Our Elders

At First E, we look to pastoral staff and the Elder Council for our spiritual and organizational leadership.  The men below are laymen that have volunteered to serve in a leadership capacity on the Elder Council, so please get to know them!


Check our Elder's Corner here for updates on what we're doing in the church!

Picture of Dave Crawford

Dave Crawford (Elder Chair)

My wife Amy and I have been at First E for over 25 years, and have four grown children.  I was born in WA but grew up in OR, spending 7 years as a USAF officer before settling in Vancouver.  In the spring of 1977 as a HS student, I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ after hearing the gospel and a personal testimony from someone I admired.  I enjoy serving in both youth and adults ministry, but God has called me to serve primarily with youth ministries.  


Photo of Jon Benson

Jon Benson

Dr. Jon Benson and his wife Marika have been part of the First E family for about 25 years.  They have two grown daughters.  Jon is a licensed psychologist with a practice in OR, and Marika is a dental hygienist.  They enjoy hiking, biking and traveling. 


Picture of Craig Bertsch

Craig Bertsch

My family and I have been attending First E since 1982. We have 3 children attending who are all grown and married.  Altogether  we have 6 children and 9 grandkids.  My wife Sally is the librarian here at First E and I'm a District Manager for CARTOYS. Sally and I both accepted the Lord in 1980 and are continuing to grow in our Christian walk. We look forward to great things happening here at First E!


Photo of Jim Christianson

Jim Christianson

Jim and Kathy have been active in both home and private christian education in Vancouver for many years. They have 3 adult children, one of whom is on staff with Hosanna Christian School.  They have been part of the the First E family for over 25 years. 


Picture of Chris Sandstrom

Chris Sandstrom

I grew up attending what is now First Evangelical Church.  My parents were instrumental in building the present structure and were active in ministry.  Rena and I began attending, as a couple, in the fall of 1970, after moving back to Vancouver from Washougal where I was teaching.  We have been active mainly in the music ministry, but through the years have been part of youth and college ministries and served as small group leaders.  Our daughters grew up in the church and learned how to minister to others here. Now, our grandchildren are growing up in the church, so we have strong reasons to see First E as our home and the place we have been placed to serve.


Photo of Craig Schmidt

Craig Schmidt

It’s a great honor, responsibility, and very humbling to know that I’m serving this church family on this coucil.  My wife Clare and I have had an active role in this church body. Clare has served in the Celebrate Recovery ministry for over 10 years and in short-term Missions and AWANA for the last couple.

Over the years I’ve served in or led drama, nursery, evangelism outreach, political outreach, men’s retreats, short-term missions, and am currently serving as Head Usher and in Praise Power in Prayer.

Matthew 5:16: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.


Picture of Kevin Staples

Kevin Staples

My wife Pam and I both grew up in Vancouver.  I became a Christian in 1985. We have three adult sons and 8 grandkids. We are extremely fortunate that all our kids and grandkids live within 5 minutes of us. Pam taught kindergarten at Kingsway Christian school for many years. We started attending First Evangelical in about 1989. I taught many adult Bible study classes over the years and look forward to serving for many more years.