Senior Pastors

Wendell and Lynda Vinson have been the senior pastors of Canyon Hills Assembly of God for over 40 years. The passion of their hearts is to bring a living Jesus to a dying world. Wendell is known for his relevant Bible teaching, helping others develop a love for God’s Word, and for his life call to raise up leaders for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.


During the last four decades, Canyon Hills has grown from a small group of people meeting in Northeast Bakersfield to one of the leading churches in Southern California. Canyon Hills is a multi-site church with six campuses in California from the Sierras to the Central Coast.


Simple obedience to God’s Word is what inspires the many ministries of Canyon Hills. Following Jesus by doing what He did has led the Canyon Hills congregation to move beyond the walls of the church to care for the hurting and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ from the neighborhood to the nations.


As a pastor in the same city for four decades, Wendell has made it his goal to work with other pastors in his community to impact the culture of their city. This has resulted in hundreds of pastors and leaders gathering regularly for prayer and effectively working together on strategies for both evangelism and city transformation. To this end, in January of 2015, God gave Canyon Hills a 165,000 square foot commercial shopping center in the heart of their city. This became a catalyst for the lauch of CityServe which Wendell cofounded to help empower and resource local churches through the power of collaboration. CityServe is serving local churches from our neighborhood to the nations.  


Wendell has invested much of his life into raising up the next generation of leaders. The priority placed on this is evident in the increase of children and their families being reached with the addition of Fort Faith:an award-winning Children’s Ministry Center, a vibrant young adult ministry, and a fully accredited school of ministry for students pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies, Missions or Pastoral Leadership.


Over these forty years, Wendell and Lynda have led the Canyon Hills congregation through major relocations and numerous building programs. The design and development of the nearly 50 acre Canyon Hills church campus, Champions Club: a state of the art center designed specifically to serve children with special needs, Florence Gardens Senior Living Community and Frazier Woods Conference Center as well as six additional campuses, has been driven by the priority of creating environments that invite and include the unchurched and revitalizing neighborhood churches to proclaim the Gospel.


Wendell and Lynda serve on numerous local and national boards for Christian ministries striving to engage the faith community. Wendell currently serves or has served as a member of the board of trustees for Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA, We Care America in Washington, D.C., Covenant Foundation of California, Convoy of Hope Springfield, MO, Covenant Community Services Kern County, Kern Leadership Alliance, Bless Israel, Washington, D.C., and Mission One Eleven. He has developed a culture at Canyon Hills that values moving beyond the walls of the church to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the neighborhood to the nations.


Several years ago, the Lord began to develop in his heart a fresh model for missions; CityServe. The calling was clear – to empower local churches from the neighborhood to the nations. Missions isn’t just local outreach or global evangelism. It’s never either/or. It’s always both/and. This is the fulfillment of the Great Commission – to be a witness in Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. Wendell is the CoFounder of CityServe International, a church empowerment network that has already resourced churches with over 1.2 billion dollars worth of gifts-in-kind to lift their communities, founded a National Grant Center to help churches have greater impact in their neighborhoods, and developed a compassion template for churches to discover new ways to reach those who are hurting in their neighborhoods and around the world.


Wendell and his wife Lynda have two adult children, Jenifer and her husband Kris and Jeremy and his wife Sarah, who serve as an integral part of the ministry team at Canyon Hills.




Steve Vinson

Executive Pastor

Steve is responsible for business operations at Canyon Hills including it's campuses and CityServe Network. He oversees Human Resources, Finance & Development, and Pastoral Care. Steve and his wife, Renee, have four children, two sons-in-law, and three grandsons.

Jen Watts

Executive Pastor of Ministries

Jen is responsible for the team and cultural development at Canyon Hills and helps shape the overall direction and leadership of the church. She is a passionate advocate for foster care & adoption. Jen and her husband, Kris, have two children. 


Karl Hargestam

Executive Director of CityServe

Karl leads the CityServe Network team and manages all operations and personnel. His visionary leadership guides the network and leadership team in growth and strategic partnerships. Karl and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.