West Shore Free Church is a congregational church. This means that ultimate governing authority, under God, resides in the congregational members. The members delegate the ultimate leadership of the church to the elders, elected on a yearly basis. The elders, most of whom are laymen, in turn, delegate the day-to-day operation of the church to the pastoral staff and oversee the staff’s fulfillment of the mission and goals of the church. The Senior Pastor and the Executive Pastor are the only staff members who serve on the Board of Elders. The Elder Board is responsible for guarding doctrine, setting directions and exercising discipline in the church.
An elder at West Shore Free Church must be a male member of our church.
While no one is perfect, an elder consistently exhibits in his life and character the Biblical profile of a spiritual leader as identified by Paul in I Timothy and Titus:
Timothy 3:1-7: Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. NIV
Titus 1:5-9: The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. NIV
Mark Blanchard, Chair
Dave Balinski, Vice Chair
Joel Gordon, Secretary
Matt Krise, Treasurer
Dave and his wife Joy were married in 1988 and after completing his engineering degree, they moved from upstate New York to Pennsylvania. They currently reside in Dillsburg and have been attending West Shore since 1990. Over the years Dave has served as a Fellowship Group Leader, a Junior/Senior High Life Group Leader, an Elder and is also currently co-leading a bible study at his place of employment, TE Connectivity. Dave and Joy have been blessed with three adult children, a daughter-in-law, son-in-law and four awesome grandchildren. Dave is an avid outdoorsman and is continually fascinated by the beauty and complexities of God’s creation.
David has served West Shore in a variety of ministry-related roles since 1993, primarily on the Elder Board, men’s ministry council, fellowship leader in Tapestry.
David is a Certified Facility Manager and had worked in the real estate and facility management field for over 30 years. Over 10 years ago, David joined the full-time ministry of CBMC, Christian Business Men’s Connection. CBMC is an evangelism and discipleship organization focused on marketplace ministry.
David enjoys connecting with other men in the discipleship process so that they are equipped to disciple others also (2 Tim 2:2). David and his wife, Cheryl, are blessed with four grown children and four grandchildren. David and Cheryl live in Hampden Township.
Mark and his wife Renee have been attending West Shore since 1997. Currently, Mark serves as a teacher and leader for the ABIDE fellowship group. After working as a teacher and a high school principal, Mark currently serves as a district administrator for the Cumberland Valley School District. Mark and Renee live in Mt. Holly Springs with their four children – Matthew, Ellie, Taryn, and Tyler.
Joel and his wife, Rachel have been married for thirty years and are the parents of young adults, Joshua and Jenna, who reside in California and Virginia respectively. Joel has been a member of West Shore since 1983 and a life group leader for more than twenty years. A retired federal employee, Joel currently serves on the LifeGroup Leadership Team, as a facilitator in Tapestry fellowship group, and in the Cumberland Pointe food distribution and after-school programs. In the fall, Joel is often found at Beaver Stadium cheering on the Nittany Lions. Life experiences have led Joel to cherish the wisdom found in Proverbs 3:5-6.
Matt and his wife, Minta, have attended West Shore since 2001. They currently attend the Koinonia Fellowship Group. Matt has been involved as a small group leader in the Senior High Youth ministry, he facilitates a small group in the Christian Businessman’s Connection and he and Minta lead the Money and Finance section of the Preparing for Marriage class. Matt is a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Harrisburg. Matt and Minta live in Dillsburg with their daughter Julia and son Zachary. In his free time Matt enjoys fly fishing and spending time at his family cabin in Northern PA.
Erik and his wife, Molly, have been members of West Shore since 2004. They have enjoyed living, working and serving in many nations. They have a passion for serving in missions, diverse cultures, and remote ecosystems. As a professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Messiah College, Erik encourages students to become introspective by examining their lives, their faith, their community and the natural world. Erik and Molly serve on the Missions Leadership Team, Refugee Resettlement Ministry and are dedicated to a Life Group. They live in Grantham and have four children and a daughter-in-law —Amelia, Joshua, Abigail, Josiah, and his wife Kimberly.
Tony and his wife Tara have attended West Shore since 2001 and became members in 2006. Tony has been one of the teachers in the Koinonia fellowship group for several years. He is a lawyer with the firm of Johnson Duffie Stewart & Weidner, with his practice focused on civil litigation. He and Tara live in Boiling Springs with their three children — Isaac, Riley and Anna.
Jeff has been attending West Shore since 1994. He met his wife, Angie, while they were in youth group. Jeff and Angie were married in 2003 and now have three children: Jadon, Katie and Devin. Jeff has served in different areas of the church through the years including the Jr. High Ministry, the Becomer’s Fellowship class, and the widow care ministry, called Courage to Care. Jeff has worked in construction for many years while specializing in plumbing. Presently, he is self-employed as the owner of Niner Plumbing, LLC. Jeff loves the outdoors, and in his spare time, enjoys spending time with friends and family, 4-wheeling and kayaking.
Nate and his wife Connie have attended West Shore since 2006, and became members in 2007. Nate has served in leadership and teaching roles of the Becomers Fellowship group and now in the ABIDE. He and Connie have also been involved with forming and facilitating life groups. Nate and Connie live in Dillsburg with their three children: Adelyn, Lauryn and Caleb. Nate is co-owner of R&S Fence Co. in Dillsburg and enjoys spending time in the Great Outdoors with family and friends in activities like hiking, biking, camping, hunting, backpacking and riding ATV’s.
Trent Thompson, Senior Pastor
The most important thing to know about Trent (and the thing of which he is constantly reminding himself), is that He is loved by God because of Christ. He came to this understanding at a relatively young age thanks in large part to faithful parents and a sister who liked to pretend she was his parent. But if you’re interested in some of the secondary details, Trent grew up in Dallas which means that most of his formative experiences revolved around heat, bbq, and the Cowboys (not necessarily in that order). He spent a lot of time playing sports, mostly basketball, which is unfortunate because he is neither exceedingly quick or tall. He went to school at Texas A&M University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and then moved to Austin where he met his wife, had two girls, and got to tell people about Jesus with some of the best friends and teammates he could have ever hoped for. Trent and Amanda are excited to now be in Central PA and to follow Christ with the people of West Shore Free. They are also welcomed a son to their family since moving to PA.
Tim Ryan, Executive Pastor
Tim has experienced the Father’s faithful, loving pursuit since age 17. Since then, God has opened many doors in his life for rewarding involvement in short-term mission trips, camps and ministry to children, youth, men. Tim loves travel, adventure and the outdoors—especially hiking, camping, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. He also enjoys moonlighting as a high ropes course facilitator when he gets the chance! Tim and Amy are celebrating over 20 years of marriage. They have attended West Shore since 2002. A “picture perfect family weekend” might find them serving as volunteers alongside their four girls at a local camp.