The Rev. James W. Crelin, 3rd, Head of Staff
REV. JAMES W. CRELIN, 3rd
Desert Palms Pastor and Head of Staff
I. GENERAL JOB DESCRIPTION: The title of Pastor Jim's position describes in a brief, general way his primary job functions: to provide the major preaching and teaching ministry, and to give administrative leadership to the Church. There is a myriad of responsibilities associated with these functions that give Pastor Jim direction for fulfilling the expectations associated with his position. Just a few of his pastoral responsibilities are preaching and teaching the Word, praying with and for the congregation, administering the sacraments, and being involved in pastoral care for members of the church and the community. His administrative responsibilities include serving as moderator of the session and congregation; working with staff members, elders and deacons and their committees; and encouraging broad participation in church decision-making, effective planning, and communication. In addition to these and other job-related responsibilities, Pastor Jim is involved on the Grand Canyon Presbytery level serving on Commissions and dealing with financial aspects of the Presbytery on the Resources Committee.
II. MOST REWARDING PART OF JOB: Pastor Jim especially appreciates seeing people's lives being transformed by Jesus Christ as new spiritual truths are discovered, and when solutions to problems are found. It is exciting to see so many people willing to serve Jesus Christ in a wide variety of ways and places, and use their talents and resources. Another rewarding aspect of his job is the many opportunities he has to interact with people from all walks of life in all sorts of situations, whether it be while sharing a meal, having a casual encounter following a Sunday service, discussing a project with a subcommittee in his office, teaching a Bible class, or offering a prayer at the bedside of an ill person.
III. MOST CHALLENGING PART OF JOB:
The most challenging is preparing sermons that connect worship experiences with real life, and that make a difference in lives. Pastor Jim's motto is, "Make it Practical" so the congregation understands what his message is and what it can mean in their lives, i.e., to make God and the Gospel relevant so they resonate with ways to meet life's challenges and changes. Pastor Jim recognizes the value of surrounding himself with persons in staff and leadership positions who may have different perspectives, rather than working only with persons who think the same as he does. This can lead to challenges, yet is a necessity for optimum functioning. Likewise, encouragement is needed for others to be open to considering optional choices in the decision-making process, and to work cooperatively to set and fulfill goals and objectives.
IV. RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE/TRAINING: Pastor Jim entered Grove City College in Pennsylvania following his high school years in Youngstown, Ohio. Initially his intentions were to pursue a degree in accounting and to explore radio broadcasting. Instead, he graduated with a degree in religion. Having felt a call to ministry from God, he entered Gordon-Conwell Seminary in South Hampton, Massachusetts, graduated four years later with a M.Div. degree, and was ordained in 1988. Prior to coming to Desert Palms in October, 2011, he answered three other calls, each in a varied setting. He served as a solo pastor in Milesburg, Pennsylvania (6 years); as an associate pastor in Seminole, Florida (6 years), and as a Senior Pastor/Head of Staff in Lincoln, Nebraska (11 years). His education, along with opportunities to work with older adults in two presbyteries, provided valuable experiences for assuming his position at Desert Palms.
V. OFF-JOB INTERESTS: When time permits, Pastor Jim enjoys hiking several of the trails in White Tank Regional Park with his two Labrador Retrievers. Too, he appreciates an opportunity just to relax on the back porch of his home in Surprise, savor the serene environment, ponder, read, and perhaps listen to the radio. Having trained and served as an umpire in his earlier years, it's not surprising he likes to attend Spring Training games and attend ballgames at Chase Field when his schedule allows it.
VI. PERSONAL NOTES: Pastor Jim was born in Orange, New Jersey. His wife, Cathy, is originally from Pennsylvania. He and Cathy were married while he was in Seminary and now are nearing the celebration of their 27th year of marriage. They have two charming sons, both currently in college. Michael attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in business and finance; Benjamin attends Pastor Jim and Cathy's alma mater, Grove City College, currently serving as the sophomore class president, and is involved in debating. Benjamin has gained enthusiasm for playing racquetball, as Pastor Jim did in his undergraduate years at Grove City College. This pleases Pastor Jim since he now has the opportunity to renew his racquetball interest and skills whenever Benjamin is home!
Pastor Jim is appreciated for his meaningful and challenging sermons; his interpersonal skills; and his organized, energetic, enthusiastic and creative leadership style. We feel blessed that he and Cathy have become an integral part of the Desert Palms Church family.