Scott Grabendike recently joined the Ventura Missionary team as our Executive Pastor. Scott brings a wealth of very fitting experience, which when coupled with his deep and abiding faith will be a tremendous asset to our staff and church family. We sat down with Scott and his wife, Kara, to learn a bit more about the Grabendikes.
Scott and Kara are Ventura natives. Kara is a teacher at Buena High School. They have two adult children, Caleb and Chloe. Caleb is married to Melinda, an added blessing to their family. Chloe will be attending online classes at Cal State University at Channel Islands this fall.
Scott and Kara knew each other in high school but were only acquaintances until they began attending a local college group and serving in middle school ministry. Even then, they didn’t begin to date for a while. They both see this season as a real blessing as they were able to observe and watch how the other responded to various circumstances.
Scott laughs about the time when he was able to hint at his interest in Kara for the first time to help them “move on from the friend zone!” It was Valentine’s Day, and he decided to send a single rose to a number of his friends who happened to be girls, merely as a token of those friendships. Kara was one of those friends, and he took a subtle step by sending her not one, but two roses. When all the young women compared notes, they figured out the meaning. Just two months after they did begin dating, Scott and Kara knew they wanted to be married. At the ages of 20 and 21, they made it official.
Kara describes those early years by saying, “We were poor and happy. Our first home was above my Dad’s garage.” Part of the reason they were stretched for cash is because they were still attending Westmont College.
During his high school days, Scott had originally planned to enter the military as his father and grandfather had done before him. He figured he would be able to fulfill one of his passions by working on cars as his form of service. But God had another kind of service in mind and that was to become a pastor. God very clearly put that calling on Scott’s heart and so his path moving forward was recalculated.
Scott was offered two opportunities to pastor youth on the same day – one in Thousand Oaks and one in Palmdale. He and Kara knew that God was guiding them to Palmdale, and it was while they were living there that both of their children were born. Scott also attended Fuller Theological Seminary and received a Master of Divinity degree. While living in Fuller’s international student housing, he and Kara loved that their kids were exposed to a variety of cultures. They were able to play with kids from all over the world.
Scott has had a variety of opportunities to pastor over the years, including six years in Colorado and eight years in Wisconsin. Each experience broadened his knowledge and understanding of people and ministry. Most recently, he had been consulting for a group that equips leaders in churches and other entities to thrive and work together productively. He looks forward to bringing that experience to Ventura Missionary. He says, “I’m excited to help shape culture, creating a church environment where people flourish and are discipled. I want to help people figure out what drives them to grow and what is keeping them from growing in their faith.” Scott will also play a major role in helping us fulfill the vision that God has given Ventura Missionary Church.
Scott and Kara feel blessed to have had a close marriage. They are both highly relational and have always been committed to fighting for their relationship and not letting anything pull them apart through the ups and downs of life. They have also always been determined to believe the best about each other. Kara says that disharmony in relationships can happen to anyone, so even beyond that strong 28-year commitment, she also attributes their healthy marriage to the grace of God, and she is grateful for that.
It’s so interesting that a large part of Scott’s role at Ventura Missionary will be equipping and supporting our staff team, because he and Kara are an obvious team. They are a joy to talk to and we look forward to folding the Grabendikes into our church family and partnering with them to live and share the transforming love of Jesus.