We'd love to get to know you! Read on to find out a little bit about who we are, and don't hesitate to come say hi on Sunday!
Bruce Stabbert - Pastor
I’m the poster child for the statement, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I live at the same address listed on my birth certificate, a house my grandfather built in 1926. In between I lived in four other states, and that was mostly due to the fact that my father was also a pastor. I thank God for my Christian upbringing. But it was not until I was a high school senior that I completely embraced the privilege of following Christ no matter where that might lead. For me that led to training at what is now called the Master’s College (B.A., M.Div.) and to further graduate studies at Talbot Theological Seminary (Th.M.). The first decade of my ministry was as a college and seminary professor where I taught theology, Bible, and Greek. The Seattle Mariners and Fellowship Bible Church started in 1977. My ministry at that point took on the exciting dimension of watching whole families learn the Bible and follow Christ. Nothing is more thrilling to me than to see the baton of truth carried from one generation to the next! I have fallen in love with this congregation and have raised my own family under its influence. My wife B.J. was raised on the mission field and is a huge part of my joy in ministry. My nine children include one in heaven and eight living children (four sons, four daughters). I also have six grandsons and two spunky granddaughters. Two of our children are war orphans from Liberia in West Africa. We also have a little lazy dog, Riddick (short for Ridiculous). My ministry duties include preaching and leading the church. I am committed to seeing a church that is both thinking and thoughtful—that cares for God’s truth and lives it out in acts of sacrifice. For me personally, this takes the form of an annual trip to Liberia where I can encourage the lives of those ministering to the suffering. I love to see people everywhere go deeper with God. My intention is to serve the Lord at FBC until He calls me home (or as long as people can put up with me).
When I need to relax, I read a book, or do a puzzle, or walk through the woods at Pt. Defiance, or listen to music, or watch my kids and grandkids play sports or sing. I love writing, and designing things. My wife thinks I also relax when I get to do gardening.
Earl Oliver - Pastor
I was raised in California by an Italian mother and a Portuguese father. We were Roman Catholic, and I was very involved in the church. My dad mainly worked as a brick layer, and my mom was a homemaker. My mother was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Hodgkin's disease when I was about seven and she was about 27 years old, and she suffered with that until she died at age 33. I was in the seventh grade at the time, and my life was deeply affected by her loss. She was a great mother and my spiritual influence in the Catholic Church. As she drew closer to death, she started asking more questions about her relationship with Christ. That's when an aunt and uncle who were believers came to visit her a couple of times near the end and led her to faith in Christ just two weeks before she died.
When growing up, I had always struggled in school, but from that time on, I didn’t even try. At the end of my Junior year of high school, I too came to faith in Christ, but life was still complicated. After barely graduating from high school, I held various odd jobs, joined the Navy, and eventually was sent overseas to serve for two years on the island of Guam. This was during the Viet Nam conflict, and I was grateful to be able to serve. My time on Guam was a significant time of change for me. Because of the influence of some missionaries there, some friendships that I developed, and God’s peculiar work in my life at that time, major changes were beginning. When I came back to the states, I had decided to go to college to possibly prepare for work with juveniles or church youth. I graduated from the school now known as The Master’s College in southern California, and then moved up to Tacoma, Washington to attend Northwest Baptist Seminary.
While working on my Masters of Divinity degree, Bruce and I started talking and studying about the possibilities of starting a church in the area that might reflect both solid biblical principles, and reasonable cultural sensitivity in our local community. After finishing my three years at the seminary, a small group of us started a home Bible study that grew into Fellowship Bible Church. (See history of FBC for more on this.)
My main duties at FBC include counseling, discipleship, some teaching, and miscellaneous other duties. Since 2005 I have also enjoyed teaching a biblical counseling course at Northwest Baptist Seminary here in town.
When I’m not working as a pastor or adjunct professor, I enjoy a variety of activities including attending stage productions, concerts, doing some reading, and the thing I spend the most discretionary time on is various car projects. Restoring old Mustangs occupies much of my attention there. I am married to Diana, and we have three grown children, Ryan, Christina, and Adina, who all live in the Tacoma area.
When I think of the message or purpose I most want to be remembered by, I am reminded of something I read many years ago that still resonates with me. I would like to be remembered as being:
- Biblical without being fundamentalistic
- Spiritual without being withdrawn from the world
- And engaged with the world without being conformed to it
Randy Brenneise - Pastor
As a young man God graciously placed people in my life who shared Christ with me in many different ways. As a teenager I prayed a prayer to receive Christ as my savior, but it wasn’t until after being defeated by bad choices that I realized Jesus must have first place and lordship in my life. This began a new lifelong process of learning how to give Jesus first place everyday in every part of my life. Living in and for Christ alone characterizes the stage upon which I am a player, living out each scene.
My education follows in step with my journey as a Christian. I struggled to make it out of high school and didn’t graduate from college the first time I attended, but after surrendering to the Lord’s leadership in my life I went back to college, which opened the door to go to seminary to gain a deeper grasp of God’s word and learn the tools for study and ministry.
While at seminary, I met Earl Oliver, who is also on staff at FBC and we began a relationship centered on counseling practice. Our relationship led to the opportunity for an internship at FBC, and eventually a full time ministry position in January of 2010. I have been on staff at FBC ever since! My main responsibilities (spiritual formation and discipleship) reflect my passion for people, which includes helping people grow deeply connected to Christ and expressing that connection in continuing growth and service to God and others. I also have a passion for making sure new people who visit the body are welcome and connected to the fellowship so that all can experience the love and closeness of the body of Christ.
My wife Tyla and I are enjoying our 24th year of marriage and we have two grown children who live in the area. Tyla and I have have enjoyed learning how to rock climb, and recently braved the walls of Smith Rock in Oregon. We also enjoy hiking, camping, and warm weather. We love having families over for meals, conversation, and laughter - usually centered on playing games, especially “Catch Phrase”!
