Stuff About Me

TP-1_Doug 2017_11 photoJUST THE BASICS

I began serving in my current call as Lead Pastor/ Senior Pastor at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Santa Ana, California in November 2006. Previously I had served as Senior Pastor/ Head of Staff at Colonial Presbyterian Church, Kansas City, Missouri and prior to that at First Presbyterian Church, Fresno, California, at First Presbyterian Church, Fairfield, Connecticut, and as Associate Pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

In addition to serving as an ordained Presbyterian pastor since 1978, I speak on occasion for men’s retreats, couples’ retreats, family camps, as well as all-church and leadership conferences.

I’ve authored six books:

SoulShaping: Taking Care of Your Spiritual Life, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996.

What About Heaven and Hell? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2000.

What About Spiritual Warfare? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2000.

What About Unanswered Prayer? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2000.

Questions God Asks, Questions Satan Asks, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.

Scared to Life: Awakening the Courage of Faith in An Age of Fear, Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1994.

I developed and wrote the notes for The Promise Bible (2000), for The Promise New Testament (2000), for TouchPoint Bible Promises (2000), and for TouchPoints for Leaders (2004), all with Tyndale House Publishers.

I have also written articles for Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, and Moody Monthly.

I also coach and mentor leaders in church and business. I am a Certified Navigator for Church Unique and also for God Dreams, both developed by Will Mancini and Auxano, to help churches and other organizations define and clarify their identity and direction.

I received my Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. I earned my Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, graduating summa cum laude, as valedictorian of the seminary. I graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

My wife, Sarah, and I have four adult children, two of whom are married. We have three grandchildren.

My greatest joy as a pastor is bringing God’s Word to life to change people’s lives.



I came to know Jesus in a personal way when I was in the 9th grade, at a preaching mission (a weekend retreat, of sorts) at my church, College Hill Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. The senior pastor, Jerry Kirk, had just begun with that congregation a few months earlier. Bruce Thielemann—an amazing preacher!—was the guest speaker. A number of students came to Christ that weekend, and we eventually founded Young Life of Cincinnati. I got involved immediately, going to Bible studies, learning guitar and leading singing for youth gatherings. We founded “The Back Door Coffee House” right next to the church, where I plunged into sharing my faith through music and conversation.

I was blessed with great mentors at College Hill Presbyterian: Dr. Jerry Kirk, Gil Hopkins, R. C. Sproul, Ron Rand, Gary Sweeten and Harry Causey. I will share some stories about them in my posts.

I was actually surprised by my call to ministry. I was accepted into the Broadcasting program (Radio, TV, media) at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati. When my Young Life leader, Gil Hopkins, asked me why I wanted to take that major, I said, “Because I want to be a Christian in the media.” Gil replied, “Doug, that’s going in the back door. I think you’re called to be a pastor. You’re gifted for full-time service.”

I was rattled by that. So I made appointments with Jerry Kirk and with R. C. Sproul (R. C. was associate pastor at the time, before he started the Ligonier Study Center and Ligonier Ministries). Both concurred that they saw me being called to pastoral ministry. After a month of prayer and soul searching, I confirmed God’s call and changed my plans to major in English at Miami University, Oxford Ohio.

I’ve always had a desire to engage in a broader communication ministry beyond the local congregation. In additional to my book publications, I was an active partner in writing and presenting seminars with David Mains and “The Chapel of the Air” radio ministry for nearly 10 years. I wrote Scared to Life: Awakening the Courage of Faith in An Age of Fear (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1994), their feature book for the 1995 50 Day Spiritual Adventure. I also wrote the primary messages for We Will Glorify, a series on worship developed with Twila Paris, and an Advent and Christmas series called From Humbug to Hallelujah: What Scrooge has to teach us about Christmas.

My passion is defining and re-framing biblical truth and theology for our current culture. The church has too often been known for what we are against, instead of what we are for. And God’s people have often failed to show the grace and truth (John 1:14) that are essential characteristics of Jesus and his gospel. Yet I believe the church-declaring-and-living-out-the-gospel is the only hope for the world and for individuals. So we need to be clear about what we believe. Definitions matter. One of the most subtle challenges to the integrity of the Christian faith is in people using the same words with very different dictionaries. I have found over and over again that clarification, not accommodation, releases God’s power in hearts and minds. And we need to commit ourselves to applying God’s Word to our lives. As I explore the grace and truth of the gospel and “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, RSV), I hope you will find God’s Word coming to life to change your life.