Royce Ruiz was born and raised in Hollister, California where he lived his whole pre-college life. Church was not a part of his family life until he first encountered Jesus’ good news at the age of twelve at a local youth rally. Royce decided to go to that youth rally for the fun and games, but the Gospel is what called to him. Upon hearing the Gospel for the first time, he responded in repentant faith, and his life was forever changed. After following the Lord in baptism, Royce continued to live for Christ through his high school years, though there were times he tried his hardest to turn away from God. God was always faithful to call him back to Himself. It was just after high school that he first felt God’s call to ministry and surrendered to that call at a summer camp just before heading off to college.
Coming to the faith was certainly the most significant event that occurred at that youth rally for Royce, but wasn’t the only significant event. That day he also met his future wife, Deanna. While it wasn’t love at first sight, the two eventually developed a friendship that developed into something more through the college years, eventually leading to marriage in 2007. Today, they are happily married and each other’s best friends. They have two children, Jake, born 2010, and Adelynn, born 2016.
Royce and Deanna both attended a Christian college on the East coast in preparation for ministry. Royce earned a degree in Pastoral Studies while Deanna earned a degree in Biblical Counseling. During this time in the southern United States, Royce became strongly burdened to minister in his home state where he saw a great need for the Gospel. From there, Royce accepted a call to serve as Assistant Pastor at his home church in Hollister where he stayed for about three years before moving to pursue further ministry training at Gateway Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. In September of 2016, Royce was called to be the new Lead Pastor of Hillview Baptist Church where he hopes to serve faithfully as long as the Lord allows.
Royce continues his studies and hopes to be a lifelong learner. He greatly values the local church, expositional preaching, and living out the great commission. Royce plans to lead Hillview Baptist Church to be a loving, Gospel-centered community that is faithful in raising disciples for Christ. He has a strong burden to raise up leaders in the church and see them flourish in ministry. He also loves to have fun, drink good coffee, and follow local sports (especially Oakland Athletics baseball). He loves to spend time with his family, disciple his children, and go out with his wife.
Matthew Ellis was born at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, where he lived for under a year as his father was in the active duty Air Force. After moving around 2 other times, his family settled in Vancouver, WA. Matthew lived here from preschool until 12th grade. Matthew first put his trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior & Lord when he was 4-5 years old. While on a church youth group mission trip, when he was 16-years-old, God called Matthew into vocational ministry and Matthew began to follow God’s lead down this path.
For college, Matthew joined the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Portland where he majored in sociology and received a commission into the Air Force Reserves as a chaplain. Upon graduation, Matthew moved back to California to attend Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS), wherein he earned a Masters in Divinity to use in ministry, however God directed.
While at GGBTS Matthew served as an associate pastor at Balboa Baptist Church (San Francisco, CA). In 2008 Matthew took on a job as a secondary campus Bible Teacher at Fremont Christian School (Fremont, CA). Moving into the East Bay, Matthew resigned from his position at Balboa Baptist Church and began to attend Hillview Baptist Church in February of 2009. In August, he became their associate pastor, serving with and under Pastor Ron Standifer. From January 2012 to September 2014 Matthew served as the interim senior pastor of Hillview Baptist as they sought a new full-time senior pastor. On August 13, 2012, Matthew first met Jamie, whom he pursued to marriage over the next two years.
When Pastor Nick became the new full-time senior pastor at Hillview Baptist, he and Matthew were joyful to see how God brought them together for joint ministry at Hillview Baptist Church! Matthew continues to serve Hillview Baptist as their associate pastor while working full-time as a Bible teacher at Fremont Christian School and while working in the Air Force Reserve as a chaplain at Travis AFB, CA.
Matthew’s greatest desire is to glorify God by equipping His saints for works of service, unity, and maturity (Eph 4:12-13, Col 1:10-12). He enjoys doing this through helping people come to and grow in a personal & daily-practical relationship with Jesus Christ. Pastoring, preaching, teaching, and administration are some of the key gifts that God has given Matthew for use in ministry. Matthew usually spends his leisure time with the people he loves, simply enjoying their company, going on various outdoor adventures, or playing strategic and fun games. A key verse for Matthew’s life is seen below.
Philippians 4:4-8, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”