David and his wife Susan live in Fremont, California with their three children, Anna, Abraham, and Lois.
Why did you originally choose to attend WSC?
During my freshman year in college I attended a bible study taught by a student from Westminster. As I wrestled with the doctrines of grace for the first time in that bible study, I found a level of comfort in Christ that I had never known before that grew into a reverent desire to please Him more. When I began to sense of call into the ministry of word and sacrament, Westminster was the clear choice for me.
What were the most significant things that you learned/gained during your time at WSC?
I learned how to read, interpret, preach, and above all else trust and cherish the gospel of Christ taught in all the Scriptures and I gained friendships with some awesome people who have been a huge source of encouragement to me through the years.
What are your present endeavors and/or future plans?
I am in my first year as the pastor of New Life Mission Church in Fremont, California, a suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area. We are a mission work of the Presbyterian Church in America. My immediate goals are to help New Life become particularized and become a resource for church planting like-minded congregations in the area. In the long term, I hope to be preaching and shepherding God’s flock and proclaiming good news to seekers and skeptics in the Bay Area for a long time.
How did your education at WSC equip/prepare you for your present and/or future roles and responsibilities?
I am indebted to the faculty at Westminster for teaching me how to rightly divide God’s word, to relentlessly preach Christ to both believers and non-believers, and to understand the church’s spiritual mission in the world.
How has your relationship with the faculty developed/continued in the years since you graduated from WSC?
When I was at Westminster I always felt welcome to drop by and chat with my professors. I really saw them all as mentors who deeply cared for me. Now that I am in the trenches I am so grateful to feel like I can still bother them with my questions and ask them for prayer. I’ve also had several faculty travel up to speak to my congregation over the years and I intend on continuing to do so again in the future.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time at WSC?
I’m surprised to say that my favorite memories are of Summer Greek, one of the most difficult classes I ever took at Westminster. There were many times I thought I was either going to fail or die from exhaustion that summer. What kept me going was Dr. Baugh’s passion for Scripture. Every now and then, in the middle of translating a verse, Dr. Baugh would start expositing it with this grin on his face. I felt in those moments like God’s word was coming alive inside me. When I finally began translating verses from the Greek New Testament I often felt like I was reading the Bible for the first time.
What advice would you give to prospective students considering graduate theological education?
Before leaving for seminary a good friend gave me B.B. Warfield’s The Religious Life of Theological Students. In it Warfield gives this sage advice,
“Before and above being learned, a minister must be godly. Nothing could be more fatal, however, than to set these two things over against one another.”
Seminary is really a place unlike any other. You will have time to consider just about any question you ever had about the Bible and you will be stretched to consider questions you never thought to ask. As you learn about your faith it can and should also be a sweet time of growth in your faith. WSC provides a vibrant community of faith led by faculty who are both learned and godly. I would recommend the school to anyone considering graduate theological education.