Phone: (480) 813-0883 Email: info@gccgilbert.com

About

Worship | History | Elders | Deacons | Staff | Interns

Grace Covenant Church is a local body of Reformed Baptist Christians committed to exalting our Savior, evangelizing His world, and edifying His saints.

We invite you to join us as we seek to glorify God, serve the local body of believers and reach out to the local community and beyond with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Worship

What should you expect when you visit Grace Covenant Church?

IMG_1192At Grace Covenant Church we seek to promote Biblical truth and Christ-like love.

From the moment you enter our doors for Sunday morning worship, you will be greeted with a welcoming smile. During our Sunday School hour we have classes for both adults and youth where we practice loving the Lord with our minds. Our Lord’s Day worship is regulated by God’s Word. We praise the Lord with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and we show our gratitude to him through our monetary gifts. The focal point of our worship is Jesus Christ as shown to us in the Bible and presented to us through the words of the preacher. We remember the Lord Jesus and His death for us by the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper with wine or grape juice and gluten-free bread, and we celebrate newness of spiritual life through baptism by immersion.

Nursery and toddler care is offered for the littlest ones among us so that their parents may focus on the corporate worship of God, but whole families with young ones above toddler age are encouraged to worship together. Sunday school classes are not offered during the worship service. For those families still training their younger children to sit through the service, a training room is offered near the nursery and toddler rooms. Nursing moms can also hear and see the service from the nursing room.

After listening to God speak to us each Sunday morning, we gather together again in the evening to speak to Him through corporate prayer.

Please join us as we seek to worship our great God every week in spirit and truth!

History

Celebrating Ministry since 1985!

Grace Covenant Church (GCC) was conceived as the result of a church-planting effort by Church of the Redeemer, in Mesa, AZ. In 1985, John Giarrizzo, a former real estate agent and 1984 Redeemer Seminary graduate, was commissioned as Organizing Pastor for the new venture. Grace Covenant held its first worship service in a rented banquet hall in west Mesa on September 8, 1985. The first year of GCC’s existence was exciting yet challenging as it sought to establish both a doctrinal position and identity as a Reformed Baptist congregation. In 1987, GCC established its own constitution, adopted the 1689 Confession of Faith, and constituted its church membership with 28 charter members.

The next few years were marked by slow growth and waiting on the Lord to provide a permanent location.

By 1992, God led GCC to a location along Greenfield Road in the rural, farming community of Gilbert. The property had previously been a private residence that was already converted to a meeting facility large enough to serve as a school and a church. The Lord granted GCC the ability to rent and eventually purchase this property that exists as its current home.

In 1996, a nouthetic counseling center was established under the direction of Darrell Gustafson, also a 1984 graduate of Redeemer Seminary. The counseling ministry has since developed the Biblical Counseling Training Center of Arizona which trains and connects biblical counselors throughout the state.

In 1997 Grace Covenant joined the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA)as a charter member.

Since June 2002 GCC has continued to expand its facilities little-by-little as God has blessed the congregation with growth.

In 2007, GCC established Building Tomorrow’s Church, a nation-wide conference ministry to like-minded young adults, which continues to gather annually for the purpose of strengthening local churches by encouraging the next generation of Christians.

In January 2012, GCC sent Rob Cosby to plant a church in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson Reformed Baptist Church (TRBC), as the work has come to be called, constituted in November 2013. TRBC continues to shine the light of Christ in a dark place.

GCC thanks the Lord for His merciful providence in the life of GCC thus far and prays for His guidance in the future.

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1

Elders

John Giarrizzo, Pastor

John was born and raised in a Roman Catholic home in upstate New York. He attended parochial school through fourth grade, after which his family moved to Mesa, Arizona, where he has lived ever since. During his senior year of High School, John took night classes in real estate, acquired his real estate license at the age of 18, and was a full-time realtor for 6 years. The Lord powerfully converted John to Christ one day in 1979, while watching a Hal Lindsay program about the Second Coming of Christ. Shortly afterwards, the Lord led him to a Calvinistic Baptist church in Mesa, where he came to embrace the doctrines of grace. John married Roberta, in 1980 and in 1983, they were blessed with their first child, David. The following year John graduated from Redeemer Theological Seminary and was commissioned by his church to plant a new church. On September 8, 1985, Grace Covenant Church held their first worship service in a restaurant banquet hall. In 1986, John and Roberta were again blessed with their second child, Paul. Both of his sons know the Lord. In 2005, John received his Master of Divinity degree from Phoenix Seminary.

