Leadership

Elders (or pastors) are biblically qualified men who oversee the local church, particularly through teaching God’s Word, praying, caring for church members, and training members to do the work of ministry. These are the men our congregation has recognized as elders.

Ephesians 4; 1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3

Elders

Elder

Daniel Carter

Daniel and his wife, Rachelle, have been married since 2017 and have a beautiful baby girl (Ruby). Daniel proudly served in the Marine Corps Reserve from 2011 to 2016. He has a bachelors in Criminal Justice from California State University Fullerton and has attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Daniel and Rachelle served as the ministry team leaders for Cru (Campus Crusade) Military ministry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton from 2016-2019. They became members at Pillar Church of Oceanside in 2017 where Daniel was voted in and affirmed as an elder by the congregation. In this role, Daniel and Rachelle both felt the Lord leading them to take steps of obedience toward planting another Pillar Church in San Diego. Daniel is most passionate about leading the church to reach the lost, make disciples, and empowering them to live on mission together.

Elder

Gabe Martin

Gabe Martin and his wife, Misty, have been married since 2006 and have two children, Ross and Lily. Gabe proudly served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years. While still in the Navy, Gabe began his seminary training and also served in a variety of ministries, including mission work, leading community servant-evangelism teams, serving on the worship team, teaching Pre-K Bible lessons, and various preaching roles. After leaving the military to pursue full-time ministry, he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned his Master of Divinity. Before coming to San Diego to plant Pillar Church, Gabe served as a pastor in East Texas.

Elder

Stephen Griffin

Stephen and his wife Julie have been married since 2007. They have four children (Tierzah, Micah, Benihana, and Noah). They met doing military ministry while Stephen was enlisted in the Marine Corps and stationed at Camp Pendleton. Stephen left active duty in 2004 to follow his call to full-time ministry. He earned his BA in Biblical Studies and earned his Master of Divinity at the Southern California Seminary. He was a young adult ministry pastor for four years before going back on active duty as a Navy Chaplain in 2010. Since then Stephen and Julie have enjoyed serving in the military, participating in both the base chapel and local church ministry. They fell in love with the Pillar churches and the Praetorian Project mission while serving at Pillar Okinawa. In June 2021, the congregation at Pillar San Diego voted to appoint Stephen to serve as one of their Elders. Stephen and Julie are passionate about the military community, about teaching God's Word faithfully, and discipling their fellow believers.

Elder

Luis Rivera

Luis Rivera serves as an elder at Pillar San Diego. He has been married to Cristina for almost 18 years and has three adult children. Luis retired from the U.S. Navy after almost 25 years. He currently serves as the Operations Manager for Programs at the Mighty Oaks Foundation, a non-profit aimed at helping veterans and first responders through God's Word. Luis was introduced to the Pillar family at Pillar Oceanside at the end of 2019. Then after learning about a new Pillar Church plant in San Diego, he was very excited to get involved. He and Cristina have resided in San Diego County since 2002.

Ministry Leaders

Worship Leader

Cole Smith

Cole and his wife Megan moved to San Diego in the July of 2020 and were with Pillar Church during the months leading up to its establishment in September of 2020. Cole earned his AA degree in Music Theory in 2017 and previously served on a worship team in Seaside, CA playing the piano for a year prior to coming to San Diego for school. Cole is currently earning his Master’s degree in Athletic Training From Point Loma Nazarene University. God has given Cole a passion for biblical worship and for leading the congregation by example. Through God's gifting, Cole desires to help church members praise and glorify our God both through music and in the daily Christian life outside of Sunday service.