D.J. Criner, answered the call for Pastor over the congregation at Saint Rest Baptist Church in June 2013. Through his obedience to God in leading and teaching the congregation with strong emphasis on college ministry, education, witnessing and evangelism, the Church is being added to greatly!
Pastor D.J. Criner, graduated from the Franklin High School in Stockton, CA with honors and accepted a full ride scholarship to CSU Fresno, while there, he majored in Sociology. He then continued his education at Fresno Pacific University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership.
Pastor D.J. Criner, accepted the call to preach the gospel at the tender young age of 10 years old, at Greater Faith Baptist Church in Stockton, California, under the leadership of Dr. Joseph L. Slade. For 17 years, he spread the gospel to all, with a special focus on children, youth & young adults while serving as children and youth pastor at Greater Faith in Stockton and then at Saint Rest Baptist Church in Fresno under the leadership of Dr. Chester Riggins and concluding his youth and young adult pastorate under Rev. Shane B. Scott in 2011.
Pastor D.J. Criner is highly regarded as one of this country’s jewels in preaching and teaching the Word of God. He has a unique ability to break the text down with simplicity so that the smallest babe in Christ could understand the text. With stories and examples, he paints a picture of the text with clarity and understanding. He has been affectionately labeled “the High School and College Pastor”. One who can relate to all ages no matter what their back ground. He is charismatic and humble. His smile warms even the hardest heart. More than anything else, he is a man after God’s heart.
Pastor D.J. Criner is a teacher. He has taught/lectured at: CSU Fresno, Fresno Pacific University, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, New Life Clubs, Baccalaureate ceremonies, and several high schools throughout Fresno. He has initiated and lead programs at Kirk, Edison Bethune and King Elementary Schools, while mentoring and encouraging students at Gaston Middle School, Central and Edison High Schools.
Pastor D.J. Criner is also a leader in the community. He serves as chairman of the Faith In Fresno board, which advocates for social justice in Fresno, as a federation under PICO. He also serves as campus pastor for Fresno Pacific University North Campus working under university campus pastor Dr. Angelus Wilson. He has worked with Fresno Unified Superintendent Mike Hansen in achieving academic success among students in West Fresno. He serves a member of Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s Task Force. Has worked with Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer on race relations regarding police and civilian interactions. He has also taught seminars with the police department on cultural bias for new and current officers. He has led marches on numerous issues including but not limited to; gun violence, blighted and board homes, slumlords, police and community relations, and air quality in West Fresno. In August 2014, he traveled to Ferguson, Missouri to stand with 100 clergy in light of the Mike Brown shooting, where he spoke with youth and community members regarding a just response to epidemic call racism. He has since traveled to Memphis, TN, Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA during the visit of the Pope to address the black church’s response in time of social injustice. He has set on panels, held meetings and has become one of Fresno’s leading agents for social justice through the word God. He highlights Psalm 11:3 as his driving point; “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”
Pastor David Criner is married to his best friend and confidant, the lovely Jessica Lauren. Lady “J” is an amazing choir director and serves as a social worker for a faith based foster care agency. Pastor DJ and Lady J are the proud parents of three beautiful girls, Faith Mia and Jesselle Emily, and Riley Joyce who are being raised and trained according to the Word of God.