Mark Flin

Mark was a farm boy from Northeastern Kansas. He was converted during a church youth retreat during his sophomore year in high school. He moved to Mesa in 1980 after having accepted a job as an electrical engineer at Motorola. Mark came to embrace the doctrines of grace while attending Church of the Redeemer in Mesa. It was there that he met Carol, whom he married in 1981. Mark was a Deacon at Church of the Redeemer for two years. When Pastor Giarrizzo was sent out to plant a new work in Mesa, Mark and Carol went as founding members (their oldest daughter, Kristin, was born two days after the first official service in September of 1985!). Mark and Carol were blessed with a second daughter, Allison, in 1987. Mark has been an Elder and the treasurer at Grace Covenant Church from the beginning. He is currently a software engineer at General Dynamics.

Pete Smith

Pete was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa and became a Christian at a young age through the witness of his older brother. He moved to Mesa in junior high school and has remained in the East Valley ever since. He married his high school sweetheart, Lori, in 1990 and since has enjoyed raising and homeschooling their three children, Jessica, PJ and Justin who are following the Lord and have been baptized. Pete and Lori began attending Grace Covenant in 1991 and have been involved in numerous ministries within the church ever since.

Frank Urquidez

Frank Urquidez was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He grew up in an ungodly home and environment. He was led to Christ at age 13 by an undercover police officer. That same police officer paid Frank’s way through private Christian school. It was in High School that Frank came to an understanding of the Doctrines of Grace and believed he was called to the ministry. After high school Frank attended Pensacola Christian College in Florida. In 1990, Frank married his wife Donna. The Lord has blessed them with 6 amazing children. (3 boys 3 girls). 5 of the children profess Christ as savior. The Lord led Frank back to Arizona and GCC in 2011. Frank serves in several ministries at GCC and desires one day to be in full time ministry. He currently works for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage as a Business Training Consultant.

Joe Godal

Joe (age 70) is known as the “Eldest Elder” because he is the eldest. He was born and raised in South Philadelphia & South Jersey in a Roman Catholic family. He attended parochial schools through 12th grade. He and his wife were saved one week apart in 1970 through the witness of a persistent friend. Baptized that same year and entered Reformed Episcopal Seminary six months later. He has been married to Elena (4/1/67) for 46 years, they have 4 children and 13 grandchildren (presently). Joe is a US Navy veteran (Hospital Corpsman) (1962-1966), he was converted and began following Jesus in 1970; graduated Reformed Episcopal Seminary (1975), taught at Redeemer Theological Seminary, served as pastor at several churches in AZ, PA, & MD, Joe was State Chairman of Arizona Foster Care Review Board (1987-1989); retired as a Casualty Claims Supervisor from CNA Insurance Co. (1988-2006); is a member of Grace Covenant Church, Gilbert, Az. And heads up the Senior Saints ministry. Joe leads a Small Group and counsels several cases a week. He received his Biblical Counseling Training Center of Az.(BCTC of Az.) counseling certification (2011) and NANC certification in Oct. 2012. He has practiced biblical nouthetic counseling since 1975. He greatly enjoys cooking, Irish music and fellowshipping with God’s people.

Josh Rusev

Josh was born in Idaho, but has lived in Arizona since he was 7 years old. He came to know the Lord in his Sophomore year of high school at a youth retreat through the faithful preaching of the gospel at Scottsdale Bible Church. At SBC he also married his bride Chiara. Both Josh and Chiara served as small group leaders in the college ministry and were discipled under older men and women in the Lord. They moved to Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley after college where they began an understanding of the Doctrines of Grace and served on the missions committee. After the family moved into their first house in Gilbert, they came to know and love the body of Christ at Grace Covenant Church. Josh and his wife have 9 children. He has assisted in the launch of Building Tomorrow’s Church, an annual Reformed Baptist young adult’s conference and has been serving as a small group leader and rotating teacher in the Adult Sunday School. Josh currently works in Scottsdale in Information Technology.

