Pastor Paul Campbell joins us beginning in July, when Pastor Carol Breimeier leaves to pursue a new challenge in Tucson. Here he talks about his background and ministry.
My early years were in an anti-church, no faith, home, and I hadn’t stepped foot in a church until I met my girlfriend/wife Donna at age 18. Following a Lenten service her pastor asked me what I thought of the service. I said, “not much” and he said “let’s talk about that,” which became the mantra in my ministry. I was baptized on my 19th birthday.
My undergraduate degree is in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska and I began my professional career working for the PBS network in Nebraska. While in school I began to feel the itch to grow deeper in faith and my relentless curiosity led me to work in a church as a layperson, enter seminary, and become an ordained pastor.
I served in a number of capacities in the ELCA including as a parish pastor in congregations in Nebraska, Minnesota and North Dakota. In 1989 while in Fargo, the ELCA Communications Department called me to serve as a communications director, and I had the privilege of writing the distance learning section of the Study on Theological Education.
In 1992 I decided to venture out, and formed my own company to help congregations and church colleges embrace the possibilities and power of the electronic communication revolution. Many of those organizations are now fully into the digital revolution.
In 1999 I was asked to serve as an interim pastor in River Falls and later in Hudson, Wisconsin before being called as the executive director at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree. In my 12 years there I was able to lead the center through several transitions in programming, staff development, and in service to our guest. I retired at the end of 2015.
Beginning in 2017, I served as the interim pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Paradise Valley, helping them create their vision, mission, and strategic plan. I departed when their long-term pastor arrived last October.
Donna and I have been married for 49 years and are blessed with three children and three grandsons, all of whom live in Minnesota.
When Grand Canyon Synod Assistant to the Bishop Mark Holman first talked to me about serving as an Interim Pastor at Esperanza, his first comment was “How would you like to serve a healthy congregation?” My conversations with Michelle Tinsley, Pastor Carol and your church council have confirmed that Pastor Mark’s assessment is accurate.
Having said that, we know that transitions are challenging. You said goodbye to a pastor of 20-plus years and were just digging into the call process when the pandemic hit. Then you learned Pastor Carol was moving on to a fantastic opportunity with her husband. A transition on top of a transition! Together we will navigate these turbulent waters.