As a Church, we at RiverLakes are committed to participating in the fulfillment of the "Great Commission" (Matt. 28:18-20). We understand this to mean the discipling of people in every culture through persuading them to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and gathering them into congregations where they can learn to obey all that Jesus has commanded. This we do while not neglecting to show Christian love through the meeting of other human needs.
Phil and his wife Debbie Walker are co-founders of International Christian Ministries (ICM). Phil served as President from 1985-2017. Phil and Debbie were originally commissioned in 1977 to work in Israel. In 1985 they moved to Kenya where ICM was birthed. In 1992 they co-founded Africa Theological Seminary – a formal, accredited BA level program for church leaders. Phil mentors leaders in Africa & teaches graduate courses to emerging leaders in Africa & the Middle East. Phil and Debbie currently reside in Bakersfield.
As President of ICM, Dave Champness oversees the training and equipping of leaders in 25 countries throughout Africa and the Middle East. Dave’s responsibility is the oversight of ICM/USA as a resource base for the ministry. He mentors leaders in Africa & teaches graduate courses to emerging leaders in Africa & the Middle East.
CRU is a worldwide, interdenominational Christian ministry committed to helping take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. David is currently spreading the gospel in the Los Angeles area.
James and Mary are missionaries on their own continent, having left their home in Kenya to minister with ICM. James joined the organization in 1991 and serves as ICM Director in Tanzania. He and Mary both serve by discipling and training pastors and lay leaders in the Church.
The Urquharts reach out to students from around the world through the international arm of Cru called Bridges International. They lead staff in their region while working locally with international students at CSUB. Both have ministered with Cru since 1975 and Don served in Japan for two years before marrying Bev in 1980. Married life began for the Urquharts in the heart of L.A. as they trained Cru missionaries, continuing in that work after moving to Bakersfield in 1988. Don and Bev joined Bridges International in 2004.
Dave and his wife Suzanne draw young people to Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches across Kern County. A former collegiate football player himself, Dave leads Bible studies for local coaches and oversees more than twenty small groups of students both on and around local campuses. Through Hume Lake Christian Camp he coordinates seven camps each year for students on football, soccer, volleyball and basketball teams. Over 30,000 Bibles have been distributed to local campuses in Dave’s nine year ministry and hundreds of coaches, athletes and other young people have come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
The Frechs have served with Cru since 1975 and currently work to mobilize the Church to live out God’s heart for the poor. Ken has formerly overseen Cru’s inner city ministries in L.A. and Bakersfield. Currently his sole focus is our local area as Bakersfield City Director. The Frechs train believers to share their faith, make disciples and mentor others. Operating within a network of 65 area churches, Ken & Chris oversee multiple outreach events, S.A.Y. Yes! Centers for children, discipleship classes and adult development programs to help individuals overcome barriers and find jobs that lead to careers.
Trent and Vivian have impacted Eastern Europe and Russia for the gospel since 1972 when they joined Campus Crusade for Christ. In 1994 Trent founded the Institute for Biblical and Theological Studies in Budapest, Hungary. The purpose of ITBS has been to equip Cru staff to be biblical thinkers and passionate followers of Christ. In 2012 he handed over directorship to his successor and the Hyatts relocated to Dayton, OH. Trent continues to carry a full teaching load as he “commutes” regularly to Europe and Eastern Europe and fulfills his duties as Teaching and Research Fellow with IBTS. He and Vivian both engage in research and writing projects.
Melanie is excited to be involved with Wycliffe's work on two levels. Part of the time she promotes Scripture Use in the mother tongue languages among the indigenous churches in Kenya. She also serves on teams that equip Africans to be efficient translators of God's Word and effective teachers so that God's Word impacts lives in a powerful way.
Michele began her career with Cru over thirty years ago in the Hispanic Ministry of Los Angeles. Today she fulfills an administrative role as an applicant liaison at Cru headquarters in Orlando, FL – a post she has maintained for nearly ten years. Prior to this she served for sixteen years here in Bakersfield with the cross cultural training ministry of Cru known as Agape International Training (AIT).
The Broom Tree Refuge (TBTR) provides rest and recovery for Christian workers on forty serenely wooded acres in the Ozark Mountains. Following a needed respite in a secluded cabin in 1989, Sandi and her late husband Mike sensed God’s leading to provide a place of recovery for others in ministry – particularly pastors and missionaries and their families. With a background in missions and counseling, Sandi is equipped to care for others in need of renewal. The Rays served as career missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators for 27 years. TBTR operates as a non-profit ministry and depends upon private funding.
With a passion for the Muslim world, the Wickwires have promoted the gospel in Turkey for over 28 years. Dan currently serves as Turkey Field Director for Crossover Communications, Int’l. Both Dan and Devri have had a tremendous impact among the 77,000,000 unreached of Turkey and beyond. Dan has authored several books - most notably “200 Questions About the Bible and the Qur’an.” He’s also planted numerous churches and has a passion for serving and mentoring. Devri utilizes her gifts of hospitality by leading women’s Bible studies and engages in friendship evangelism as she opens her home and heart to her community. Dan and Devri currently live in northern Cyprus where they train future missionaries and share the Gospel with Turks living there.
Jared and Mary Beth are church-planters in the NoHo Arts District (North Hollywood, CA). They moved there in the fall of 2014 with a small team off people, excited to display and declare the love and truth of Jesus Christ to the people around them. Jared was previously on staff as the worship pastor at RiverLakes from 2005-2010.
F.U.N. Sports is the idea of John Bagala for children 4-11 years of age in soccer, baseball, and basketball. He has a BA degree in Recreation Administration and has worked with children for over 35 years. God placed it on his heart to put together a sports program that not only teaches Christian principles, but also teaches about Jesus Christ to local children.