Deacons

Peter Bradt

Peter was born and raised in central California and attended an Episcopal church with his mother, sister and brother. While attending junior college, he received his first Bible from the Gideons. He went on to graduate from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, CA. with a BS in Food Science. It was there in about 1974, that God revealed Himself to Peter savingly. After graduating, he moved back to the San Francisco Bay area and spent 22 years as a production supervisor in the food industry, and then went into outside sales. He and his wife, Nancy, and son Jacob moved to Phoenix in 2002. He has owned and operated his own swimming pool cleaning and service business since 2003 with the help of his son and wife.

Randy Davis

Randy Davis grew up on the west side of Phoenix. His family moved to Southern California when Randy was beginning his second year of high school. During his junior year at Cal State L.A. University, God showed mercy on Randy’s lost spiritual condition and brought him to the foot of the cross. Thru God’s providence, Randy’s coworker introduced him to the Doctrines of Grace a few years later. In 1994, Randy moved to Gilbert and began attending Grace Covenant Church. Randy and his wife, Julie, have four children.

Marvin Gatz, Deacon Emeritas

Marvin Gatz is not only our senior Deacon, but one of our founding members as well. He and his now departed wife Marge moved to the Mesa area from Illinois with their three children when Marvin was in his early thirties. It was at this season of Marvin’s life that the Lord gave Marvin an interest in spiritual things and eventually saved him and Marge. Marvin has made his living in the Mesa area doing custom harvesting for many years and is now an indispensable part of our property maintenance team.

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Steven Gonzales

Steven Gonzales was brought up in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a Roman Catholic home. Steven was converted at the age of 26. At 25 years old, Steven professed his faith in Christ; however, found out a year later that he was not truly saved. He only saw an outward change in his life but when able, practiced sin and never was given assurance that he was truly saved. He was convicted after reading 2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” He saw that he only had worldly sorrow and was still in his sin and was headed for damnation in eternal Hell. When Steven was given the eyes to see his sin before a Holy God, The Lord granted him true repentance that leads to salvation in Christ and was converted. Steven and his wife Kelly were married in 2008 and have a son Josiah that was given to them by the Lord’s grace in 2010. They all live in Mesa, AZ where they serve the Lord. Steven was called to the a deacon in January of 2011.

Matt Johnson

Matt was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but has lived in Arizona since he was 16 years old. He was raised in a Christian home and became a Christian at a young age. In 1998, he married Sarah. They started attending GCC in 2000, where they came to an understanding of reformed theology. This new knowledge brought an increased love and appreciation for Christ and what He has done for them on the cross. In 2008, they adopted their son Lukas. Matt has worked on the Building Tomorrow’s Church (BTC) committee as well as in the Financial Stewardship ministry at GCC. Matt currently works in accounting for a manufacturer in the aerospace industry.

Steven Kountz

Stephen was born and raised in Braddock Pennsylvania, a Borough of Pittsburgh. He was raised Byzantine Catholic in a very close knit community. He went to college in Arkansas where he met his wife Cyndy and married after graduation. In the early years of the marriage Cyndy became convicted by the Holy Spirit and started to consume sermon tapes by Pastor Al Martin, sent by her sister. Through the work of the Holy Spirit she was saved, and Stephen started to become convicted of his own sin nature. Stephen was saved by the Grace of God and soon embraced the Doctrines of Grace. The family has lived in Arkansas, North Eastern Pennsylvania and now Arizona. His employment with Wells Fargo Bank spans 37 years and he currently is a Database Analyst. Stephen has been involved in various church ministries throughout his life from trips to Mexico to build houses, to high school/young adult ministries and recently the Lakeshore Project. He also has a passion to serve those struggling with addictions. The Kountz family has three grown children, Kelley, Caleb and Karis plus eight grandchildren all residing in the Gilbert area.

John Stafford

John Stafford was born in Ithaca, New York. He moved to Venice, Florida at the age of eleven and then on to Arizona at age twenty-one. In 1966 John married his high school sweetheart Debbie. They were both born again while attending Church of the Redeemer in Mesa, AZ. John graduated from Arizona State University in 1971. John and Debbie started their family that same year. They have three boys and one girl. John is currently retired from Senior Project Estimator for Chanen Construction Co. in Phoenix.

