alumni

Servant Leaders in Action: Ministry & Missions

Urban Ministry at Work

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Stephen Pate (BA ’07, MA ’11) spent the summer before his senior year at Hope International University (HIU) serving as an intern with Tumaini International Ministries in Kenya. He never expected to discover during that time that he wanted to devote himself to pastoral ministry but that’s exactly what happened. “The call was more intense than it had ever been before,” he said.

With that goal in his sights, Pate threw himself into his studies and searched for the right job. Upon graduation, he was connected to a youth ministry position at Downey First Christian Church through Dr. Joseph Grana, Dean of Pacific Christian College of Ministry & Biblical Studies at HIU. Dr. Grana, who was a part of the hiring process at the church, supported Pate throughout his interviews and was thrilled when he was eventually hired. Pate is currently working at the church as the Pastor of Student Ministries where he enjoys doing urban ministry with both the rich and the poor.

“Every week I have the incredible opportunity to work with middle school and high school students,” he said. “After four years, I can honestly say there is never a dull moment!” Pate routinely pushes his students to look for ways they can share, practice, and emulate God’s love in schools and neighborhoods. “My students are part of a generation that is passionate and ready to bring change to their world,” he said. “I feel blessed to share the message of Jesus with our students, challenging them to live in genuine community with one another.”

Not only was Pate’s calling toward ministry solidified while he was attending HIU, but he also got to see himself mature into a man who is confident both in God’s love and in His plan. “The combination of Biblical classes and practical ministry courses developed me as a leader, preacher and follower of Christ,” he said. “I experienced the most significant amount of growth as a person during my time at Hope.” In addition, Pate had the opportunity to build relationships with professors, like Dr. Grana, and make lifelong friends. In fact, one of those friends arranged for Pate to have his first date with his future wife, Marissa (BA ’08), as part of Hope’s annual Get Your Roommate A Date (GYRAD) event. The blend of extracurricular activities, like GYRAD, the amazing community at HIU, and the incredible education have secured Pate’s belief that HIU is a wonderful fit for anyone.

Hope did not teach me what to think; rather, Hope taught me how to think,” he said. “The educational experience happened in the classroom, on site at my internship, and also through the remarkable community that exists at Hope. This experience of attending Hope has been one of the highlights of my life.” Pate went on to say that attending a smaller university afforded him so many opportunities and opened the door to a multitude of unique experiences that he believes he would have missed out on at a larger school.

“If you're looking for a Christian school with high academic standards and a community that you can thrive in, Hope is the place for you. You will fall in love with the faculty and staff and make memories living on a Christian campus,” he said. “If you want to be known by professors and students, choose Hope. I promise it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!”