Dr Gale Watkins is the Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church.  He leads us in our walk with Christ and provides the pastoral care for every person at Westminster.  His Princeton Seminary background allows for a deep and rich understanding of the bible as it relates to modern day use.  As an avid marathon runner, including twice in the Boston Marathon, Gale was recently presented with Westminster's own medal for completing 20 years of service  with this church.

Dear friends,

For the past few months, I have been making the transition from being a full-time pastor of a congregation to being a three-quarter-time pastor of a congregation. This has been a significant change for me. For instance, I have had to streamline my weekly preparation process for upcoming Sundays. However, I am not aware of any major crises that have taken place because I am not available in the same way.

A couple of recent Christianity Today online articles have described bivocational ministry as "the new normal." Ed Stetzer says that more than a third of American pastors now have second jobs. Karl Vaters reports that the number of churches that have a full-time pastor has decreased from 71.4% in 2010 to 62.2% in 2015. This means that Westminster is not alone in making the sort of change we have made.

I have been challenged by my new role as an instructional assistant at Grand Canyon University. I have worked alongside gifted teachers who have been serving the students there for more than five years, and have learned from them. Each Tuesday and Thursday, I have spent the bulk of the day on campus. I have had good interactions with some of the 180 students who were in the two classes that I staffed. I calculate that I have graded some 480 quizzes and exams, and have read and commented on 425 papers!

I see this new opportunity as more than a part-time job to make ends meet. It is a different form of pastoral ministry, among young adults who are making decisions that will shape the direction of their lives. Our class, "Christian Worldview 101," required for students in every major, provides them with an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I will continue this balancing act for the spring semester. Classes will begin on Monday, January 8. My schedule will change, so that I will be on the Grand Canyon campus for shorter periods, but this time for classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Remember that I am always reachable by cell phone, and will respond to messages in a timely way.

I deeply appreciate the interest that the people of Westminster have shown in this new endeavor. I ask that you would pray for the Lord to use me, and the Christian Worldview class, to help students to grow in their understanding of and responsiveness to the truth.

 

God’s blessings on you.

Gale Watkins, Pastor