Pastor Arturo Lopez felt God calling him to serve after being baptized at the South San Francisco Latin-American SDA Church in 2009. He received his BA in theology from PUC and with nearly 13 years in ministry, Pastor Lopez is deeply grateful to God for orchestrating a plan for him to serve as a pastor.
When and where did you begin your pastoral ministry?
I started full-time ministry at the Central California Conference of SDA in 2014. My first assignment was to serve as the associate/youth pastor for the Fresno Hispanic SDA Church under the leadership of Dr. Antonio Huerta.
What made you decide to accept this position at PUC?
When I was presented with the opportunity to serve as the PUC chaplain, I reflected on my own experience as a student at PUC. My first months at PUC were tough. However, amidst some difficulties, my chaplain recognized my struggles and extended a personal interest in my life. He prayed with me, offered encouragement, and became a valuable mentor during my PUC journey. Through his guidance, I learned the significance of a relational approach to ministry. I am eager to minister to students embarking on new career paths or experiencing significant life changes. This is why I gladly accepted the opportunity to come to PUC.
Where did you previously work, and for how long?
Over the past nine years, my journey of service has unfolded within the Central California Conference of SDA. I began as an associate/youth pastor in Fresno and San Jose. Later, I transitioned into the role of district pastor, serving communities in Bakersfield, Taft, Salinas, and Seaside. Most recently, I held the position of pastor at the Monterey Bay Academy Church while also serving as the school chaplain. Now, I embark on a new chapter as I join the vibrant community of PUC.
What are your spiritual focuses or goals for the college?
As the chaplain, I aim to implement three crucial spiritual goals. First, I seek to inspire students to prioritize love and unity within the PUC community. Building personal connections requires effort with such a vast and diverse campus, but we can all contribute to fostering an environment of genuine care for one another. Second, I aspire to collaborate with the school and church in creating opportunities for students to participate in purposeful discipleship programs and mentorship initiatives. These avenues will give the students guidance, wisdom, and accountability necessary for their spiritual growth. Lastly, I want to instill in students a passion for servant leadership, following the example of Jesus. At PUC, students have a unique opportunity to learn how to serve others through the careers they are pursuing, embracing a mindset of selflessness and compassion.
How do you connect with young people and be a mentor throughout their spiritual lives?
I prioritize being present and accessible. I actively engage with young people by participating in various activities, attending student-led events, and being visible in communal spaces. Doing so lets students know I am available for conversations, ready to answer their questions, and offer guidance when needed. I also strive to create a welcoming environment where young people feel safe to express their spiritual thoughts and questions without judgment. This fosters an atmosphere of trust and openness. Lastly, I take pride in being a supportive listener. I provide a space where young people can freely share their joys, struggles, and doubts. By actively listening and building trust, I encourage them to develop a vibrant prayer life, seeking guidance and strength from God firsthand.
How can the PUC family serve and support you as you minister for us?
There are two essential things I would love my new PUC family to do. First, I ask for patience. I am eager to fully engage in campus life and serve the PUC community. However, to effectively fulfill my role as chaplain, I believe this first year should be dedicated to learning, supporting others, implementing new ideas, and allowing us to become acquainted, ensuring effective collaboration. Secondly, I ask you to pray for me. Feel free to reach out to me If you have spare time during the week to offer a prayer. As a pastor, it is not very common to have someone pray for you apart from your spouse and immediate family. Having someone approach you and say, “pastor, can I pray for you?” is truly uplifting.
What are you looking forward to at PUC?
During my visit to PUC for interviews, I had the privilege of meeting numerous incredible individuals who were wholeheartedly dedicated to serving and working for the betterment of the PUC community. The warm and inviting atmosphere, the inspiring vision, and the ongoing commitment to nurturing students professionally and spiritually ignited a strong passion within me to be part of this fantastic community. This experience has filled me with enthusiasm and motivation to serve and collaborate with the leadership as we collectively shape the future of PUC.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Beyond work, there are several activities that bring me joy. First, I cherish spending quality time with my wife and our two very energetic elderly beagles. Second, my wife and I share a deep passion for traveling. Through our journeys, we have encountered remarkable individuals, immersed ourselves in different cultures, and beheld breathtaking landscapes. Third, I am an avid reader who embarked on a fun literary adventure during the pandemic. I decided to read books from every country, beginning with Afghanistan and currently making my way through Mexico. This literary exploration has fostered my appreciation for the similarities and differences across various cultures. Additionally, I find great enjoyment in playing golf, not only for the game itself but for the connections it allows me to forge beyond the professional sphere. Lastly, I proudly declare myself a devoted Star Wars fan, and May 4th holds a special place in my heart as a cherished holiday.
With growing up in Napa, working for the Napa Valley Register at a young age, then years later proposing to his wife in Napa- it is a full circle moment for Pastor Lopez to be back in the city that holds a special place in his heart and being the new chaplain at PUC.