After working in politics for a few years, Pastor Gehlken joined the US Air Force. While serving, Pastor Gehlken studied the Persian-Farsi language at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, where he met his wife-to-be, Shannon, who was studying Vietnamese.
The military afforded Pastor Gehlken many wonderful opportunities. As an Intelligence Officer, Pastor Gehlken built and managed a national award-winning Operations Security program; led anti-terrorism operations at a forward Middle Eastern air base after 9/11; and supported national-level intelligence operations. Pastor Gehlken’s military assignments took the Gehlkens to Texas, California, Maryland, and Idaho.
In 2001, God started working in Pastor Gehlken’s heart about surrendering to full-time ministry. In 2005, Pastor Gehlken separated from active duty, and was the security program manager at a utility company before launching a small consulting firm. All the while, he continued formal and practical ministerial training. He earned Bachelor and Master of Divinity degrees while serving in various ministry positions at one of the largest Bible-believing Baptist churches in the Northwest.
The Gehlkens, who married in 1996 are grateful parents of six beautiful children.
In 2009, the Lord led Pastor Gehlken to return to Southern California to plant Central Baptist Church as an independent, Bible-believing church in the heart of Orange County.
Pastor Gehlken has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Politics and Government from the University of Maryland as well as Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Divinity degrees.