Mike Garman

Senior Pastor, Preaching and Teaching

Pastor Mike was born in Wellingborough England and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Raised by godly pPicture1arents, Pastor Mike attended church every Sunday from the time he was a young child. He felt God’s call of salvation on his life at the age of nine. Upon graduating high school, he began attending bible college to learn more about the bible. It was at bible college that Pastor Mike’s passion for studying and teaching God’s Word came alive and he felt God’s call to full time ministry. He graduated in 1980 from Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College with a B.A. and from Talbot Theological Seminary in 1985 with a M. Div. (master of divinity), and is currently working on his doctorate from Denver Seminary. In 1995, he began his ministry as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in beautiful Paso Robles. He has been married for thirty-seven years to his wife Sandy and they have three married children; Joel and his wife Rachel,  Brenna and her husband Warren, and Kelsey and her husband Scott; two cats, one Viszla and two Golden Retrievers. Pastor Mike’s passion is to see God’s people develop an intentional, intimate, relationship with Jesus Christ for His glory and their joy. You can email Pastor Mike at

Gus Bess

Senior Pastor, Leadership and Vision

For over three decades, Gus Bess has been encouraging men and women of God along their journey with Jesus the Christ. A motivational speaker, evangelist, church planter an pastor, Gus loves to share his unique story of being overwhelmed by God’s grace.

Gus grew up in Southern California and Hawaii. As a young man, Gus Bess dreamed of being a United States Marine, which he became in 1966.  But in 1969 after returning home from Vietnam, he wondered what it was all for. The country was in chaos and Gus returned to a United States that was vastly different from the one he left. Physically and emotionally scarred from the war, Gus embarked on a cross-country motorcycle trip that left him even more disillusioned with our country. He returned to his home town in California, angry at God while still trying to find the meaning of life. It took a small town Baptist preacher named Allen Billington, and a mission trip to the Navajo Indian reservation for God to get Gus’ attention. Gus finally stopped running and surrendered his life fully to the Lord Jesus Christ and his life has been an incredible journey since. Gus uses three simple words to describe his life and what God has done for him; Overwhelmed by Grace.

Gus graduated with his B. S. in Missions from Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College, his Masters of Ministry from Talbot Theological Seminary. He has also attended Northwest Graduate School in pursuit of his doctorate of ministry degree.

In 2008, Gus founded Overwhelmed by Grace to share the life and message of God’s grace with men and women everywhere.  It is Gus’ desire to see men and women who are overwhelmed by grace be living examples of integrity in the home, the market place, and the community.Gus currently resides in Paso Robles, California with his wife of 40 + years, Karen. He has three grown children and 11 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. Email Gus at


Scott Bess

Pastor of Family Ministry 


Pastor Scott recently joined us from Tucson Az, where he has been in the corporate world as a commercial banker for the past 9 years and lay pastor and elder at the Journey Evangelical Free Church.   Scott grew up as a PK and church planter’s kid.  God put a call for ministry on his heart in high school after leading his ‘enemy’ to Christ and seeing the amazing transformation of his friends heart and life.  He left southern California to go to Canada to pursue a ministry degree at Trinity Western University.  Knowing he wasn’t ready for full time ministry after school and wanting a challenge in his life he joined the Marines for 5 years.  During that time he met his wonderful wife Heather (now married 25 years), and had two girls Hannah (23) and Emily(21) and participated in the Gulf War as an Intel Analyst with a Top Secret clearance.  Knowing God still had a call on his life he returned to the North West and attended A.C.T.S seminary in British Columbia Canada.  While going to school at night and managing hotels during the day he received a call to full time ministry at Grande Prairie Alliance Church in Alberta where he served on staff as the Adult Ministries Pastor and then as a solo pastor in Elkford, the ‘wilderness capital’ of British Columbia.  His two boys Ian(15) and Conner(12) were born in Canada.  Scott has a passion for families and small group discipleship.  He loves down to earth conversations about how God’s word applies to real life, reformed theology, fly fishing, riding his bike, sci-fi movies and family time in God’s beautiful creation.  You can reach Scott at


 Nick Nowakowski

Pastor of Student Ministry 

Nick is a home-grown minister of the Word. He was born in Southern California and moved to Paso Robles when he was 8-years-old. When he was 15-years-old he was invited to come to First Baptist Church’s youth group, and four months later he came to know the Lord in the Sanctuary here at FBC. He was discipled and grew in faith and wisdom and almost immediately felt the call of God on his life to pursue full-time ministry. After graduating from high school in 2007, he spent three months in Italy at Saint’s Bible College. He returned to Paso Robles for a time and then moved to Chicago in 2010 to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the Moody Bible Institute. There he met his wife, Minnesota-native Jillian, and they both graduated from Moody in 2013 with BA’s in Biblical Studies and were married three months later. They have no children yet, but adore their precious Rat Terrier named Sadie. Nick’s hobbies include performance cars, skateboarding, cooking, and reading.

Nick is passionate about reaching youth in the very church where he met the Lord, and knows and understands the work that the Lord can do in the life of a young person fully dedicated to Him. He is excited about discipling and mentoring the youth of FBC and instructing them in godliness and Christlikeness.


Shelanie Voorheis

Director of Worship

Shelanie is a classically trained pianist and accomplished vocalist. She has been performing vocally and instrumentally since she was very young. IMG_5410bcShe is thankful for the many opportunities given to her as a young girl to offer her musical gifts to the Lord during special music times at her church, as well as for the opportunities she has been given to perform for large audiences in her college and post-college days. Shelanie has a Bachelor’s of Music from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, as well as a Multiple Subject teaching credential and a Master’s in Education from the University of La Verne. She has an abundance and variety of musical experience ranging from directing many different types of choirs, including the Central Coast Children’s Choirs, leading many Sunday morning services, and accompanying soloists, choirs, and orchestras. She has won several piano competitions and been the featured piano soloist with the Cal Poly Wind Orchestra at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo. Shelanie has performed vocally as a soloist in many Grace Bible Church Choir concerts and local San Luis Obispo county events.

Above all of these things, Shelanie loves our Lord and considers her husband, Robert, and their four children her greatest life blessings.

You can contact Shelanie at


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