This semester, we continue to spotlight Western Seminary’s faculty members. Today, we feature Dr. Steve Korch, Director of Pastoral Training.
Transformed: Tell us a little about your background.
Dr. Korch: I was born in 1950, in Evanston, Illinois. I am a first-generation believer, born in the middle of the boomer years and steeped in the surfer culture of the sixties. I have followed Jesus since my early twenties. Over a span of twenty years, I have pastored three West Coast churches in three different denominations. I have had the privilege of traveling to Sweden, Vietnam, Israel, Mexico, Siberia, Yucatan, the northern Philippines, Cebu, the British Isles, Denmark, France, Belgium, Canada and the Caribbean. I am passionately in love with my wife, Ruth, who is a nationally recognized artist. We have three grown children (two married), five grandsons and now . . . one granddaughter.
Transformed: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Dr. Korch: Hmmm . . . I don’t think I had any great aspirations as a kid.
Transformed: What is your favorite thing about teaching at Western?
Dr. Korch: The great privilege of shaping the hearts and minds of those who will then shape the hearts and minds of thousands I will never meet in this life.
Transformed: What is something that we would be surprised to know about you?
Dr. Korch: Take your pick: I’m an introvert; I never met my father; I once flew (as pilot) a Russian jet.
Transformed: What are some of your favorite things?
A favorite preacher: Charles Swindoll
A favorite movie: Lost in Yonkers
A favorite musical: Les Misérables
A favorite food: my wife’s!
Transformed: What are you reading right now?
Professionally: A Dangerous Calling, Paul Tripp
Personally: People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
Transformed: Who would you like to meet – living or dead (not someone from the Bible)?
Dr. Korch: My father.
Transformed: Is there a verse or passage of Scripture that has had a particularly strong impact on your life?
Dr. Korch: One of many is Zephaniah 3:17. It has given me a frame of reference for relating to my Redeemer.
Transformed: What, ideally, should be the relationship between the seminary and the church?
Dr. Korch: Ideally? I believe that the seminary and the church should have an intimate connection, intentionally partnering with God to train and equip leaders for effective ministry.
Transformed: What does the church need less and more of?
Dr. Korch: It needs more deep theology, spoken relationally into the hearts of the redeemed, and less pop-culture ministry, driven by the latest trends.
Transformed: What made you want to become a pastor?
Dr. Korch: Other pastors.
Transformed: Do you have a favorite scholar, or someone whose work has inspired you?
Dr. Korch: The one who has most challenged my thoughts is Walter Brueggemann. The one who has most helped me frame my thoughts is Tim Keller.
Transformed: What theological topics need more attention? Are there any doctrines that have been ignored in the recent past, and could benefit from more exposure or exploration?
Dr. Korch: From my perspective, the topics that need more attention are more relational than analytical—how to “delight” in the God of our redemption, and how to find our deepest fulfillment in the person of Jesus.
Transformed: What is one thing you wish people knew about the life of a seminary faculty member?
Dr. Korch: Hmmm . . . I suppose it would be how much prayer and preparation goes on before a class ever begins.
Transformed: What makes for an ideal student?
Dr. Korch: I think the “ideal” student is one who has a passionate love for Jesus and an insatiable desire to learn.
Transformed: What is one piece of advice that you would give to incoming seminarians?
Dr. Korch: Assume the posture of a disciple.
Transformed: What about some advice for prospective pastors?
Dr. Korch: Read The Pastor, by Eugene Peterson.
Transformed: Do you have any upcoming books?
Dr. Korch: The Dream Painter (a children’s book), The Legionnaire’s Son (a memoire), and Hope: the power of looking forward.