Photo Courtesy of Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University Church has finished the search for a new minister.
The Church announced Feb. 5 that they chose Al Sturgeon, dean of Graduate Programs at Pepperdine School of Law, for the job.
Sturgeon will shift from a position at the law school to serve as minister.
Regarding the transition, Sturgeon said that the time is right. “I have great love for the law school, I know that there are good people there, that they will hire great people, that will fulfill the job I was privileged to hold, but it feels like the time is right to focus on the needs of the church,” he said.
The Church had been without a permanent minister since May of last year following the resignation of the previous minister Rich Little. To find a new minister, the church organized a search committee comprised of students Jake Bigon and Gillian Chong, elders Jim Gash and Gary Selby, ministers Linda Truschke and Dusty Breeding, and church members Regan Schaffer and Janet Davis.
Detailing the search process, Breeding, a member of the search committee, recalled that the Church made a decision to begin looking for a new minister since fall of last year. They spread news of the job position through various Pepperdine outlets and social media. Applications were accepted until January.
The search committee reviewed a multitude of applications and followed up with interviews. The committee concluded the search process and decided to nominate Sturgeon to be approved by the elders of the church. On Jan. 29, the committee announced that the elders of the church approved the nomination, pending a one-week church congregation period to receive feedback.
This Sunday the Church formally offered Sturgeon the position of preacher, after the one-week period of feedback from the congregation.
“I am super excited to have Al serve, I’ve known Al for seven years, he has been a strategic thinker for our church community even when he was only a member, Breeding said. “He is well known for his intentionality, administration capabilities, depth of biblical knowledge and acumen, he is known for being a really good guy, very much respected by his peers.”
Breeding said he believes this shows Sturgeon’s dedication to the church and laments how “bummed” out everyone at the School of Law must be to see Sturgeon leave his position there.
Sturgeon said he is excited to be able to dedicate his full attention to the needs of the different demographics of the church.
“People in the congregation are very busy, many work at Pepperdine, and I’m hoping to be able to bring someone who can minister to the people of the congregation,” Sturgeon said. “And at the Law School I’ve been in administration, I hope to use my administration background to help the church organize its ministries, take advantage of the great talents of the people of the congregation and minister to the needs of the church.”
One of Sturgeon’s more distinct wishes is to provide clarity regarding the role of the church.
“We are a great church, but in one way it’s hard to be a church in the middle of a university…so many good things are always happening at Pepperdine, sometimes it’s hard to understand what the role of the church is,” Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon said his hope is that the church can model Christian living that follows after Jesus, to the Pepperdine and greater Malibu community.
Gillian Chong, a student member of the University Church and search committee, said she is looking forward to Sturgeon taking his new position. “Al is driven by his desire to serve God, I’m excited to be seeing Al more and he has already began trying to see how he can develop relationship with students,” she said.
Pepperdine students can see Sturgeon preach for the first time as minister Sunday, March 5.
Follow Araceli Crescencio on Twitter: @aratells