The Rev. James W. Crelin, 3rd
Pastor & Head of Staff

Find out more about Pastor Jim.

A message from Pastor Jim.

General Job Description

In general Pastor Jim’s primary functions are to provide preaching and teaching from and about God’s Word, and to offer administrative leadership to the Church. There is a myriad of responsibilities associated with this position which makes each day different from the previous day. But no matter which day it is, Pastor Jim is given direction by the Holy Spirit to fulfil the expectations associated with his position. Just a few of his pastoral responsibilities are praying with and for the congregation, administering the sacraments, working with the mission committee and spiritual life and growth, as well as, 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 local 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.

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 to transform lives. 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.

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.

Relevant Work Experience/Training

Pastor Jim entered Grove City College in Pennsylvania following his high school years in Boardman, 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 Hamilton, 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 previous presbyteries, provided valuable experiences for assuming his position at Desert Palms.

Off-job Interests

When time permits, Pastor Jim enjoys hiking several of the trails in the White Tank Regional Park with his yellow lab. Recently he has enjoyed games of pickle ball and racquetball with church members and friends. Of course, 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.

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 have just celebrated  their 31st year of marriage. They have two charming sons: Michael, a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who is presently working for Rosie (an app. company which makes it possible to order groceries online); and Benjamin who graduated from Jim and Cathy's alma mater, Grove City College.  Benjamin is presently a second year student at Gordon-Conwell Seminary and under care as an inquirer of Grand Canyon Presbytery.

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.

Last Published: July 13, 2020 1:23 PM
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