Matt Forbes - Youth Pastor
The process of God saving me and leading me to church ministry initially began at age 8, when the Lord caused me to understand my need to repent of my sin and trust in Him alone for salvation. At age 18, I completed a youth & music internship in my local church. I loved it and regularly spent time in student ministry over the next 10 years. After graduating from The Master's College in 2007, I entered the business world in the energy and finance industries. After 6 years in business, I began to discern the call to full-time church ministry. I was attending Fellowship Bible Church at the time and moved to California to further my education through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and The Master's College. Little did I know the Lord was leading me to return to FBC as youth pastor!
I am passionate about student ministry, in part because it is during this life stage that so many people choose what they will believe and who they will become. It’s critical to be equipped with God's truth in Scripture at a young age and what it means to live practically in light of it.
I married my amazing wife Stacey in August of 2009. We love being parents to our daughter Avery, having people in our home around dinner and games, music (anything but rap :) ), reading a good book, and spending time with family and friends.
Nate Corley - Pastor
Fellowship Bible Church feels like home. My parents became members here before I was born and we’ve been here ever since.
Both Bruce and Earl have faithfully served our church family in general and my family specifically for decades, and their example is what has led me to want to pursue pastoral ministry as a vocation. I love being a pastor at FBC. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I wonder, “Wait – am I really getting paid to study the Bible and interact with people for a living? And work with mentors like Earl and Bruce and Randy every day? And the Women’s Bible Study brings us snacks every month?”
I also love my wife, Shawna. We started dating when we were sophomores in high school and just never stopped. We have been married since 2011, and we live in Tacoma’s Central District – right next to 6th Ave. Our first child, Moses Earl Bruce Corley, was born in November of 2015, and we are learning that being parents is both more complicated and more enriching than we’d expected.
My formal education consists of a BS from Seattle Pacific University and a M.Div. from Corban University School of Ministry.
I enjoy hunting, reading, writing, jogging, and going on dates with my wife. I also like meeting new people, so if you visit FBC, come say hi.
Holly McFarlin - Administrative Assistant
In the fall of 2012, my husband and myself, along with our toddler son and another on the way, began attending Fellowship Bible Church. Newly transplanted from California, we were eager to connect with a body of believers in Tacoma. We found a church home where we were welcomed into a family of believers.
Through friendships we have developed individually and through the fellowship we’ve enjoyed by meeting with other members here, we’ve grown spiritually too. As our boys have grown old enough for some instruction, they have enjoyed learning Bible stories in their classrooms and learning how to apply Biblical values everyday.
I have had the pleasure of leading a small group during Women’s Bible study as well as volunteering with an amazing team of women to provide childcare for the growing families of FBC. My husband has had the privilege of helping to lead worship by playing guitar and singing as well as assisting newcomers at the Welcome Desk.
In the summer of 2015 I responded to the invitation to come on staff part-time in the church office. Being able to use my gifts in administration while connecting people and providing support for the various ministries is a blessing and an honor.
Susan Westering - Worship Administrator
My journey to FBC started before my husband Scott and I were married. We were college sweethearts and were looking for a place that taught the Word of God with passion and humility. 33 years later we are still here and are still being amazed at the teaching! Scott and I have the distinct honor of being the first couple to be married by Bruce Stabbert, one of our pastors. We have three wonderful children who are an incredible blessing to us.
I get the opportunity to help lead our music and worship ministry at FBC. This is near and dear to my heart as I have been involved in music my whole life. I graduated from college with a concentration in music and spent a year traveling the country in the drama/comedy/musical group “Jeremiah People”. It was during this time that I learned how important music is in worship. We have a vibrant “intergenerational” church that loves to sing together and to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Again, we are so blessed to have solid biblical teaching, and it is natural and fitting for our hearts to worship in response to all that He has done for us.
In my spare time, (do moms have spare time?) I love being outdoors, staying active, and hanging out with family and friends. Eating together is also high on the list!
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let is make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” Psalm 95:1
Jack Willsey - Training Pastor
Jack serves with the FBC staff in a support role. A former seminary teacher, he provides classes on biblical subjects at regular intervals for members and attendees. He greatly enjoys working with the elders and pastors and being able to serve the FBC community of faith.
Makayla Guzman - Admin Staff
Makayla has served in the FBC Youth Ministry as part-time admin staff since 2016. She loves discipling teenagers as they pursue a relationship with Jesus and learn to stand on His Word. Makayla also works as a portrait and wedding photographer, and you can almost always find her with a camera in hand.
Michael Lennox - Worship/Tech
I have spent most of my life attending FBC and for the last few years I have had the privilege of being on staff, mainly with the worship team. FBC is a rare community of people who earnestly seek after the Lord and it is awesome to get to be a part of that. I have loved being able to be involved in music, youth ministry, and tech support here. I’m also currently a full-time student at Arizona State University and a shift supervisor at Starbucks. I’m looking forward to whatever the future holds after graduation next year, and trust that God will lead me where he wants me to go.
Westin Lennox - Staff
Working at FBC has been one of the most fun and rewarding challenges in my life. For the past 7 years, I have had the privilege of serving on staff in a variety of areas. Whether I’m working on a new webpage for an upcoming event, a message for Sunday morning, a college-group discussion guide, or jamming on the sound board, I count myself blessed to be able to work alongside such an amazing group of believers.
Outside of church, I work as a developer at an ad agency, and enjoy spending time outdoors rock climbing with Randy, or bothering my little brother Michael :)
I’m so thankful that God has put me in a place like FBC with so many people who truly love him.
P.S. If we haven’t met, come find me on Sunday - I’d love to say hi!