastoral Studies.
After 7 years in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland, John desired to go into vocational ministry. At the same time, he met his future wife Sarah. They ministered together as they dated, and were married on Dec. 13, 1991. They have continued to minister together, serving 8 years in Youth Ministry, and 15 years in Children's ministry. John has also taught in Christian schools for 9 years as a P.E. teacher and Chapel Speaker. One of John and Sarah's greatest joys is being the proud parents of 2 fine sons, Nate and Jake.
John's goal leaving college was to serve 10,000 children in his career. Even though he has accomplished that goal, he has no desire to stop serving kids and their families.
- Allison DeVineyWomen's Ministry Director
Allison grew up on a dairy farm in nearby Ridgefield, WA and only remembers attending church on special occasions or for programs like Vacation Bible School. At the age of 16, a few years after moving to Vancouver, she had close friends that invited her to Laurelwood which is where she accepted Christ. Since that time, she has had the opportunity to be mentored by several faithful women in the church.
After graduating from High School she intended to work in medical research and even had the opportunity to work in a Cytogenetics Lab at OHSU for a few years and then taught 8th grade science for a number of years after completing her BA at Washington State University. Since coming to Christ in 1996, Allison has served in various ministries including Youth and Children but ultimately the Lord led her to serve in Women’s Ministry, first as the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Coordinator and eventually in 2017 as the Women’s Ministry Director. She counts it a joy and privilege to serve the Women of Laurelwood.
Away from church, you can find Allison on a soccer field with her husband Scott cheering on their two kids, Liam and Ava; hiking in the beautiful PNW forest, or at a local coffee shop enjoying an Extra Hot Vanilla Latte.
- Debbie MillerOffice Manager / Bookkeeper
- Jake RawsonDirector of Creative Content
- Steve JonesElder Chair
Steve has been happily married for over 30 years to the love of his life, Patricia, and is the father of three amazing daughters, Julia, Grace and Isabel. After recommitting his life to following Jesus in the early years of college, he felt a growing passion to serve in some kind of ministry. Soon after graduating and getting married, Steve and Patricia served at The Firs Bible and Missionary Conference in Bellingham for 2 years, then moved to Salem to be close to parents to start a family. Finding a role at Compassion, they moved to Vancouver to be close to the airport and also help plant a church (Eastpark Church). Patricia was involved in worship ministry roles in a couple churches in the area before she started her full-time role with Compassion and God led them to Laurelwood. When they are not traveling, they love serving with youth ministry and worship ministry. Steve continues to serve at Compassion partnering with Churches, Christian musicians and other influencers who want to speak out on behalf of the poor and needy.
- Phil BallElder
Phil and Anna have been attending Laurelwood since late 2004. Right away, he was hired as the youth intern, then interim, then served as the youth pastor for 10 years until stepping down in June of 2017. His children, Naomi, Jada, Caleb, and Shiloh, have been born here in Vancouver and dedicated at Laurelwood. Prior to Laurelwood, Anna and Phil grew up at Trinity Baptist Church, in Spokane, WA, where they served in the youth ministry from the time they were in high school. They also served as the youth leaders at New Creation Fellowship until moving to Vancouver to further Phil's education at Western Seminary. Currently, Phil is in his fourth year serving with the National Network of Youth Ministries, unifying and networking youth leaders across the NW region to reach middle and high school students with the gospel.
- Gibran BraithwaiteElder
Gibran gave his life to the Lord 9 years ago when he first moved to Salem, Oregon. He quickly became involved in the Prayer Ministry at the Morning Star Community Church. Upon moving to Portland, Gibran became a member of the Mount Olivet Baptist Church where he became the leader of the Media Ministry and served as a Camera Operator, Director and Computer Operator. Gibran became a member of the Laurelwood Baptist Church 4 years ago while dating his now wife Angela Braithwaite. Gibran and Angela have been married for three and a half years and are the parents of two-year-old Greyson. Gibran enjoys serving on the Worship Team with Angela and has assisted in preparing the church budget for the last few years. Gibran has a servant’s heart and enjoys using his gifts to serve the church.
- Herman ChanElder
Herman began attending Laurelwood in 2009. Laurelwood is the church where he came to know Jesus. He leads a small group of new marrieds and young families, and serves in the children’s ministry. He loves teaching kids about Jesus, and is finishing his Masters in Elementary Education with hopes of teaching many more kids about Jesus. Along with Herman's wife Trang, and 20 month old son Tabor, he is happy to call Laurelwood home.
- Dave DoelElder
Dave accepted the Lord 28 years ago. He has been married to Katie for 6 years and they have 3 kids Levi, Lincoln, and Leah. Dave attended and served at his previous church for 16 years and became a member of Laurelwood shortly after moving to Vancouver in 2009. He has served as a middle school small group leader, young adult ministry lead, site development team member, preschool teacher, and Financial Peace facilitator. Dave has a heart of service and is a gifted leader at church and in his career. He and Katie love serving alongside the Laurelwood family.
- Steve LantzElder
Steve accepted Christ at the age of five and as he got older the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell helped solidify his faith. He then went on to receive a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington and a Master of Divinity in Educational Ministry from Western Seminary. Steve has been attending Laurelwood since 1988 and has served on staff in the youth ministry since 1996 including a few years as the middle school director. He has also served in the children’s ministry since 2011 and likes to use his skills in photography and video to benefit other ministries at Laurelwood as well. He has been driving a school bus for the past 12 years and tries to be a positive influence in the lives of his students. For a hobby he enjoys taking pictures of God’s creations in space with his different telescopes. He feels that his primary spiritual gift is mercy and enjoys praying for, listening to, and encouraging others which is something he looks forward to doing more of as an Elder.
- Tracy HalsteadElder
Tracy is the Child Evangelism Fellowship Director in Clark County. He has been working full time with children with CEF since 1993. Tracy is married and has two adult children living in the Vancouver area with their wives. He loves speaking at camps and helping kids know the love of Jesus in their lives. He has a degree in Christian Education from Multnomah School of the Bible and a Master's Degree of Christian Leadership from Corban University. Two of his passions are working with kids and teaching. For recreation, he loves sports (Both watching and playing), and playing board games with family and friends.