Professor Jim Westgate Assumes Role as Interim Pastor at Northwest Church

MB Seminary professor and Fresno Leadership Foundation Founder Jim Westgate is appointed as interim pastor for Northwest Church.

The search for an interim pastor at Northwest Church to continue the dream of longtime pastor, Bufe Karraker has been completed. Jim Westgate was appointed as the interim pastor last week while the church board looks to permanently fill the pulpit and pastoral role of one of the most visible leaders in this community, Bufe Karraker. Bufe passed away recently from ongoing complications resulting from congestive heart failure. On Sunday, Jim Westgate was introduced to the congregation by Deacon Harold Penner. His message was on transitions and their benefits. He will begin this assignment on April 1 and continue until January 2002.

"No one can adequately take the place of Bufe," Pastor Westgate states. "I am both humbled and honored to be a part of a transition team of dedicated church and community members who have the same vision Bufe had for Northwest church and this community." "We all loved Bufe, but we all also recognize he never wanted Northwest to be 'the church of Bufe' but rather 'the church Christ built and Bufe served.'"

Pastor Westgate brings to the Northwest Church leadership team a wide variety of skills and community connections. He and his wife are well known in the church. "My wife and family are my most important personal assets. I would not do this without my wife's loving support. I have had a heart transplant recently and am aware of my own limits."

Pastor Westgate has served as Director of the Fresno Leadership Foundation, is an Associate Professor of Practical Theology at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, and is also a longtime member of Northwest Church. "I have had a chance to measure the pulse of the community and examine the need for effective leaders to continue the vision Bufe instilled in the Northwest community. I am honored to be a player in equipping this generation to be effective church and community leaders." "Bufe was a great model and mentor to leaders. Bufe never quit! And if he were alive today he would tell his members to never quit." Pastor Westgate has no illusions about the task ahead of him. "Transitions can be a challenge but they also can be transforming." Pastor Westgate was asked to be the Preaching Pastor which includes preaching and pastoral care.

Pastor Westgate along with Gordon Donoho is leading a group from Northwest Church on the "Journeys of Paul" in Turkey and Greece for three weeks He will be returning to assume this position in April.

Contact Bruce Kinabrew for interviews: Director of Public Relations MB Seminary 251-8628 or 444-1188pg

Posted: March 06, 2001