Current Status: Alumni
Graduation Year: 2015
Born in Kinsgston, Jamaica, to Jamaican father and English mother, Steve Blake (MA ’15) immigrated to the United States to attend college. His goal was to climb the corporate ladder in the banking industry. Although successful, Steve yearned for deeper meaning in his career, and began to find it volunteering at a local church. As he discovered ministry was his calling, Steve followed God into a church leadership role.
Following his transition into ministry, Blake desired to continue his education and pursue a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry and Leadership at Hope. “The online classes, financial aid, and the good things I’d heard from other alumni led me to Hope”, said Steve of his decision to attend HIU. Through his graduate education at HIU, God was preparing him for the next chapter in his life, one that would take Steve and his family across the nation.
After serving as an associate pastor at a church in Maryland for ten years, Steve and his wife Tori moved to Texas. “There was something about Austin; it just felt like home, all the way down to the scents -- not all of them good, but familiar in some way”, Blake recalls of their move to Austin.
What began as a desire to move closer to family became a life-changing decision.
Stemming from his own experiences, and a prompting from a church planting group, Steve and Tori ventured into the church planting field and started Catalyst of Austin. His vision was to bring different cultures together to worship as a family, embrace God, and engage the community.
While in the process of launching the new church, Blake completed his Master’s Degree at HIU. He recalls that the ministry pragmatics were a huge value of his education, as well as the professional relationships he developed with classmates.
Catalyst of Austin is about 6 months old now and continues to attract new followers with its unique relational experience. Instead of sitting in a rows, members sit in small groups while listening to Sunday’s message. Pastor Steve and Tori also host bible studies in their home while their children, Saylen (8) and P.K. (5) entertain the other children of the study group’s families upstairs. Pastor Steve has also performed multiple baptisms in the Colorado River under the Montopolis Bridge. Although Austin’s pool of church goers is said to be smaller than that of other large Texan cities, Catalyst of Austin has grown to represent 15 nationalities. Some of the ethnicities include African-America, Chinese, Filipino, German, and Hawaiian.
Moments of disappointment and financial hardships have not deterred the Blakes. Their passion to establish to a Kingdom church keeps their vision alive. Steve and Tori -- and their leadership team -- continue to work hard to grow their church and reach the diverse group of people in their community in their new home of Austin, Texas.