Dave Watermulder is Presbyterian minister seeking to bridge a life of faith with a love for the world. As a “preacher’s kid”, he saw the importance of a strong church community, especially in times of trouble. He grew up seeing the church as a place that could make a real and meaningful difference in people’s lives. While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the West African nation of Cabo Verde, Dave experienced a call to ministry that would bring together his Christian faith with a deep passion for connecting with people across cultures and backgrounds.
With an affinity for meeting new people and making connections, Dave’s pastoral ministry has always gravitated toward helping the church to intentionally welcome and connect with those who feel on the outside.
As a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, Dave focused on “missional theology” (when it was still considered “cool”) and was influenced especially by the writing of Darrell Guder, Lesslie Newbigin, David Bosch and John MacKay. While in Seminary, Dave had the chance to live and serve for a summer in Ghana, and it was there that he again experienced the hospitality and love that the global church offers.
When he became sick and needed help re-arranging his flights home, a Ghanaian pastor friend stepped in. Although there was an airline strike going on and very few flights were able to leave, this pastor made sure that Dave would be able to get home in one piece. It was this experience of being cared for while far away from home and in a strange land that again helped to shape Dave’s conviction that the church in the US could do the same among those who come to this country.
After serving in a small, multicultural, urban congregation in Providence, Rhode Island that included people from 20 different nations, Dave now serves a church in Silicon Valley. The animating thrust of his ministry is to see people’s faith come alive and the church to be thriving, all for the sake of the world. Dave has been accused of focusing on welcoming people from other countries and cultures as if it were a gospel imperative. And that accusation is correct!
Dave is married to Lisa and they have two kids at home, Abby and Theo. They also have one child in heaven whose name is Mateo. Dave is an avid traveler, having been to 30 countries and he hopes to experience many more. He also loves to read and to play ultimate Frisbee. His one party trick is being able to walk on his hands, which delights little children, but is harder to do, the older he gets!
Being a part of the DMin program in Leadership and Global Perspectives with Portland Seminary has been a perfect fit for Dave. The chance to experience a larger, more global outlook, especially for church and ministry leaders is so important. As the world becomes smaller, and arrives steadily into the United States (in particular), the experiences and cultural competencies that are gained in this DMin program are invaluable.