Pastors & elders

  • David Smith (Melissa) ~ executive & Family Ministries Pastor; Elder

    Contact: 208.777.9654

  • Neil anderson (carol) ~ senior staff pastor; men's ministry director; elder

    Neil was born in Baltimore, MD and moved to Spokane, WA as an infant. He graduated from John Rogers High School. He attended Biola College for almost four years as a Greek and Bible major, and eventually graduated with a BA in Humanities from Eastern Washington College. He became a Christian at Fourth Memorial Church at the age of sixteen and was active in church and camp ministries. In 1965 he married Carol and they have four children, Heather, Daniel, Bruce and Wendy.  In 1970 they joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and in 1972 Neil and Carol left for Papua New Guinea and were assigned to work with the Folopa speaking people. They continued with that work, as well as having assignments in administrative areas, until 2005 when the Folopa New Testament was completed. The dedication for the New Testament took place January 16, 2007. In February 2007 Neil and Carol received the Logohu National Medal of Honour for their service to the country of Papua New Guinea.

    Neil has been a plenary speaker at Urbana Missions Conference in the US as well as other conferences. He co-authored with Hyatt Moore the book In Search of the Source, a Wycliffe publication. The book has been translated into a dozen languages and has been well received.

    Neil served as the senior pastor of Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane for almost four years before being called to serve at His Place Church in 2013.

    Contact Neil at

  • gary johnson (Karen) ~ elder

    We started our journey together 40+ years ago by being “just friends” for a while and then getting married --- so, so, so in love!  Karen and I were inseparable.  Looking back on that time, it was a really great time where I definitely knew that I had the better deal . . . and obviously that hasn’t changed!  Just look at the picture!  What we didn’t realize was that we were in a great relationship that was destined to become so much greater once God entered our world in a very personal way.

    Although at that time we both would have said “Yeah, we’re Christians,” we didn’t have a clue in the beginning.  Having come from different church backgrounds, we had agreed that we would work toward finding our own church right after we were married.  Three to four years into our marriage, that still hadn’t happened.  It wasn’t until we moved to Liberty Lake, close to the church Karen had occasionally attended in her “growing up” years, that we visited our first church together. 

    Before we knew it, God was messing with our marriage and challenging me in areas I didn’t want to hear about – spiritual stuff!  Then before I knew it, Karen wanted to go on a marriage retreat for a whole weekend – on Super Bowl weekend of all things!  Long story short – it was the weekend where we were introduced to the God Who put us together.  I discovered that God’s desire was a personal relationship, not rules and religion like the church I was raised in.  God had been drawing both Karen and I to Himself, patiently, so patiently.  Karen and I were living for ourselves, happily satisfied with our meaningless, self-indulgent life.  Little did I realize how much better our marriage could be by doing it God’s way, the beginning of a new legacy.  We are so grateful for God’s overwhelming grace as He’s grown His blessings to include five great and Godly children (ages 24-35) with five great and Godly spouses, raising eight incredibly wonderful grandchildren (ages 2 months to 8 years) – most of whom live within 10 minutes of our home at Liberty Lake.  God has turned the 2 of us into 20 and counting! 

    Karen and I are amazed at how God has gradually and patiently grown us up and taken us on a great journey that led us to a love relationship with Him and each other that was beyond what we could have ever imagined back in 1973 “BC”.  We’re “best friends” now, not “just friends” and are gradually getting closer to being the “one” He intended that we be.  The take-away is that our God is still so patient with us as we continue doing life our own way.  Forgetting and even ignoring the true joy and freedom that He has to offer, we continue to somehow act like we know what’s best!  We thank God that He doesn’t just slam the door shut and give us what we ask for and what we deserve.  God has taken that “great relationship” that Karen and I were in back in ’73 and is leading us to a much greater “great relationship” with Him!

    I enjoy playing golf despite my score and I love tinkering with old cars.  Karen still likes anything to do with hanging out at the lake.  Together we love to explore those slow windy roads in our ’75 TR 6, top down of course – or – on our ’71 Triumph motorcycle.  Ya just gotta love those old leaky limey British machines!  They make me smile big.  I love to date my “Schweethardt”.  She makes me smile bigger!  WOW, how God loves me and that makes me smile bigger yet!

    Contact Gary

  • Patrick Poole (Margaret) ~ Elder

    Pat & Margaret met in the 8th grade in Medford, Oregon and remained friends until they graduated from high school. They established a lasting relationship  as they began corresponding by mail while Pat was away in the Navy. After Pat was discharged from the service, they were married.

