Meet Our Staff

  • 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 6 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.

  • 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. He thinks he has the coolest job in the world and is a Star Wars freak.

  • Farah Shaw

    Children's Director

    Farah has been working with kids since she was in high school. In college, she was a Children's Ministry intern at her home church. She taught elementary school for several years before having her own children. She has a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in Education. She is also a published children's author. She is married to Michael and together they have four kids who she homeschools. She loves kids, loves Jesus, and loves connecting the two. She has been Children's Ministry Co-Director at Grace since 2022.

  • Paula Harter

    Children's Director
    Paula was raised in California but considers the Middle East her second home. She came to Christ at 16 when she fell in love with Jesus. She started loving on children as soon as she was old enough to babysit. At 17 she got her first job working a summer camp for the YMCA. From there, she was a preschool teacher before moving overseas. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She spent 18 years in the Middle East with her husband Dan telling others about Jesus. They have 3 children. She has been the Children's Assistant/Co-Director since January 2010.
  • 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 (married since 1977), their three daughters and his guitar came to Grace Baptist Church in 2000 and began faithfully leading us in worship shortly afterwards.

  • Kevin Laird

    Office Administrator/IT

    Bio coming soon

  • Lisa Correale

    Office Administrator

    Bio coming soon

  • Michelle Farris

    CAPP Administrator

    Bio coming soon

  • Mark Swihart


    Photo and bio coming soon