Staff

Darrell Gustafson

Darrell was raised in Kearney, Nebraska. Darrell met his wife, Janet, while in high school. They dated 3 years and married shortly after he joined the U. S. Air Force. Darrell served for four years and then moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1971. Darrell sought employment as a carpenter and worked three years for other contractors. Darrell and Janet started their own remodeling and carpentry business, The Carpenter Company, in 1974. It was active until December of 2004. TheCarpenterCo.com is now a website encouraging believers to actively witness in word and deed and evangelize the lost. The site also points people to Christ as the only way to be right with God. He was converted in the early seventies as God used his wife, a pastor, the Word and the Holy Spirit to show him that Jesus Christ was the only way to be right with God. Darrell and Janet have three grown children and nine grandchildren. Their oldest daughter (Lori) and son-in-law (Pete who is now an elder at GCC) and three grandchildren attend Grace Covenant Church. Their son, and four grandsons reside in Green Valley, AZ. Darrell is a 1984 graduate of Redeemer Theological Seminary. He was an Elder at the Church of the Redeemer of Mesa for 2 years. He was ordained in 1983 and pastored the Church of the Redeemer, Chandler Heights for 3 years from 1983-1986. He was an Elder at Cornerstone Bible Church of Mesa for 4 years. Darrell has his NANC Certification Level II in Biblical Counseling (Nouthetic). He and his wife Janet (Level 1 NANC Certified) head up the Counseling, Discipleship Ministry at Grace Covenant Church. Darrell counsels the men, Janet counsels the women and they team counsel couples. Darrell is also serves in the (BCTCofAZ) Biblical Counseling & Training Center of AZ now Certified by NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors).

Janet Gustafson

Janet serves as a counselor in our counseling center. Janet counsels women and children. She also participates in couple and family counseling with her husband, Darrell Gustafson. Janet speaks at conferences and ladies retreats.

Kathi Olmstead

Kathi has been serving in the capacity of church secretary at Grace Covenant since August 1999. Many of her duties include: producing the weekly church bulletins and inserts, prayer request sheets, attendance record, monthly calendars, and bi-annual fellowship directory; sending out visitor and congregation letters; copying and compiling curriculum materials for Sunday school teachers and selected music materials for the music director; answering the phone and other general office responsibilities.

Mark Olmstead

Mark was born in Buffalo, NY. At the age of seven, he and his siblings moved to Mesa, Arizona to live with their grandparents after their parents were killed in a tragic train/car accident in Alden, New York. That day began a series of events that eventually led to his conversion. He later came to the Doctrines of Grace while attending Arizona State University. Mark comes from a family with varied musical talents and has led church music/choirs for over twenty years. He and his wife Kathi have been married for 30 years and have two sons. Andrew, Stephen and his wife, Celeste, all embrace the Savior and also attend Grace Covenant Church. Stephen and Celeste have blessed them with two grandchildren, Asher and Aria.

Rosie Mehan

Rosie moved to Mesa in 1954 with family, graduated from Mesa High School, and ASU twice! Taught briefly. Married Perry Mehan and immediately took on four children. That’s when she retired the first time! Attended classes at CBT, Church of the Redeemer, and attended Women’s Bible Study (and led music) over 20 years. Was able to stay home with the rest of the children, total 7, until they were in college. Went back to teaching Bible, and playing piano at Valley Christian High School until June 2010 when she retired. This is only the fifth church she has attended in her life, the third she has joined. She has had a number of “side business experiences” including a small restaurant and a catering business with her last two sons. She has 15 grandchildren and that is her favorite sport. She went on a ministry mission of sewing and teaching to Fiji in August 2011.

Interns

Nick Debenedetto

Nick was born and raised in a Roman Catholic home in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1987 he married Cindi, who came to know the Lord in a Baptist church in the farm country of Buckeye, Arizona. In the fall of 1988, God used Cindi’s inquiries and a humble Baptist preacher’s sermon to regenerate his heart. God continued to graciously work in Nick’s family and has blessed he and Cindi with six boys who all follow Christ as their Lord and Savior, four of which are married to God-fearing wives. The youngest are twins who are in high school. God used the Baptist faith to educate Nick with his Christian Studies undergraduate degree at Wayland Baptist University. In June of 2016, Nick graduated from Faith Bible Seminary (a Baptist institution) with his Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. Nick has his ACBC certification and started his M-Div degree program at Faith Bible Seminary in August of 2016. Nick has been an elder at two Bible churches. He retired from the Phoenix Police Department in 2011 after 26 years of service to become the small group pastor at a local church. Nick has come to embrace the Doctrines of Grace and the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith through the loving pursuit of Darrell Gustafson since first meeting him in the fall of 2011.

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