Don is a man of priorities and passion: first is Jesus, then his wife and family, and then the church. He enjoys the outdoors, long walks, swimming and body surfing, reading good books, doing a daily Bible reading with his wife, and when the opportunity arises, to spend time with his kids and grand children.


Don's passion in ministry is to teach the Word of God with clarity and accuracy, focusing on the practical application of Scripture. To grow strong believers, filled with the Holy Spirit and the Word, being devoted to prayer and fellowship, learning how to serve the Lord is what takes up most of his time. In addition, there isn't much that beats being able to share the gospel with a variety of people, both in and out of the church. Don's specialty is helping the Common Man to excel in his walk, to encourage ordinary Christians to be extraordinary.


Don's roots go back to a dramatic conversion he had at age 18, and an amazing and unexpected life transformation since that time. His call into full time ministry became clear early on, and over 10 years of education and a variety of ministry experiences, he and his wife ended up serving the Lord with Campus Crusade for Christ, now called, CRU.


From there they started a church in San Diego and pastored it for 10 years, then he pastored in Northern Cal for 3 1/2 years, then returned to San Diego where he eventually became the pastor of The River Church in 2003.



Fritz Doran

Elder / Worship Pastor / Board

Karlene Sarrisin


Roxanne Smith


Reneé Carson

Deaconess / Children's Ministry Director


Don Carson

Lead Pastor


Fritz Doran 

Phil & Kristina Duncan

Children's Ministry / Communion Ministry

Wayne Sheets

Children's Ministry Administrator

Louie Montoya

Assistant to the Pastor