    Pat Served for 27 years as a member of the Oregon State Police at various locations around the state. He retired from law enforcement in 1999, having served as the commander of the patrol office in Portland, the Director of a statewide division and then as a member of the National Security Division of the FBI in Washington D.C.

    Margaret had become a follower of Christ while a teenager. Pat became a Christian early in 1969. The dynamics of marriage, a new career and raising three daughters gave the couple ample opportunities to rely on Jesus.

    The family was required to move several times during Pat's police service. Pat has been privileged to serve as elder in two churches they attended over the years. Most recently, he served in an operational and spiritual leadership role at Koinonia House, a Christian ministry in Post Falls. Margaret has also been involved in touching the lives of others. She has been teaching the Word of God in women's ministry for several decades. The couple has taken part in leading small groups in each of the fellowships they attended.

    All three of their daughters live in North Idaho. Pat and Margaret have twelve grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

    To contact Pat

  • Jason jerman (Stefani) ~ elder

    I was hired on with the Forest Service as a firefighter when I was 18 and I continued to hold various roles in federal wildland fire management around the west until 2010. Currently I am the silviculturist on the Coeur D'Alene River Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

    In the Spring of 2005, I met my beautiful and beloved wife, Stefani, while coordinating an environmental education outreach at Camp Four Echoes, a Girl Scout Camp on Coeur D'Alene Lake. The Lord has blessed me richly through her; in our friendship, our marriage and most of all by using her to introduce me to Him.

    I was particularly cruel to people who didn't measure up to my "performance standards". I was covetous, adulterous, and prideful amongst many other things. But God, through the Holy Scriptures, convicted me of my sin, convinced me of God's grace and convinced me of Jesus' eternal leadership. I confessed my junk and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior in July of 2005. Praise God for His persistent pursuit and saving grace! I still love God's wonderful word to this day. My goals are to love the Lord more wholeheartedly, to become a more godly husband and father, to build up the church with the gifts he gives, and to show and tell the love of Christ wherever I am more courageously.

    As of February 2017, I have been married to my beloved Stefani for ten years, eleven in October; our children: Valerie (oldest), Zyana and our 3rd was born in June of 2017.

    Hobbies: hunting (ducks, chukers, deer, elk, in particular), fishing(anything that has gills and fins), canoeing, hiking and occasionally playing with longbows. I love to do all of these things and many others with my wife and children.

    To contact Jason

  • Gary Giltner (Connie) ~ Elder

    I am writing this as I look over the Salmon River with the beautiful February sun shining on it. It provided an ideal background to reflect on my life, family, purpose, creation and Creator. It has taken me more than two years to write this, so I am late, but God's timing is always perfect.

    Everything about God is perfect. He is not safe, but we are secure in Him and His goodness. Looking back on my life, God was involved with me in the days and years that I acknowledged Him and the days and years that I rejected Him.

    Born in California, our parents moved my older sister and I to Prescott, AZ, when I was 12. At 14, I was pretty much done with following God. Didn't quit believing, just quit knowing Him. At 19, I met this cute little gal and a few short months later we were married, with our first son following closely. That was 1988. 2 years later our 2nd son was born. This introduced us to cleft lip and pallet and many surgeries followed. His care was performed at a clinic in Phoenix, which also treated almost all forms of special needs children. Some were small and repairable, like our, others were severe and permanent. That exposure made us very grateful to have a child with only a cleft.

    In 1992, we loaded up a small U-Haul with our 4 year old & 2 year old boys and our black lab and drove north to either Montana or Idaho. No specific destination, and ended up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

    More years of living away from God and living for ourselves followed. These brought incredible pain and unneeded suffering because of selfishness. Remember how God is good? That  pain brought us to God, and in God we both found life, forgiveness and grace, strength and healing.

    It has been 23 years since we both gave our lives to Christ, and we love Him more now than ever. He has led us to add three more to our family. This time through adoption and this time they were girls. I used to wonder if children by birth or by adoption were any different. They aren't. We love all of them and each one has touched us and blessed us. Sadly, we lost our middle daughter. That is a whole story in itself. It was a trying time. The pain and struggles that brought us really put our faith to the test.  Did we just have a "faith", or did we know a living God who truly does exist and lives in us? And if He exists, can He handle, and will He allow us to be angry and confused and to question Him? The answer is YES.

    My wife is a blessing. We have been married 31 years now and she lifts me up and encourages me every day. She is my helper. Just as God said to Adam, "It is not good for him to be alone. I will make a suitable helper for him." And indeed, He did. Her name is Connie and I do love her. Without her I would not be the man I am today. Serving Christ is my desire, I do not feel that I do it well. I thank Him for His grace.

    To contact Gary